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Thread: A laymen’s examination of PC626.9 and 626.95

  1. #1
    State Pioneer ConditionThree's Avatar
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    A laymen’s examination of PC626.9 and 626.95

    Most gun owners are aware of California’s 1000-foot gun free school zone rule. Since it has come up in other venues as a reason it’s not practical to open carry, I thought I’d synopsize it according to my understanding of the code. In keeping it germane to OC, I have not addressed exemptions that do not apply to regular folks- that are not peace officers, security guards, licensees, or have filed a TRO against a person they fear.

    626.9 (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone…

    (e)(1)"School zone" means an area in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school.
    This according to the list of exemptions does not apply to;

    Lawful possession of firearms in a place of residence, place of business or private property. I believe it is significant to note, the law is not specific as to who controls the residence, business or private property. Bear in mind-I’m not an attorney but, by my interpretation, a person carrying an exposed weapon could patronize a convenience store directly next to a school or visit a friend’s residence near a school without violating the law, provided their weapon was transported in a locked case or locked in a vehicle’s trunk while on public streets or property in the 1000 foot ‘school zone’.

    Unloaded concealable firearms locked in a case or inside a trunk. This is more or less an extension or mirror of PC12026.1 exemptions. This makes it possible to travel in a school zone with your firearm without violating the school zone prohibition.

    So in utilizing these two exemptions, people are not stuck with navigating around school zones they are aware of, or having to make a u-turn when they inadvertently enter a school zone. With the pistol or revolver unloaded and locked in a case, they can travel wherever they need to- and once at their destination can holster their weapon in discharge-prohibited areas or load and holster their weapon when they are in unincorporated areas where discharge is not prohibited. Granted, this isn’t nearly as convenient as loading and holstering your firearm as you get ready to go about your business, but it is what we have to work with.

    Now, a concern about home schools has arisen. It has been asserted that home schools are actually considered ‘private schools’ in the educational code and that the 1000-foot rule applies to where home schools are conducted, presumably in residences. This is where the ‘reasonable knowledge’ text of the law comes into play. Without possessing all the aspects of a regular school—the building, the signs indicating “school zone”, crosswalks indicating parent and child crossing, school busses entering and leaving, students entering and leaving, crossing guards, playground equipment, et al; it is impossible to know what residences conduct home schooling and which do not. Even if a person who was openly armed was detained by police in front of a residence that did home school their K-12 children, it would be very difficult for the State to prove a person could reasonably know the area was a school zone, when police themselves cannot make the distinction.

    Now as if disarming lawful gun owners in public near schools and on school grounds wasn’t enough, they go a step further to appear to protect the children who are not in a ‘school zone’.

    626.95. (a) Any person who is in violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), or subdivision (b), of Section 417 , or Section 12025 or 12031, upon the grounds of or within a playground, or a public or private youth center during hours in which the facility is open for business, classes, or school-related programs, or at any time when minors are using the facility, knowing that he or she is on or within those grounds, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for one, two, or three years, or in a county jail not exceeding one year.
    (b) State and local authorities are encouraged to cause signs to be posted around playgrounds and youth centers giving warning of prohibition of the possession of firearms upon the grounds of or within playgrounds or youth centers.
    (c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
    (1) "Playground" means any park or recreational area specifically designed to be used by children that has play equipment installed, including public grounds designed for athletic activities such as baseball, football, soccer, or basketball, or any similar facility located on public or private school grounds, or on city or county parks.
    (2) "Youth center" means any public or private facility that is used to host recreational or social activities for minors while minors are present.
    It would be easy for some to say that 626.9 bans possession of firearms anywhere near places like a city park with a playground, a little league baseball game, a daycare, a McDonald’s Playplace, or a Chuck E Cheese’s. This isn’t the case at all. If you read the law carefully, the prohibition is an enhancement to violations of PC417 (brandishing), PC12025 (concealed firearms), or PC12030 (loaded firearm).

    Another interesting point is that the code ‘encourages’ State and local authorities to post warnings of the prohibitions on weapons in parks or near youth centers, when in reality 626.95 does not expressly forbid firearms in those locations by those who have not violated PC417, PC12025, or PC12031. This is an excellent example where ‘color of law’ is being used to give the illusion of a gun ban, where there isn’t one.
    New to OPEN CARRY in California? Click and read this first...

    NA MALE SUBJ ON FOOT, LS NB 3 AGO HAD A HOLSTERED HANDGUN ON HIS RIGHT HIP. WAS NOT BRANDISHING THE WEAPON, BUT RP FOUND SUSPICIOUS.
    CL SUBJ IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW


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  2. #2
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    ConditionThree wrote:
    Another interesting point is that the code ‘encourages’ State and local authorities to post warnings of the prohibitions on weapons in parks or near youth centers, when in reality 626.95 does not expressly forbid firearms in those locations by those who have not violated PC417, PC12025, or PC12031. This is an excellent example where ‘color of law’ is being used to give the illusion of a gun ban, where there isn’t one.
    Very interesting, indeed.

    I see only two possibilities here: (1) The legislature intended to create deceptive practices in the posting of signs or (2) The legislature erroneously misinterpreted PC417, PC12025, and/or PC 12031 to be a ban on possession of firearms.

    I won't speculate which of the two it is, as I believe our legislature is as corrupt as it is inept.

    I wonder what sort of problems this could cause if one were charged with 'possession of a firearm in a youth center.' The prosecutor will certainly point to 626.95(b) and say, "the legislature obviously intended for this code to create prohibition of firearms in these places!" I could easily see a judge interpreting this in favor of prosecution.
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