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Thread: Open Carry in California questions?

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    I Really like this site and decided to join today, so i am a 40 year old newbie here!

    I live here in Fresno,Ca. and i love Hunt and Fish and hike.

    I do have questions ? Years ago(1997) i was stopped up on a trail around the Dinky Lakes area because i was open carrying. I had my back packing gear on and as well as all my fishing equipment. Seems that a woman complained to aRangr down the hill that i was carrying a firearm.Needless to say ,About 2 hours later i was soon in the company of 2 Sheriffs deputys and a Ranger -on Horseback. When they approached me ,I had my campsite set-up and i wasfishing a small creek. They asked how was it going and i reached down and pulled up the stringer to show them my trout i had caught.Then asked for me to get out of the water (I was up to my knees) and go to the bank. I did as told. They then asked to see my drivers License and wanted to see my revolver. I said sure,Told them to take it out of the holsterthemselves and they did!

    While the sheriffs were radioing in my serial gun number and i guess checking my driver license ,The ranger asked to see my Fishing License,To which i said no problem.After about 10 minutes,The sherrifs asked me why i was carring a firearm up there? I told him for my protection .He said protection from what? I replied Mountain Lions or crazy people/I said you never know what could happen up here.

    I then was lectured for an additional 10 minutes on When they get a report of someone carrying a firearm up there, that it gets them nervous, Because they dont know if im A marijuana Grower,A felon or just a plain bad guy or someone running from the Law.I replied by saying if i was one of thise kind of people ,Do you think id carry openly and have all the requiredlegal documentaion on me? They didnt like my responce and said that they prefer me to not open carry , as it also causes complaints from other people along the trail.After some more time,They talked on the radio and finally gave me back my firarm,Unloaded, and then handed me my shells back.They also said they would be back later to keep an eye on things.When The 2 sherrifs were leaving,The Ranger,Who wasPolite said that carrying openly causes you to be the target. He said many people dont like the fact of you haveing that gun on you and will complain,HE said when they complain,They must come out and follow through with a check,Thus why i went through what i did. He said he understood my positionand its unfortuant that this is what seems to happens. He then gave me back my Fishing License and wished me a good day. Needless to say i packed up my camp(I planned on 2 more days-But didnt want to go through this again)and went down the trail to my truck,I felt i was harrasssed and defeated.

    When i went to put the gear in my truck,I could see that someone wiped away the dust from the drivers side window and from my trucks license plate. I could see the horse prints and boot marks .I guess they checked out my truck to.Since that time(1997) i have never done that again.



    What exactly are the Laws reguarding carrying openly in californias mountains ,While backpacking or While fishing .

    Has anybody esle experianced what i did? Have any suggestions from my next open carry in the Mountains ?



    Rick




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    Check out the CA page and read People v. Knight- it would appear they had no cause to detain you and you had no cause to surrender your firearm or any identification you might have carried, save your fishing license (maybe).

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    Mike,Since im new on this forum,it seems to me you Really know your stuff.

    I have sent an e-mail to the Fresno Police for information about unincorporated areas and or maps in or around Fresnowith such information.I havent yet received a reply.I also know the Fresno Police Dept doesnt play any Games here, most probably because of all the Gang Problems . They pull those Guns out rather Quickly!

    What i do seem to notice, is that if you exercise your right to carry in Califonia-You better know what your getting into.Seems the legalities are tremendous indeed!

    I HAVE A FEW MORE QUESTIONS:

    WHAT IS THE LAW REGUARDING HANDGUN PURCHASES BEFORE 1991 IN CALIFORNIA BETWEEN FAMILY OR FRIENDS?

    ALSO,IF YOU HAVE A GRAND DAD THAT PASSED AWAY AND LEFT THE GUNS TO HIS SON AND HIS SON PASSED THEM TO HIS CHILD,IS THERE ANY LEGAL CONSEQUENCES TO THIS? CAN THE SON THEN LEGALLY OC THE WEAPONS OR WOULD THIS BE ILLEGAL BECAUSE OF OWNERSHIP OR REGISTRAITION ISSUES?









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    Rickster wrote:
    Mike,Since im new on this forum,it seems to me you Really know your stuff.

    I have sent an e-mail to the Fresno Police for information about unincorporated areas and or maps in or around Fresnowith such information.I havent yet received a reply.I also know the Fresno Police Dept doesnt play any Games here, most probably because of all the Gang Problems . They pull those Guns out rather Quickly!

    What i do seem to notice, is that if you exercise your right to carry in Califonia-You better know what your getting into.Seems the legalities are tremendous indeed!

    I HAVE A FEW MORE QUESTIONS:

    WHAT IS THE LAW REGUARDING HANDGUN PURCHASES BEFORE 1991 IN CALIFORNIA BETWEEN FAMILY OR FRIENDS?

    ALSO,IF YOU HAVE A GRAND DAD THAT PASSED AWAY AND LEFT THE GUNS TO HIS SON AND HIS SON PASSED THEM TO HIS CHILD,IS THERE ANY LEGAL CONSEQUENCES TO THIS? CAN THE SON THEN LEGALLY OC THE WEAPONS OR WOULD THIS BE ILLEGAL BECAUSE OF OWNERSHIP OR REGISTRAITION ISSUES?
    Generally it is not a good idea to ask the police for legal advice - you will get opinions, yes, but often they do not know much about firearms law or will not discuss the issue correctly.

    I don't think CA ever sought to register guns obtained or imported prior to the recent requirements to transfer only thru dealers and register imports - any CA folks out there know his specifi answer.



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    As long as you weren't in a park that explicitly prohibited firearms, then you could have carried your firearm without harassment. You can legally carry concealed at a campsite (12026.2(a.11)) and while hunting or fishing, or going directly to or from your hunting or fishing expedition (12027(g)).

    I'm not sure if 12031(e) still applies here...maybe somebody else can comment on that. If you're carrying concealed at a campsite or while fishing can a police officer check to see if it is loaded? Or can you carry loaded at a campsite or while fishing? Obviously you can carry a firearm loaded while hunting, but 12027(g) just applies to carrying a concealed weapon, right?

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    I have a concealed carry question. If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor. I haven't found anything in the CA codes that indicate this, so I thought I would see if any of you have heard of this.

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    I assume that since you weren't charged under 12031 ('loaded weapon') you were in an area where loaded weapons are not prohibited. If this is the case their seizure of your weapon would not have been legal without your consent. Also, as others have pointed out, if they can't articulate a crime (or potential crime) that they are investigating, they cannot detain/harass you.

    I'm not aware of any statute or code that requires you to have a DL or ID on you while you fish. Therefor, you would have only needed to surrender your fishing license; nothing else. Statute and case law does require you to state your name and residence address; that's all the identification they can require of you.

    So, in the future, I would lock the license in the truck, pack loaded and exposed, and memorize this line: "I do not give you my permission to search my person or sieze my firearm." Then if they still search/sieze your person/property you have grounds for a lawsuit. I also recommend getting a fishing buddy and a tape recorder. It wouldn't be hard for 3 LEOs to fabricate a crime in order to justify the violation of your rights. It also wouldn't be unheard of.

    I have yet to be lectured by LE, but I know exactly what I would say: "I'm sorry somebody wasted your time by reporting that I am carrying a firearm. Perhaps you should be lecturing the reporting party so word gets out that only illegal activity should be reported?"

    I hope this was helpful.
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    Loneviking wrote:
    I have a concealed carry question.* If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor.* I haven't found anything in the CA codes that indicate this, so I thought I would see if any of you have heard of this.*
    I have heard this statement myself about a firearms enhancement to felony charge for an un-registered handgun.

    I might add (for whatever its worth), a friend of mine who is a CHP Detective said that only the registered "Assault Weapons" database was available to an officer in his car or dispatch. They have no way of knowing who the registered owner of any other firearms is, unless it's serial number has been reported as stolen. He said when they check your firearms in a traffic stop or other detention situation they are just seeing if the guns are reported stolen so they can have something to start with.

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    Loneviking wrote:
    I have a concealed carry question. If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor. I haven't found anything in the CA codes that indicate this, so I thought I would see if any of you have heard of this.
    I think that might be a misunderstanding of 12025(a)(4):
    (4) Where the person is not in lawful possession of the firearm, as defined in this section, or the person is within a class of persons prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm pursuant to Section 12021 or 12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, as a felony.
    The definition appears at 12025(g):
    (g) For purposes of this section, "lawful possession of the firearm" means that the person who has possession or custody of the firearm either lawfully owns the firearm or has the permission of the lawful owner or a person who otherwise has apparent authority to possess or have custody of the firearm. A person who takes a firearm without the permission of the lawful owner or without the permission of a person who has lawful custody of the firearm does not have lawful possession of the firearm.
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    Loneviking wrote:
    I have a concealed carry question. If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor.
    I don't think CA registers handguns, does it? I think they are sort of like PA on steroids - the state has a recodfd of dealer transfers and importations - but possession of a handgun not in those records is not unlawful. Obviously folks visiting from other states would not be in that database, and further, folks who received or imported the handguns before the requirement to do all transfers thru dealers would not be in the records.

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    Mike wrote:
    Loneviking wrote:
    I have a concealed carry question. If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor.
    I don't think CA registers handguns, does it? I think they are sort of like PA on steroids - the state has a recodfd of dealer transfers and importations - but possession of a handgun not in those records is not unlawful. Obviously folks visiting from other states would not be in that database, and further, folks who received or imported the handguns before the requirement to do all transfers thru dealers would not be in the records.
    Now you're playing in the ballfield that interests me. CA., I thought, went to handgun registration and has hada registration system (of one sort or another) for at least 25 years. I'm a former resident, and I did sell a Walther P38 that had been purchased through a dealer. That gun was later used in a homicide in Fresno and I had a call from a Fresno homicide detective.The detective said that they researched through the recordsand came up with my name. This wasabout 1988 or so. So, what does CA. register now?I thought I saw regs that say that you have to register your gunsafter you move into the state....

    The reason I ask is that I have one handgun that was purchased in CA. and one that wasn't. I'd like to know which one to carry so that if there is an argument with a LEO as to method of carry, I would sure like to have the argument amount to nothing more than a misdemanor if push comes to shove.


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    The issue is not "registration" of all guns- the issue might be a failure to comply with calif. law requiring registration of imported guns and that transfers go thru dealers - these laws are relatively recent and their may be transfer exceptions I am not aware of. Additionally, I am not sure if Cal;if. law makes the transforee in a private transfer a criminal - federal and some state law, see PA Uniform Firearms Act, makes only the transferor guilty of a crime.

    Bottom line though, absent lawful reason for the stop of the gun owner, and an additional "armed and presently dangerous finding, see Terry v. Ohio, the police cannot lawfully seize your gun to check serials numbers, see Arizona v. Hicks.

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    Loneviking wrote:
    I have a concealed carry question. If a LEO was to argue that you are carrying concealed in an area where you aren't allowed, and then checked the gun--what effect does the registration of the gun have? I'm hearing that carryin concealed a gun that is NOT registered in CA. is a felony, but one that is registered will only be a misdemeanor. I haven't found anything in the CA codes that indicate this, so I thought I would see if any of you have heard of this.
    PC 12025(b) Carrying a concealed firearm in violation of this section is punishable, as follows:

    (6) By imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment if both of the following conditions are met:

    (A) Both the pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person and the unexpended ammunition capable of being discharged from that firearm are either in the immediate possession of the person or readily accessible to that person, or the pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person is loaded as defined in subdivision (g) of Section 12031.

    (B) The person is not listed with the Department of Justice pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 11106, as the registered owner of that pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.


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    loneviking.



    My understanding, if im correct or somebody else can chime in,Is that if You purchased a handgun in Califonia,Prior to 1989,Then there is no registraition requirement. After 1990 i think the Law came in that requires all sales, transfers and trades -Will require registraition.



    Intersting to see if someone out there has more detailed information?

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    Rickster wrote:
    What exactly are the Laws reguarding carrying openly in californias mountains ,While backpacking or While fishing .
    It really depends on where you are.

    In National Parks, firearms are not allowed, per 36 CFR 2.4 (a).

    In State Parks, firearms are not allowed, per CCR Title 14, Div 3, Chap 1, s 4313 (a).

    In National Forrests and BLM, firearms are allowed, but are subject to all state law:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/prog.../welcome.shtml

    http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/rec...ing.print.html

    The state laws that apply are 12025 (concealed) and 12031 (loaded). So you must carry based on the limited exceptions to these. In your own campsite there are exceptions to both, so you can carry concealed and loaded. Elsewhere you must Open Carry, but can load, unless you are in an area where shooting is prohibited, and then you can't load either. Near a lake is prohibited, so Open Carry Unloaded is it. There is also 12027 which expempts you from 12025 if you are hunting or fishing.

    It's all in the flyer. I highly recommend you print it out and familiarize yourself with it.



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    All handgun purchases in the State of California since 1991 have been registered in a computer database. LEO can run the serial number on your firearm and they will get the record of sale. If you violate 12025, and the firearm is not registered this way, there is a sentance enhancement - even if you bought the firearm legally before 1991. If the firearm is legally "registered" this way, the 12025 violation will be a misdemeanor.



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    Mike wrote:
    Check out the CA page and read People v. Knight- it would appear they had no cause to detain you and you had no cause to surrender your firearm or any identification you might have carried, save your fishing license (maybe).
    The problem with People v Knight is that it is invalid. Knight was actually in violation of 12031, but the appeals court was not aware of it, and dismissed his charges.

    The appeals court in the case does not appear to know of the existance of 374c, which states,


    374c. Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    And 12031 (f) states:


    (f) As used in this section, "prohibited area" means any place where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.
    This means that Knight was actually in violation of 12031, and the conviction should have held. Nice for him that it did not, but the ruling cannot and will not help any of us. If our local cop and DA knows of the existance of 374c (and mine does), and you are caught carrying a loaded firearm on a public road in unincorporated territiry, then it is no different than being in incorporated territory. You will be convicted of 12031.

    For this reason, I think that it is bad adice to have a link to People v Knight on the Open Carry California Map page. It leads people to believe that they can do something, that if they actually do it, they will be in violation of the law.

    Can I volunteer to help update that page with more accurate info?





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    Mike wrote:
    Bottom line though, absent lawful reason for the stop of the gun owner, and an additional "armed and presently dangerous finding, see Terry v. Ohio, the police cannot lawfully seize your gun to check serials numbers, see Arizona v. Hicks.
    This isn't Ohio, nor Arizona. 12031 (e) authorized LEO to inspect your weapons. If you do not comply you will be arrested. Yeah, it's a blatent violation of the 4th Ammendment of the Constitution of the United States, but it is currently California law. Maybe post-Heller we can get it repealed... But for now it is the law.



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    MudCamper wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    Bottom line though, absent lawful reason for the stop of the gun owner, and an additional "armed and presently dangerous finding, see Terry v. Ohio, the police cannot lawfully seize your gun to check serials numbers, see Arizona v. Hicks.
    This isn't Ohio, nor Arizona. 12031 (e) authorized LEO to inspect your weapons. If you do not comply you will be arrested. Yeah, it's a blatent violation of the 4th Ammendment of the Constitution of the United States, but it is currently California law. Maybe post-Heller we can get it repealed... But for now it is the law.
    Well, 12031(e)is inapplicable where handguns may be openly carried loaded; but elsewhere yeah, the Hicks ruling does not help you challege inspections.

    And come on, stop with the HA HA over Ohio and Arizona - thiose cases are Supreme Court cases binding on every state and federal court in the land.

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    Founder's Club Member MudCamper's Avatar
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    Well, 12031(e)is inapplicable where handguns may be openly carried loaded; but elsewhere yeah, the Hicks ruling does not help you challege inspections.
    This would be only on private property, and extrememly remote wilderness areas only. 99.99% of the time, LEO can enforece 12031(e).

    And come on, stop with the HA HA over Ohio and Arizona - thiose cases are Supreme Court cases binding on every state and federal court in the land.
    My point is that regardless what is or is not Constitutional, it may still currently be illegal per California law. Until the 2nd is incorported to the states, we have to live under CA law here. Even after that, we still have to until some poor shmuck with enough money to fight gets 12031 and many other laws challenged.



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    MudCamper wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    Check out the CA page and read People v. Knight- it would appear they had no cause to detain you and you had no cause to surrender your firearm or any identification you might have carried, save your fishing license (maybe).
    The problem with People v Knight is that it is invalid. Knight was actually in violation of 12031, but the appeals court was not aware of it, and dismissed his charges.
    Well, fortunately, Judge MudCamper was not on that panel, so there is no problem - People v. Knight is the law of california, citing to an AG Opinion with same result, and likely only to be turned overturned, if ever, by the Calif. S. Ct. Even the legislature knows Knight is good law - that's why SB 1171 was introduced this year, to try to ban open carry of loaded handguns in vwehicles in unincorproated areas.

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    Founder's Club Member MudCamper's Avatar
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    The court in People v Knight simply made a mistake. They overlooked 374c.

    If you carry a firearm openly, on any public road in California, and it is loaded, you will be in violation of 12031 per 12031(f) and 374c. You will be arrested, charged, and convicted. You would lose any appeal.

    This is not opinion. This has nothing to do with People v Knight. It is the law in California now. It is in the code. Go read it.




    12031. (a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.


    (f) As used in this section, "
    prohibited area" means any place where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.


    374c Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    1171 shows that the legislature is also unaware of 374c. In Sonoma County I'm not so lucky. My local cops and DA are fully aware of 374c. Just because the court in People v Knight overlooked a law doesn't mean you can't be charged with it. Why do you insist on giving people advice that will result in violating the law?



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    All handgun purchases in the State of California since 1991 have been registered in a computer database. LEO can run the serial number on your firearm and they will get the record of sale. If you violate 12025, and the firearm is not registered this way, there is a sentance enhancement - even if you bought the firearm legally before 1991. If the firearm is legally "registered" this way, the 12025 violation will be a misdemeanor.

    Mudcamper,

    Basically,Handgun"s bought before 1991 are not registered in a computerbase? Is this correct? Therefore how can you get an enhancement by buying the firearm through a private sale prior to 1989 -especially if you have a written receipt from the person that sold you the firearm and the owners originalpaperwork and sales slip? How would LEO know if its Registered or not because of the age of said firearm?By carrying a weapon bought like this really a violation of 12025? If so,Then does one have to go to a gunstore , with your original sales receipt and pay to get the firearm registered in your name some way?

    If your open carrying loaded, on a dirt trail in an unincorporated area (Mountains), and your not near a lake or public road, or on a prohibited are, while enguaged in Fishing ,then none of this should apply? Does the phrase Public Place mean a backpacking trail 12 miles away from any known roadin which you might encounter several people?

    12031. (a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.





    (f) As used in this section, "
    prohibited area" means any place where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.






    374c Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.




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    MudCamper wrote:
    The court in People v Knight simply made a mistake. They overlooked 374c.

    If you carry a firearm openly, on any public road in California, and it is loaded, you will be in violation of 12031 per 12031(f) and 374c. You will be arrested, charged, and convicted. You would lose any appeal.

    This is not opinion. This has nothing to do with People v Knight. It is the law in California now. It is in the code. Go read it.
    Well, that's not the way it works - the Courts tell us what the law is - you think it was mistaken as a matter of statutory construction - that can be said about almost every court decision.Saying Knight is bad law because you discovered a wrinkle you think the Court did not consider is like DC saying Heller is bad law because Scalia forgot to explain away one of the Federalist Papers which appeared to cast doubt on the right to bear arms. So, OK, when you are on the Cal. S. Ct. you can try to overrule Knight if it ever gets to you.

    But in the meantime, Knight is binding on state trial courts in California. Further, reliance on Knight can be asserted as a defense under Mistake of Law doctrine. See generally, United States v. Albertini, 830 F.2d 985 (9th Cir. 1987).

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    Founder's Club Member MudCamper's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    MudCamper wrote:
    The court in People v Knight simply made a mistake. They overlooked 374c.

    If you carry a firearm openly, on any public road in California, and it is loaded, you will be in violation of 12031 per 12031(f) and 374c. You will be arrested, charged, and convicted. You would lose any appeal.

    This is not opinion. This has nothing to do with People v Knight. It is the law in California now. It is in the code. Go read it.
    Well, that's not the way it works - the Courts tell us what the law is - you think it was mistaken as a matter of statutory construction - that can be said about almost every court decision.Saying Knight is bad law because you discovered a wrinkle you think the Court did not consider is like DC saying Heller is bad law because Scalia forgot to explain away one of the Federalist Papers which appeared to cast doubt on the right to bear arms. So, OK, when you are on the Cal. S. Ct. you can try to overrule Knight if it ever gets to you.

    But in the meantime, Knight is binding on state trial courts in California. Further, reliance on Knight can be asserted as a defense under Mistake of Law doctrine. See generally, United States v. Albertini, 830 F.2d 985 (9th Cir. 1987).
    Well, I still do not agree with you, but even if you were correct, it doesn't change the fact that I have been told by LEO in 3 different jurisdictions that they would arrest me if I carried a loaded firearm on a public road, and they would use 374c and 12031(f) to do so. Further, most counties have no-shooting restrictions near any buildings, which triggers 12031(f). And People v Knight specifically mentioned that "local ordinances" restricting shooting would have also triggered a conviction.

    I also believe that touting People v Knight to newbies is just going to get them arrested. It gives them the false sense that they can load. Better that they know all the limits so that they succeed and help further our cause.

    I think you are exhibiting denial. You dislike it so much you don't want to accept that it is true. I understand that. It took me a while to accept that concealed magazine = concealed handgun under CA law. It's insane, but it's true. But I belive to give people the false impression that they can do something, when if they do so will result in their arrest, is irresponsible, and perhaps criminally negligent.

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