Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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How far 'off the body' should you keep a concealed weapon?

California law makes it a crime to carry a weapon, like a firearm or a stabbing knife, on your person. A 2013 criminal case ruled that this means the weapon cannot be specifically “on the body or in the clothing worn on the body.” The judge who wrote that decision also went on to clarify that this does not include instances in which it is in a “carried or attached container.”

The 2013 case makes sense. It is not illegal for you to own a gun as long as your rights are not restricted under any other law. Thus, you must have a legal way to transport the weapon. A court recently used the 2013 case to influence its decision concerning a man who had fled from police with a gun in his backpack. The court overturned the man’s conviction.

The Second District Court of Appeal did not agree with this interpretation. The court noted that a gun in a backpack constituted a “clear threat to the general public and the pursuing officer” because it was readily accessible to the man carrying it. The court noted that preventing this type of threat was the true intent behind the concealed weapon law.

Who is right: the lower Superior Court or the Court of Appeals? The Supreme Court of California will make that call – if it decides to hear the case appealed by the defendant.

The readers of our Roseville criminal defense law blog can learn a greater lesson from this news story. Specific statutes define specific criminal offenses. If there is anything that case law such as this teaches us, it is that the law is not as clear as it might seem.

Whether you are convicted of a crime or not can depend on the interpretation of a phrase or prior ruling. It is very important you have a criminal defense attorney on your side who knows how to build an effective case amid the potential confusion.

Source: SF Gate, “State high court may decide whether gun in a backpack is ‘carried’,” Bob Egelko, March 20, 2015

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