California Says Guns in Bags Also Violate 'On Your Person' Laws

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 20, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California whose gun laws are generally considered to be the most draconian in the nation just, got some backing by its highest court. According to the California Supreme Court, guns carried in pouches, backpacks and other such bags are also considered "on one's person" and as such, are in violation of state laws against concealed carry weapons.

Given the tectonic and bureaucratic processes to obtain a concealed carry weapon license in this state, the state Supreme Court's ruling could mean the only way you're going to legally have a gun in any city in California worth mentioning is to get shot and hope that someone puts a gun in your hands.

A Landslide Victory for Anti-Gun Advocates, Prosecutors

The case of People v. Wade wasn't even a close call. The California Supreme Court ruled completely unanimously 7-0 that carrying loaded guns in a bag on one's person is essentially the same thing as carrying the loaded weapon on your person without any bag at all.

Judge Chin wrote for the court and found what he and the rest of the panel took to be an absurd result with the defendant's line of reasoning. Steven Wade had been charged with carrying a loaded gun on his person. Wade admitted that he carried the firearm, but since it was in backpack, he contended that it was not on his person.

If Wade's theory were taken to heart, that would mean that someone who carried his gun in his zipped fanny pack would be compliant with law while the person who held his gun in a zipped pocket in his cargo pants would not be. Such a result "is untenable," according to Chin. "The backpack was on [Wade's] person and, accordingly, anything inside that backpack was also on his person."

However, the court's attempts to distinguish Wade's case from the Dunn case (in which a knife was found not to be "on the person" when it was in a backpack) leads to some problems. Chin declared that Dunn was not apposite because the backpack wasn't being carried, and because the knife could be used for other "lawful" pursuits.

Two questions. How did the backpack get there? And a gun can't be used for the legal pursuit of hunting? Think about it.

A Chosen Few: The Police and Security Guards

California has generally been recognized as being one of the least favorable jurisdictions when it comes to the public carry of weapons. If one wishes to carry a gun in public, she must first apply for a CCW license application, get scrutinized for moral character and fitness and also prove that she or her family are essentially not long for this world because of violence from another. The exact language is "immediate danger."

With language like that, you might find yourself dead before the application can get reviewed and approved. After all, how "immediate" was the danger in question?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, CCW licenses are "unavailable in most populous areas of the state except to police and security guards."

The point being, California does not like issuing CCW licenses. In fact, the California Attorney General has plainly stated that California will not recognize the CCW's issued by other states. Take that, Texas!

If You Like Guns, Don't Come to California

It's been a little less than two weeks since the court handed down its gut-punch to Second Amendment activists and it's likely to smart for a while. If you like guns, you'd better just buy them, keep them at home, and admire them for their beauty and form. Hopefully, you'll never have to use one.

On the other hand, this state is just plain weird when it comes to its attitude on guns. Just days ago, a lower appeals court in Alameda gave a thumbs up for gun rights by generally holding that the right to buy guns is embodied in a traditional meaning of the freedom to bear arms.

So, here's a tip. Purchase the gun at the shop, and don't ever put bullets in it. To be extra safe, just throw it at someone who attacks you with deadly force.

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