Tags:
California Law1Add my vote for this tag create new tag
view all tags
Share this page
Twitter Delicious Digg Facebook Google Bookmarks Reddit StumbleUpon

Locked Unloaded Concealed Carry

Article status: near-final draft; open to input
Substantial refinements re: school zones brought about as a result of discussion with Calguns' GrizzlyGuy

Legal References

  • CPC 626.9 - Carrying weapons generally prohibited within a school zone
  • CPC 12025 - Carrying concealed firearms generally prohibited unless exempted
  • CPC 12026.1 - Transportation exemptions from prohibition against carry for locked and unloaded weapons.
  • CPC 12026.2 - Transportation exemptions from prohibition against carry for locked and unloaded weapons.
  • CPC 12316 - Transportation of ammunition onto school grounds generally prohibited in (c)

Premise

California law, at least as of this writing, exempts unloaded weapons being transported within a locked container from both concealed firearm prohibitions and school zone limitations under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are considerably more generous than the restrictions on Unloaded Open Carry, as will be detailed in this article.

Comparison with Open Carry

LUCC and Open Carry are frequently considered to be at odds with each other. I have practiced both, but as of 1/15/2010 I practice only LUCC, until the Macdonald case comes down.

Comparison points between LUCC and UOC:

  • LUCC doesn't generate attention: For good or bad, LUCC tends not to be noticed. In the modern age of multiple electronic devices on everyone's hips, another pouch or a padlock on a backpack is nearly unnoticeable.
  • LUCC is slow to deploy: This point absolutely goes to open carry. A LUCC bag must be unlocked, then the weapon and magazine must be extracted, and then the weapon must be loaded, before it will be useful. This can take a significant amount of time.
  • No gun free school zone prohibition: While college campuses, etc are still off limits, the 1000' "gun free zone" around schools which frequently renders open carry problematic, does not apply to LUCC as of this writing. It also appears that the grounds of K-12 schools are not firearm-free but bringing ammunition onto school grounds is an offense.
  • Other restrictions may still apply: Government buildings are still off-limits, and local municipal ordinances may prohibit even cased firearms in certain areas such as parks, etc.
  • Private property may still ban guns: Just like with open carry, be prepared to be banned from malls or other publicly-accessible private property areas should it be discovered that you're carrying a gun. Just because it's concealed, doesn't make it undetectable.
  • Workplaces frequently ban guns: California is an at-will employment state, and this means you can be terminated whether there is a formal firearms policy or not. I do not recommend risking your job, LUCC or not, if you're an office worker like me. However, given that most companies rent their buildings and do not own their parking lots, it is generally safe from company reprisals to leave firearms locked up in your vehicle.

Comparison with Concealed Carry (with permit)

A concealed carry permit is to LUCC, as loaded open carry is to unloaded open carry. If you have one legally, then there is no real reason to bother with the other.

Consideration for Deploying a gun from LUCC

LUCC, like its cousin UOC, is not immediately useful if you have been directly targetted by an individual bent upon doing you harm. However, LUCC guns can be handy under the following circumstances:
  • You are able to run fast enough, far enough, to unlock your bag and load your weapon before turning around to confront your assailant. Bear in mind that if you are able to fully escape and the assailant poses no threat to others, in this situation you should not pursue the assailant or you will become the aggressor.
  • A building or vehicle can provide temporary shelter while you unlock your weapon.
  • You are not the assailant's immediate target. This is the "Luby's Cafeteria" example.

Locking Devices

I personally use a TSA padlock on my LUCC case. It's recognized by the Federal government as a locking device, regardless of how physically secure the lock itself may be. There are a few different vendors working on special new locking holsters, and I eagerly await their results.

Getting Used to LUCC

It's a bit intimidating getting used to the idea of carrying a LUCC handgun around. For a while, I personally tried a "dry run" period first, by carrying the wooden forward grip of a Romanian AKM in place of a handgun. Although it had the approximate weight and shape of a handgun, and a padlock dangling from the case, I was never once questioned about it in the various places I went.

Reducing "tells" with LUCC containers

Folks who know what they're looking for will have an easy time spotting you if you use a belt container without a jacket over it.
  • Get a gun belt, or use a light gun: Unless you've invested in a gun belt, your belt will sag noticeably from the weight.
  • Conceal the padlock if possible: The padlock is a dead giveaway to anyone familiar with LUCC, as there are very few other reasons why someone would put a lock on a hip pouch and walk around town.
However, a backpack or day planner with a padlock is not particularly noteworthy. Even less noteworthy is a locked attache case in certain circumstances, although carrying one everywhere you go (i.e. movies) would look out of place.

Overall Analysis of Concealment

I've made a point of not telling family and friends about the gun on my hip when I'm out, just to see if individuals who know I'm a gun guy happen to notice it and ask questions. Before everyone breaks up for the day, I tend to bring the gun to their attention and inquire if anyone had noticed anything to make them think I had a gun. So far, the only notice the pouch holster drew was from my uncle. "I just wondered why you'd started wearing a man-purse", he observed. A perfectly valid point, but apparently no one had thought of a handgun being in the bag.

Legal Points

When not covered by any valid exemptions, LUCC is a violation of the general prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon found in CPC 12025(a)(2) if on foot, or (a)(1) if in a vehicle. 12025 makes no exceptions for secure locking containers, nor does it care whether the weapon was loaded or not or where you are at the time of the violation. Therefore, it is necessary for your LUCC to fall under one of the exemption sections of 12025, 12026, 12026.1, or 12026.2 in order to avoid a violation of 12025. The most convenient general exemption is found within the interlock of 12026 and 12026.2!

12026: Observe that the final sentence of (b) states, "...or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal resident." One may readily argue that you are in lawful possession of your seat at a restaurant or theater, so long as it's not public property. This could however be subject to the same interpretation as the Theseus case ("publicly accessible private property is not private property").

   (a) Section 12025 shall not apply to or affect any citizen
of the United States or legal resident over the age of 18 years who
resides or is temporarily within this state, and who is not within
the excepted classes prescribed by Section 12021 or 12021.1 of this
code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code,
who carries, either openly or concealed, anywhere within the citizen'
s or legal resident's place of residence, place of business, or on
private property owned or lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal
resident any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being
concealed upon the person.
   (b) No permit or license to purchase, own, possess, keep, or
carry, either openly or concealed, shall be required of any citizen
of the United States or legal resident over the age of 18 years who
resides or is temporarily within this state, and who is not within
the excepted classes prescribed by Section 12021 or 12021.1 of this
code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to
purchase, own, possess, keep, or carry, either openly or concealed,
a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon
the person within the citizen's or legal resident's place of
residence, place of business, or on private property owned or
lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal resident.
   (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the
application of Section 12031.

12026.1: This section protects, explicitly, the possession of a weapon within a locked case in a vehicle or while going to or from a vehicle. However, part (b) notes that this does not prohibit or limit the otherwise lawful carrying or transportation.

   (a) Section 12025 shall not be construed to prohibit any
citizen of the United States over the age of 18 years who resides or
is temporarily within this state, and who is not prohibited by state
or federal law from possessing, receiving, owning, or purchasing a
firearm, from transporting or carrying any pistol, revolver, or other
firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, provided that
the following applies to the firearm:
   (1) The firearm is within a motor vehicle and it is locked in the
vehicle's trunk or in a locked container in the vehicle other than
the utility or glove compartment.
   (2) The firearm is carried by the person directly to or from any
motor vehicle for any lawful purpose and, while carrying the firearm,
the firearm is contained within a locked container.
   (b) The provisions of this section do not prohibit or limit the
otherwise lawful carrying or transportation of any pistol, revolver,
or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person in
accordance with this chapter.
   (c) As used in this section, "locked container" means a secure
container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock,
combination lock, or similar locking device.

12026.2: This provides, in section (a), a very long "whitelist" exemption of specifically permitted actions. The one we are most interested in is (a)(4), which states:

   (4) The transportation of a firearm by a person listed in Section 12026
directly between any of the places mentioned in Section 12026.

Who is listed in section 12026? Effectively everybody except prohibited persons and foreign tourists. What are the places mentioned in section 12026? For convenience, the list is reproduced here: "place of residence, place of business, or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal resident." Note that traveling from one lawfully possessed location on private property (your seat at a movie theater) to another one (your seat at a restaurant) is moving between two of the places on this list. Going to (as opposed to through) a public place (a city park, for instance) would solidly violate this section, however. It would also appear that walking around a neighborhood and back to your original starting location is not exempted, unless you positioned your car at the mid-point of your walk so that you would be walking to/from a specific destination.

Section (b) and (d) state that in order for the whitelist to apply, the firearm must be unloaded and locked in a secure case, and the sticky "specific destination" language is used.

About Colleges

Colleges are actually much more strictly regulated than K-12 schools. There is a total ban on possession of firearms, loaded or not, in section (i) of CPC 626.9. However, it does not appear that you cannot possess ammunition on college campuses, as it is not covered under the prohibitions of 12316.

   (i) Notwithstanding Section 12026, any person who brings or
possesses a firearm upon the grounds of a campus of, or buildings
owned or operated for student housing, teaching, research, or
administration by, a public or private university or college, that
are contiguous or are clearly marked university property, unless it
is with the written permission of the university or college
president, his or her designee, or equivalent university or college
authority, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for
one, two, or three years.

About K-12 School Zones (1000' area, not school grounds)

If one reviews CPC 626.9 as it appeared on 1/15/10, sections (a) and (b) stand out. Section (b) governs "school zones", which are the 1000' radiuses from the schools (defined elsewhere).

   (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the
Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.
   (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person
knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, as defined in
paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), unless it is with the written
permission of the school district superintendent, his or her
designee, or equivalent school authority, shall be punished as
specified in subdivision (f).
   (c) Subdivision (b)  does not apply to the possession of a firearm
under any of the following circumstances:
   (1) Within a place of residence or place of business or on private
property, if the place of residence, place of business, or private
property is not part of the school grounds and the possession of the
firearm is otherwise lawful.
   (2) When the firearm is an unloaded pistol, revolver, or other
firearm capable of being concealed on the person and is in a locked
container or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle.

Note the final sentence: a locked container, or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle. Some folks choose to read this as a locked container within a vehicle, or its trunk. I feel this states that a locked container is exempt, whether it is in a vehicle or not.

About K-12 School Grounds

It looks, at first glance, that section (f) prohibits the possession of firearms on school grounds. But as GrizzlyGuy pointed out, the important bit here is "violates subdivision (b)". So, this part only applies if you are violating (b), which you aren't if you use a locking container.
   (f) (1) Any person who violates subdivision (b) by possessing a
firearm in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school
providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive,
shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three,
or five years.

However, LUCC on school grounds is a moot point because you cannot take your ammunition. See 12316(c) for details here.

   (c) Unless it is with the written permission of the school
district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school
authority, no person shall carry ammunition or reloaded ammunition
onto school grounds, except...

There's a relatively long list of permitted individuals, most notably holders of concealed carry permits. You are encouraged to read the full text if you want to review the list.

-- SeanNewton - 17 Sep 2009

Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r6 < r5 < r4 < r3 < r2 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r6 - 15 Apr 2010 - SeanNewton
Would this information help out someone you know? Click here to share it! Twitter Delicious Digg Facebook Google Bookmarks LinkedIn Reddit StumbleUpon

 
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform Powered by PerlCopyright © 2008-2017 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback