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View Full Version : Pre gun buy checklist for avoiding legal trouble


Mr.CRC
10-17-2009, 10:13 AM
Hi:

As hard as it is to divert attention to secure storage devices (safes, locked cabinets) vs. gun shopping, it seems like it would be wisest to have a safe in place before acquiring any guns. Well, perhaps some compromise can be made for lesser valued guns. I have a 4 year old, so as long as I keep ammo locked up in the interim until I get a safe, at least I can be certain that no danger to my child will occur.

The other thing is that to walk out of the gun store, I really need to have a locked container no matter what I pick up because of all these crazy school zones. They are all over my town, and I don't want to take any chances, so I think I should get a locked carry case pronto. I'm unable to even take my Ruger 10/22 out of the apartment to the car right now without worry of breaking the law.

Does anyone know if a locked container must be a hard container, or is a "soft" gun carry bag Ok if locked?

Thanks for input.

B Strong
10-17-2009, 10:20 AM
Hi:

As hard as it is to divert attention to secure storage devices (safes, locked cabinets) vs. gun shopping, it seems like it would be wisest to have a safe in place before acquiring any guns. Well, perhaps some compromise can be made for lesser valued guns. I have a 4 year old, so as long as I keep ammo locked up in the interim until I get a safe, at least I can be certain that no danger to my child will occur.

The other thing is that to walk out of the gun store, I really need to have a locked container no matter what I pick up because of all these crazy school zones. They are all over my town, and I don't want to take any chances, so I think I should get a locked carry case pronto. I'm unable to even take my Ruger 10/22 out of the apartment to the car right now without worry of breaking the law.

Does anyone know if a locked container must be a hard container, or is a "soft" gun carry bag Ok if locked?

Thanks for input.

A pistol rug or soft gun case is fine as long as it is locked.

bodger
10-17-2009, 10:28 AM
Traveling with Firearms in California
HANDGUNS
California Penal Code section 12025 does not prevent a citizen of the United States over 18 years of age who is not lawfully prohibited from firearm possession, and who resides or is temporarily in California, from transporting by motor vehicle any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person provided the firearm is unloaded and stored in a locked container.

The term "locked container" means a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. This includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but does not include the utility or glove compartment. For more information, refer to California Penal Code Section 12026.1.

Also, in addition to referencing 12026.1, there is a book entitled:
"How To Own A Gun and Stay Out Of Jail" by John Machtinger.

That book is the best checklist for gun ownership in CA that you will find anywhere, and it's an easy read for those of us who aren't lawyers.

Librarian
10-17-2009, 11:35 AM
With just two exceptions, long guns, such as your 10/22, are not required to be locked up when transporting. That's mostly for handguns.

The first exception is the Federal Gun Free School Zone, and that requires them either to be in a locked case or a locked gun rack; your car trunk qualifies.

The second is California registered 'assault weapons'.

Sinestr
10-17-2009, 11:54 AM
So for instance, your on a deer hunt in another state. You have your bolt gun in an unlocked soft case within a school zone your in violation? Would the local authorities enforce this being it's a fed restriction?

Mr.CRC
10-17-2009, 1:52 PM
With just two exceptions, long guns, such as your 10/22, are not required to be locked up when transporting. That's mostly for handguns.

The first exception is the Federal Gun Free School Zone, and that requires them either to be in a locked case or a locked gun rack; your car trunk qualifies.

The second is California registered 'assault weapons'.

I live in close proximity to several schools. It's the carrying from residence to car that's the catch. I think I need a locked container for that. The guns seem to need to be in a locked container any time they are not in my residence when in a school zone.

Librarian
10-17-2009, 2:51 PM
I live in close proximity to several schools. It's the carrying from residence to car that's the catch. I think I need a locked container for that. The guns seem to need to be in a locked container any time they are not in my residence when in a school zone.

That's one of the edge cases (and again, generally applies only to handguns). See the thread about Theseus's ongoing legal problem.

If the law were consistently applied as written, that short window would not be an issue. Unfortunately, 'consistency' and 'rationality' and 'California gun laws' seldom occur in the same paragraph with a positive relationship.

See GFSZ (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Gun_Free_School_Zones) at the Wiki.

ETA: we bought our house in Concord specifically because it was within walking distance to my kids' grade school, so I too live in one of the designated GFSZ. I don't worry about loading my guns into my car trunk to take them to the range. But I do keep all my handguns in locked cases when outside the house ...

2nd Amender
10-17-2009, 10:18 PM
I believe it's a State Law as well. I seem to remember reading it in the California Gun Owner's Guide.

I've often wondered about keeping a pistol in a soft case (or hard for that matter), locked, sitting next to me on the seat (or lap) with the key in it, or the combination one number off from opening.

Not that I want to start doing this, it just reads that way. I have a VW camper van with no trunk. In a sense, all of my cabinets could be "utility compartments". I could assume that because I have to get up & walk back (impossible while driving) to get to them, it's OK, but it doesn't read that way.

A rifle, or a shotgun reads like I can have a bullet button AR-15 in a gun rack on my ceiling or dash, with a lock in a school zone & it's legal.

From what I've read here, having loaded magazines on your person (not while at the Governor's) is not a loaded weapon, but if you don't have a magazine in the gun it's not "complete", or fixed, etc. putting the loaded magazine in the weapon makes it loaded. Whereas keeping an empty magazine in the gun that has to be taken out, or loaded from the top makes it a truly empty weapon. I've never seen it in the books, but it has apparently been interpreted this way someplace.

Mirage
10-17-2009, 10:58 PM
Hi:

I have a 4 year old, so as long as I keep ammo locked up in the interim until I get a safe, at least I can be certain that no danger to my child will occur.
Thanks for input.

I thought the same thing till my son got some ammo from his buddies house and took my Ruger 10/22 out shooting without my permission. I got a gun safe after that. He was 16 instead of 4, but kids are very attracted to firearms. Don't underestimate their curiosity or ingenuity.

Librarian
10-18-2009, 12:31 PM
Comments embedded bold...

I believe it's a State Law as well. I seem to remember reading it in the California Gun Owner's Guide.
GFSZ is also state law, but the state version doesn't mention long guns at all for the zones - but bringing a firearm actually onto campus is covered.

I've often wondered about keeping a pistol in a soft case (or hard for that matter), locked, sitting next to me on the seat (or lap) with the key in it, or the combination one number off from opening.
Gray area; the 'key' looks problematical, the 'combination' would likely be OK. So long as it's unloaded!

Not that I want to start doing this, it just reads that way. I have a VW camper van with no trunk. In a sense, all of my cabinets could be "utility compartments". I could assume that because I have to get up & walk back (impossible while driving) to get to them, it's OK, but it doesn't read that way.
The locked case containing the unloaded handgun can be anywhere you find convenient. Without the locked case, the issue is indeed cloudier.

A rifle, or a shotgun reads like I can have a bullet button AR-15 in a gun rack on my ceiling or dash, with a lock in a school zone & it's legal.
Right. I might be hesitant about on the dash, myself, but that qualifies for the Fed GFSZ. It's the rack that has to be locked - don't assume a trigger or cable lock on the rifle will do.

From what I've read here, having loaded magazines on your person (not while at the Governor's) is not a loaded weapon,
presuming you are not committing another crime at the time, yes - see 'Defining loaded (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Defining_loaded_in_California)'.
but if you don't have a magazine in the gun it's not "complete", or fixed, etc. putting the loaded magazine in the weapon makes it loaded. Whereas keeping an empty magazine in the gun that has to be taken out, or loaded from the top makes it a truly empty weapon. I've never seen it in the books, but it has apparently been interpreted this way someplace.
That last seems to be a conflation of a couple of things, mostly related to bullet-button equipped off list lower rifles. I think the Calguns Foundation Wiki article on 'non-detachable magazines (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Non_detachable_magazines)' might clear that up for you.

2nd Amender
10-23-2009, 7:32 PM
Wow! thanks for clearing that up. I didn't even know there was a CG wiki. That's a really clear write up.

tombinghamthegreat
10-23-2009, 9:34 PM
A pistol rug or soft gun case is fine as long as it is locked.

even a gym bag or a backpack with a cheap lock will work for the school zones for putting your guns/mags/ammo in the same container.