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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 02-22-2011, 12:43 PM
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Default On the legality of guitar cases used to take stuff to the range...

I've always heard that any locked container was good to go when taking your guns to the shooting range, until I recently came across mentions of the law about camouflaged gun cases.

I have an electric guitar that has a nice large bag, and have considered that the bag is conveniently the right size to put a rifle in and be locked, which would save me the money of buying a new rifle bag to take my rifle to the range.

Of course, I'd never want to break the law, so I wouldn't use the bag for this if it turns out it's illegal to do it. That bag would go on just carrying my guitar.


Would a guitar bag containing an unloaded rifle and locked with a padlock, carried inside a car trunk taking it to the range, be legal?

As long as it's closed with a padlock and the gun inside is unloaded, is any container okay, or are guitar bags and other such bags a no-no because they're primarily designed to carry something else?

I know it kind of makes no sense to ask since a locked container is a locked container regardless of it being a musical instrument case or camera bag or cake tupperware (lol) or whatever, but law doesn't always make sense, especially to us non-lawyers.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
A camouflaging firearm container means a container designed to enclose a firearm, making it unrecognizable, and is capable of being fired by external controls while enclosed in the container. The term excludes camouflage gear used in hunting. (Penal Code 12020(c)(9).)
They mean something like this:
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:54 PM
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Go buy a copy of How to Own a Gun & Stay Out of Jail .

Written in plain English and references code sections. It will serve you well.
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Old 02-22-2011, 1:43 PM
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Its a no no if you can fire the gun from the camoflauged container like the HK briefcase above... A guitar case is good to go....and a good idea.
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Old 02-22-2011, 1:56 PM
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Yea I like the guitar case idea except I don't have one. I have a hard sided rifle case. Other than LEOs, if someone were to ask ie' Joe E public, the answer would be Yes as a matter of fact it is a guitar.
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Old 02-22-2011, 2:02 PM
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Yea I like the guitar case idea except I don't have one. I have a hard sided rifle case. Other than LEOs, if someone were to ask ie' Joe E public, the answer would be Yes as a matter of fact it is a guitar.
"Yes, it is a Hawaiian guitar, they don't have big round sound bodies you know."
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Old 02-22-2011, 2:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimi_T View Post
I've always heard that any locked container was good to go when taking your guns to the shooting range, until I recently came across mentions of the law about camouflaged gun cases.

I have an electric guitar that has a nice large bag, and have considered that the bag is conveniently the right size to put a rifle in and be locked, which would save me the money of buying a new rifle bag to take my rifle to the range.
Last I checked, 12025 doesn't apply to rifles, so there's no need to worry about transporting in a locked container.
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Old 02-22-2011, 2:58 PM
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Last I checked, 12025 doesn't apply to rifles, so there's no need to worry about transporting in a locked container.
but the Federal School Zone does, IIRC. OTOH, nobody ever gets prosecuted for that anymore and it is possible it isn't prosecutable.

Also, it lessens the drama of carrying it outside your vehicle.
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Old 02-22-2011, 3:16 PM
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I love using guitar cases as gun cases.

The best part is, I live in Humboldt County and I don't look like your average conservative. I could just as easily be confused for a street kid if I weren't wearing the tie/slacks/etc that I wear to work each day. So, I'm assuming the average citizen and LEO just sees "another hippy with a guitar" when I'm packing up for the range.

...the ammo cans on the other hand... those have sheet music in them, I swear!
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Old 02-22-2011, 3:27 PM
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Quote:
Go buy a copy of How to Own a Gun & Stay Out of Jail .

Written in plain English and references code sections. It will serve you well.
Or, ask the question here and get an answer. HTOAGASOOJ, is a good book, but actually doesn't remove the uncertainty of PC interpretation and is behind on case law.

It will always be easier to say buy the book, instead of answering the question, but one might as well admit to not knowing the answer, and, apparently, the ability to look up the answer in said book, and pass it along.
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Old 02-22-2011, 3:35 PM
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yea electric guitar gig bags are my choice as they are often cheaper and have extra pockets for ammo and mags
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Old 02-22-2011, 3:37 PM
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My made-for-rifles rifle case doesn't look like a gun case, more like a large keyboard case for a 61/76 key keyboard. Nothing illegal about that.

So get your "El Mariachi" on!
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  #13  
Old 02-22-2011, 7:01 PM
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"and is capable of being fired by external controls while enclosed in the container. "

Thank you for the info! I hadn't seen the actual text of that law, so I didn't know it was so clear. That's good to know!

Thank you, everybody who answered also!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Rockso View Post
They mean something like this:
That briefcase is amazing!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by DVSmith View Post
Go buy a copy of How to Own a Gun & Stay Out of Jail .

Written in plain English and references code sections. It will serve you well.
We have that book, actually. But it keeps being borrowed, so it's been quite a while since I last read it.
I didn't remember if it mentioned something like the types of cases that are okay.

I'm actually considering picking up a second copy and just giving up on the one I haven't seen in a while.
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Old 02-22-2011, 7:18 PM
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Now thats a brief case
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Old 02-22-2011, 7:26 PM
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As I walked up the front porch steps after returning from Sporting Clays, my neighbor asked what was in the case.
"Why, a bassoon, of course" I replied.

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Old 02-22-2011, 7:32 PM
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When I lived in an apartment many moons ago, I'd always transport a long gun in my soft padded guitar case on my back from the car, through the complex (often people outside) and into my apartment.

I think it's a good idea in some circumstances.
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  #17  
Old 02-22-2011, 8:32 PM
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If we stop and think about it for a minute, if the meaning of 'camouflaging firearm container' were only that one could not tell that a gun was in the container, we'd have a big market for transparent bags and cases.

Obviously I haven't been everywhere at all times, but I've never heard of a specific transparent gun case.

Any locking case one thinks is secure is appropriate for transporting handguns; any case or no case is fine for long guns. Just don't rig the gun so it can be fired while in the case.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:27 PM
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In fact, I'll bet a transparent case would in fact lead to special attention from the local PD.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:39 PM
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  #20  
Old 02-23-2011, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
If we stop and think about it for a minute, if the meaning of 'camouflaging firearm container' were only that one could not tell that a gun was in the container, we'd have a big market for transparent bags and cases.
I definitely agree with you on the logical aspect, although unfortunately thinking about it for a minute is not always a solution, as it would imply expecting all of the gun laws to make sense.
I asked whether it was legal because I was afraid it was some weird thing about cases designed for specific uses being forbidden from use with guns, or something like that. I was glad to see that it was just a law to cover the cases that can fire.

I prefer to err on the side of caution whenever I hear of some CA gun law, especially if I initially can't find info about it.
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Old 02-23-2011, 7:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul0660 View Post
It will always be easier to say buy the book, instead of answering the question, but one might as well admit to not knowing the answer, and, apparently, the ability to look up the answer in said book, and pass it along.
Easier to answer the question, but easier is not always better.

Better to give the book reference, as that gives OP nuances of the law he just won't get on a forum...Long run, it teaches the OP how to fish.

The guitar case is legal.

-hanko
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Old 02-23-2011, 8:28 AM
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21 posts and no one bothered to quote the law? Quit shilling some book and just give the OP the note. Or better yet, show him how to find it (note: I googled california camouflaging firearm container).

From http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html

12020(c)(9)As used in this section, a "camouflaging firearm container" means a container which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It is designed and intended to enclose a firearm.
(B) It is designed and intended to allow the firing of the enclosed firearm by external controls while the firearm is in the container.
(C) It is not readily recognizable as containing a firearm.
"Camouflaging firearm container" does not include any camouflaging covering used while engaged in lawful hunting or while going to or returning from a lawful hunting expedition.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -hanko View Post
Easier to answer the question, but easier is not always better.

Better to give the book reference, as that gives OP nuances of the law he just won't get on a forum...Long run, it teaches the OP how to fish.

The guitar case is legal.

-hanko

In that particular case though, I already own that book, as I've mentioned in a previous post in the thread.

So it's not a need to learn to fish, more like a need for me to get my book back or to buy additional copies so I can lend them to people while still keeping one at home...




Quote:
Originally Posted by gunn View Post
21 posts and no one bothered to quote the law? Quit shilling some book and just give the OP the note. Or better yet, show him how to find it (note: I googled california camouflaging firearm container).

From http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html

12020(c)(9)As used in this section, a "camouflaging firearm container" means a container which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It is designed and intended to enclose a firearm.
(B) It is designed and intended to allow the firing of the enclosed firearm by external controls while the firearm is in the container.
(C) It is not readily recognizable as containing a firearm.
"Camouflaging firearm container" does not include any camouflaging covering used while engaged in lawful hunting or while going to or returning from a lawful hunting expedition.
Thank you for the link, and the full version!

Dr Rockso had quoted part of it/explained it early in the thread. But it's great to have that link also. I should have bookmarked that site before.

My Google-fu failed me when I searched for it before, I should have used better keywords.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:55 AM
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The comparable link from Findlaw is
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/4/2/1/2/s12020

and of course there's always the State site
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
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Old 02-23-2011, 1:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
The comparable link from Findlaw is
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/4/2/1/2/s12020

and of course there's always the State site
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
Thank you! *happily bookmarks more law sites*
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Old 02-23-2011, 2:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimi_T View Post
Thank you! *happily bookmarks more law sites*
I didn't know you cared...

So, here are some 'aggregate' sites for county and city codes:

http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/#CA

http://www.qcode.us/codes.htm

http://www.amlegal.com/library/ca/index.shtml

Many cities and counties have the links to their codes at the city/county web site. Some point back to one of the 3 above, a couple go to either their own site or yet another legal site.

And California Code of Regulations
http://ccr.oal.ca.gov/
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Old 02-23-2011, 2:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunn View Post
From http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html

12020(c)(9)As used in this section, a "camouflaging firearm container" means a container which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It is designed and intended to enclose a firearm.
(B) It is designed and intended to allow the firing of the enclosed firearm by external controls while the firearm is in the container.
(C) It is not readily recognizable as containing a firearm.
"Camouflaging firearm container" does not include any camouflaging covering used while engaged in lawful hunting or while going to or returning from a lawful hunting expedition.
So I can have that awesome briefcase with me whenever I happen to be on a hunting trip? Awesome!

Disclaimer <<insert fastreading voice heard at the end of car commercials>>: the response above is intended only as "humorous" and is intended for adult audiences only. Do not try this at home. Do not run with scissors. Do not have a briefcase as a functioning firearms, etc, etc.
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Old 02-23-2011, 6:04 PM
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Since I play/own guitars I use the cases for transport. They are very inconspicuous and are great at fooling nosey neighbors, etc.
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Old 02-23-2011, 8:23 PM
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Aw, crap, I play guitars too but sold off my bass, now I'm gonna have to get another one just so I can carry two guitar cases at once. Or get one of those uber-expensive double axe cases, rifle in one (locked) half, guitar in the other.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:34 PM
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I've had a few questions about my case, goes something like this.

Is that a guitar?

Why yes, it is.

Oh, what kind?

Staccato bass.

The confused looks are priceless.....
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
I didn't know you cared...

So, here are some 'aggregate' sites for county and city codes:

http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/#CA

http://www.qcode.us/codes.htm

http://www.amlegal.com/library/ca/index.shtml

Many cities and counties have the links to their codes at the city/county web site. Some point back to one of the 3 above, a couple go to either their own site or yet another legal site.

And California Code of Regulations
http://ccr.oal.ca.gov/
Thank you!

I'm one of those people who hoards resource links of all types, and has so many bookmark folders... the downside is that I sometimes have too many and it becomes chaotic, making it hard to find again what I was looking for.

So useful links are always welcome, and hopefully I'll still manage to find then in my mess of saved links.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:56 AM
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Just don't cut your long gun down to fit if the case is for a Ukulele or something.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:30 AM
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I've been recommending guitar gig bags whenever someone wants to transport a rifle on a motorcycle.

I have carried guitars on my motorcycle- but not a rifle ...yet.

Not exactly 'comfortable'- especially at freeway speeds- but it's entirely do able.

I prefer keeping my hobby discreet as well.

One year for xmas, my brother gave me a hard rifle case- that was pretty obvious it was a rifle case.... I lived in an apartment, and my brother walking down the sidewalk to my apt some neighbor says, "whats in the case?" Brother says, "nothing- it's empty- (it was) but naturally the neighbor goes "sure....." and its pretty clear that there is a least one rifle in my apartment.....

I used to wrap old blankets around the cases walking them to the car- people dont know what I'm carrying, but still very suspicious-

Guitar bags are a perfect solution- especially for apartment dwellers.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:52 AM
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Tommyguns in violin cases.. in Chicago?
I'm just sayin'...
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Old 02-24-2011, 1:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunn View Post
21 posts and no one bothered to quote the law? Quit shilling some book and just give the OP the note. Or better yet, show him how to find it (note: I googled california camouflaging firearm container).

From http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html

12020(c)(9)As used in this section, a "camouflaging firearm container" means a container which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It is designed and intended to enclose a firearm.
(B) It is designed and intended to allow the firing of the enclosed firearm by external controls while the firearm is in the container.
(C) It is not readily recognizable as containing a firearm.
"Camouflaging firearm container" does not include any camouflaging covering used while engaged in lawful hunting or while going to or returning from a lawful hunting expedition.

What if someone takes one of the HK cases and slap a big sticker on it that says "I contain a Gun"?

Last edited by 3013; 02-24-2011 at 1:33 PM.. Reason: Edited for clarity
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Old 02-25-2011, 1:43 PM
DVSmith DVSmith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul0660 View Post
Or, ask the question here and get an answer. HTOAGASOOJ, is a good book, but actually doesn't remove the uncertainty of PC interpretation and is behind on case law.

It will always be easier to say buy the book, instead of answering the question, but one might as well admit to not knowing the answer, and, apparently, the ability to look up the answer in said book, and pass it along.
Actually the question had already been answered, so answering it again would have been silly. Just as silly as accepting legal advice from an internet gun forum.
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