Friday, September 12, 2014

California Vice-principal Charged with a Gun On Campus - Then Charges Dropped

from ssgmarkcr

    I came upon this a few days ago and I sat on it a few days to get a chance to throw some questions about it to a long time friend who recently retired as a state investigator in California. 

"Kent Williams, the vice principal of Tevis Junior High School, was arrested on Aug. 28 when he brought his handgun on to the Bakersfield, California, campus. An unidentified school employee told district officials that Williams had a gun in his backpack. Williams claimed that he carried the gun to protect himself and students from possible danger (video below). Williams, who has a concealed carry firearms permit, has filed a claim (the first step to filing a lawsuit) against the City of Bakersfield and the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) for false arrest."

"According to the BPD, officers thought that Williams may have violated the California Gun Free Zone Act. However, Williams' case was dropped by the Bakersfield district attorney's office."

"[The police] tell [Williams], he has a concealed weapons permit, everything seems in order and the higher up said, arrest him anyway," Rodriguez told ABC 23. "Was it just sloppiness, indifference, laziness? I don't know. What I do know, is that you cannot have probable cause, if you have a mistake," stated Rodriguez."

    I got hold of my friend in California and asked how it was that the charges ended up being dropped and he pointed me to this apparent exception to the gun free school law,

"(l) This section does not apply to a duly appointed peace officer
as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of
Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the
federal government who is carrying out official duties while in
California, any person summoned by any of these officers to assist in
making arrests or preserving the peace while he or she is actually
engaged in assisting the officer, a member of the military forces of
this state or of the United States who is engaged in the performance
of his or her duties, a person holding a valid license to carry the
firearm pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 26150) of
Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6, or an armored vehicle guard, engaged
in the performance of his or her duties, as defined in subdivision
(e) of Section 7521 of the Business and Professions Code."

    My first thought is that this is heavy stuff, so far, it appears that the only potential sanction he might get will be getting fired.  At first glance, this seems to put California's gun free school law on par with Minnesota's carry permit law regarding carry in post secondary schools, only it applies to ALL schools.
    In Minnesota, carry in post secondary schools is legal for permit holders, however, the schools are allowed to ban carry by students and employees.  So while they couldn't be charged criminally, they could be fired or expelled for breaking school rules.
    I'm sure that currently someone is likely burning the midnight oil feverishly trying to find something to charge this guy with.  Especially with a potential false arrest suit in the works.  And he has apparently been armed in school since he got his permit which if I remember from another article was in 2010. 
    All that being said, there is one aspect of this event which makes me want to whack this guy upside the head to reset his thinking.  Lets see if anyone notices it.  I'm betting/hoping its someone who carries who answers first.  I'll let Mike call the winner since he can likely see who replies first.  I've emailed Mike the answer that has been kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall's back porch since noon today.
    And no, its something besides the kneejerk answer of him having a gun in school.

Answer to the question to follow


  1. Great post Mark. And some fascinating legal issues. Being a resident of California, I understand what it means to have a gun-free zone. And, of course, law enforcement can have a gun in a gun-free zone. I also understand what the statute says about a peace officer being exempt, or a person who is directly aiding a peace officer. The principal may be the chief officer of the school, but is not technically a peace officer. And unless a peace officer has enlisted his help in confronting some type of danger with firearms, the argument falls completely apart.

    I think the D.A. merely dropped the charges because it was his discretion to do so. Nobody wants this principal to go to jail. And I doubt that anyone in the D.A.'s office is feverishly trying to come up with some statute to charge him with. Discretion is the better part of valor and has a lot to do with being nice in this case.

    I think that the principal in this case is a total dick because he can't accept that the D.A. was nice enough to drop criminal charges. He most likely will lose his job, as he damn well should. In his backpack? What a dumbass! It is my guess that this "claim," or first step to a lawsuit will most likely never make it to trial.

    Will be looking for your "answer," and very interested in what further developments may issue from this solution.

    Aside. It must have been quite glorious for the minority liberal students to see their principal do the perp walk because he was so dickly that he thought that he was above the law. Carry permit? That's a joke.

    1. "so dickly that he thought that he was above the law."

      The post points out that this is, apparently, legal in California--surely through some oversight of the liberals in Sacramento (my guess, they knew that none of the "good" parts of the state issued permits frequently, if at all, and didn't bother checking for things like this).

  2. Mike would normally be the first to answer, but you gave him the answer. Since this is a California case, Minnesota rules don't apply, but you apply them anyways.

    1. "Minnesota rules don't apply, but you apply them anyways."

      Your correct Anon, I was only comparing the result to the way things are in Minnesota. I'm trusting Mike to hold on to the answer until someone comes up with it, or it becomes obvious that no one is going to get it. If you've listened to the things I think are important, you'll get it.

  3. The way I read that law states that anyone that has a valid concealed carry permit is legally allowed to carry their weapon on school grounds.

    "a person holding a valid license to carry the firearm pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 26150) of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6," was one of the exceptions to the rule banning weapons.

    I am assuming the chapter cited is the concealed carry permit chapter - correct me if this is wrong.

    The slap to the head would be for "carrying" the weapon in his backpack. He does not have complete control of the weapon in this case and I am sure there are several people in and out of his office every day that could potentially access the weapon without him knowing about it.

    1. Yup, exactly the problem, though, I have to note that Junior did mention it in his comment as an aside.

      I've seen times when it wasn't possible to carry on my person, so I used a briefcase/satchel/etc. but you better bet that it stayed on me, clamped between my feet, or otherwise completely in my control at ALL times. Carry responsibly people.

  4. Good job to both Junior and Anon.

  5. Thought I'd throw in an update to this event,

    "The vice principal arrested in August for carrying a gun on a Bakersfield, California, campus submitted his resignation to the school board Tuesday after filing a civil suit against the local authorities.
    Kent Williams was arrested at Tevis Junior High School on Aug. 28 after police received a tip saying he had a gun on school property. Bakersfield police detained Williams for about six hours but released him after determining that he was, in fact, within his legal right to carry the gun on campus, per California penal code."

    In this case, it sounds like California is much more permissive than Minnesota in that they seem to allow permit holders to carry in K-12 schools. In Minnesota, doing that isn't allowed, though permitted carry in post secondary schools is allowed. The caveat to that being that the school administration may enforce rules regarding carry by students and employees which can result in firing or expulsion.
    This also caught my eye,

    "Furthermore, the complaint claims that his Second Amendment rights were violated when authorities went into Williams’ home and confiscated his other firearms, which have yet to be returned after almost four months, The Bakersfield Californian reported."

    So, they entered his home, hopefully with a warrant, took all of his legally possessed firearms, charges were dropped, and he still hasn't gotten his property back?
    Perhaps one of our California residents can enlighten me as to whether this is normal there.

    1. Sounds like something's wrong there.