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Is this legal?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by bill2, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. bill2

    bill2 Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    bay area California
    from the SG Chronicle - another article on guns. I am particularly interested in the paragraph below in which the columnist says that CA waives the requirement to have a CCW permit if you believe your life to be in danger. Is this true?

    Rebecca took out a life insurance policy on herself four years ago. She made her daughter the beneficiary. She was 51.

    She believed that her husband was going to kill her. It was just a matter of time. She believes it still, even though she left him in 2001 and went underground through the California Confidential Address Program. She uses a phony address in Sacramento provided by the program (and is not using her real name for this column) to remain hidden.

    Last summer, there were signs he had found her.

    So Rebecca started carrying a gun inside a pouch in her purse.

    What happened next is a sobering reminder of how the legal system is still struggling to understand the complex and vulnerable lives of battered women.

    Rebecca had owned the gun since escaping from her husband. She bought it after the required 10-day waiting period and registered it in her name. She knew the police couldn't always be around to protect her. A gun leveled the playing field against a man bigger and stronger than she was. Maybe it would save her from becoming one of the 1,300 people killed in the United States each year in domestic violence attacks.

    One evening last August, Rebecca was making the long drive home from Mill Valley, where she had to drop off some papers for a client. She stopped at an Albertsons supermarket in Half Moon Bay. She paid for her groceries, picked up the shopping bag and her wallet but left her purse at the end of the checkout counter.

    The momentary lapse plunged her into a legal mess that has turned her from victim to criminal. She was arrested for carrying a loaded gun and sentenced last month by a San Mateo County court to 10 days in jail and 18 months' probation. Her conviction means she can no longer possess a gun, and it might jeopardize her participation in the Confidential Address Program.

    "I'm 55 years old,'' Rebecca said by phone. "I've never committed a crime. I'm not a threat to anybody.''

    Rebecca didn't think she needed a permit to carry a concealed weapon because California law waives the permit requirement for anyone who "reasonably believes that he or she is in grave danger because of circumstances forming the basis of a current restraining order.'' Rebecca had a restraining order against her husband.
    What she didn't know was that the restraining order, which she understood to be permanent, had expired in June.

    "The restraining order would have been enough to take it to a jury trial,'' said Ben Lamarr, the lawyer who represented her in court. "It would have created a technical defense, but without that, she didn't have anything.''

    Rebecca's appeal of the sentence was approved this week. It means she can spend her 10 days working in the jail but won't have to sleep there. Still, the sentence will cost her $20 per day plus an additional $60 fee, not to mention 10 days of lost wages, the gas to drive from the county where she lives to the San Mateo County Jail and the $160 fine she already paid.

    "It would cost me less to do the time,'' Rebecca said.

    More important, the conviction leaves Rebecca more vulnerable than ever to her abusive husband. For one, the district attorney's office mistakenly included her actual street address on all its documents, which are public record. The office was scrambling on Friday to delete the information.

    And two, she now has no protection. (I wonder whether San Francisco voters considered domestic violence situations when they voted in November to ban all handguns and what consequences women like Rebecca might pay.)

    "I'm usually not in the business of trying to get anybody's gun back, but with this conviction, she couldn't have it even in her house anymore,'' said attorney Myra Weiher, who is trying to get the conviction set aside.

    "This is scary stuff she's facing (from her batterer). Guys like this don't behave in ways regular criminals do. They're stealth. They're all about terror.''

    Rebecca knows she made a big mistake in leaving her purse with a loaded gun at a public place. Her lapse was a potentially dangerous one; it should not be minimized. But how do we balance her mistake against the danger she faces every day from a violent man who left her crushed and fearful, whose beatings and threats drove her into hiding?

    The law against carrying concealed guns makes good sense. But so many women every year are killed by their abusive boyfriends and husbands. Restraining orders, as we know, can't stop them. The police often can't stop them. I don't know what the solution is. But something's wrong when, in trying to keep herself alive, the terrorized woman becomes the criminal.
  2. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Participating Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    SW Ohio
    Who can blame her? A free person will (and should) assume they can exercise their rights without asking for permission.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  3. Jim March

    Jim March Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    The restraining order thing is sorta the law. It's an "affirmative defense" to prosecution - an excuse for violating the CCW law that must be allowed in court.

    Whether or not the jury will buy it is another matter but in most cases a prosecutor won't bother trying.
  4. MrTuffPaws

    MrTuffPaws Participating Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Good sense to whom?
  5. The Viking

    The Viking Member

    May 9, 2005
    To those who like to beat up their ex-gf/wifes.
  6. orionengnr

    orionengnr Mentor

    Jan 3, 2005

    "This is scary stuff she's facing (from her batterer). Guys like this don't behave in ways regular criminals do. They're stealth. They're all about terror.''

    Oh, ya mean, like regular rapists, robbers, and murderers? The ones we "don't need" to carry a gun to protect ourselves from?

    Oh, puhleeeze...
  7. Janitor

    Janitor Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Excuse me, but ... huh? Did she get logical whiplash when she said all that?
  8. LJWebster1

    LJWebster1 New Member

    Dec 30, 2005
    Republic of Texas
    Sounds like this author thinks that concealed weapons are only appropriate for women who are in abusive situations. Nothing like the rest of us being left to fend for ourselves with just our wits and bare hands.
  9. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Salem, Oregon
    "Nothing like the rest of us being left to fend for ourselves with just our wits and bare hands."

    On the other hand, view it as a step in chipping away prejudice and creating a logical mind set. Better a crumb than nothing.
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    She should have moved to Arizona—and not left her purse in the grocery.
  11. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    Oh but I read in another post yesterday that the scenery and nice weather in California make it "worth the loss of personal freedoms".
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Elder

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    More draconian goodness from **********. You are not a citizen--you are a subject. Your right to existence is conditional on the good will of the state.
  13. antsi

    antsi Participating Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Didn't you know? Rapists, robbers, murderers, and other kinds of criminals behave with proper decorum and politeness. They send you a card, some weeks in advance, announcing their intention to attack you. Naturally, they also forward a copy to the police. That way, the police can be there to protect you when the bad guys come.
  14. Hook686

    Hook686 Active Member

    Jun 3, 2005
    Wait a minute .... This lady, who has never violated any laws, carried a conealed weapon without a permit ... she left a loaded gun in a public place ... she remains in the bay area (a very expensive area, and perhaps one of the worst regarding concealed carry in California) and everybody is to overlook these errors, because she is alleged to be a woman in fear of her life.

    hmmmm do you suppose if a divorced man is afraid for his life, because his ex is carrying a gun, he could carry without a CCW ? She obviously appears to me to be not too concerned about complying with the law ... if I were her ex, I'd be really frightened ... and he does not even know where she might come from.

    I wonder if there are any kids, and if dad gets to see them. I think there are a whole lot of facts missing in this scenario. While in **********, as in many states, ones, "right to existence is conditional on the good will of the state ", I also find it is also conditional upon one accepting responsibility for ones behavior and not walking through life with ones head up a ... cloud.
  15. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Mentor

    May 5, 2005
    Garrettsville, Oh.
    My opinion is a mix of two view points

    On one hand, I say that she should have every right to protect herself. On the other hand, there are women every day in this same position who do not carry because they know the law doesn't allow it. My final reaction is that our laws, as a nation, need some work to allow personal responsibility and safety.
  16. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Participating Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Black Range of New Mexico
    1). She should have not forgot her purse at a the cashiers with a firearm in it.
    That shows complacency and condition "white", her husband could have been inline with her and she might not have noticed him.

    2). LEO's should not enforce unConstitutional laws.
    If it had been a fellow policeman's wife forgetting her pistol it would it have gone the same way?

    3). If your going to carry concealed or open you have to change your way of thinking. This woman should take a class on awareness like Jeff Cooper's condition White, Yellow, Orange, Red. That should have been her only sentence.
  17. tellner

    tellner member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well it is true that they're not like most regular criminals. Your average burglar, mugger or rapist is looking for an easy victim. He doesn't want to work hard for whatever it is that he wants. And he won't take risks that he considers out of line with the rewards he hopes to get.

    An abusive ex is much, much worse. He's willing to hunt his prey down for years and often doesn't care if he dies as long as he can get her.

    She's in danger every minute that he's alive. Prayers to her, damnations to the abuser the system that wants to leave her helpless.
  18. phoglund

    phoglund Active Member

    Jul 16, 2004
    The Bozone
    This seems a situation where this woman should be able to be armed. Some training should be demanded of her because of her mistake. I have to say if I were in a similar situation I'd move from the state altogether. Both to get some distance between myself and my abuser and to go somewhere that would allow me to carry legally.

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