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Name: People v. Mitchell
Case #: D059254
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/11/2012

Law which prohibits the carrying of a concealed dirk or dagger does not violate the Second Amendment. Opinion after rehearing: Appellant was removed from the San Diego trolley because he did not have a ticket. A trolley security officer saw the tip of a knife underneath appellant’s sweatshirt. He was arrested for possessing a concealed weapon, which appellant stated he carried for self defense. He was charged and convicted of violating former Penal Code section 12020, subdivision (a)(4) (now section 21310), which prohibits the carrying of a concealed dirk or dagger. On appeal he challenged the constitutionality of his conviction under the Second Amendment. Held: Affirmed. Although a defendant must have a guilty mind to violate the statute, this requires only that the defendant knowingly and intentionally carry a concealed weapon that may be used as a stabbing instrument—the intent to use the weapon is not required. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 554 U.S. 570, the court held that the Second Amendment codifies an individual’s right to possess and carry weapons for self-defense. But this does not mean that weapons may be carried in any manner. Noting that Heller left open the question whether to apply an intermediate or strict scrutiny standard to such questions, the Court of Appeal applied an intermediate standard because the statute regulates, but does not ban, the carrying of a sharp weapon. The prohibition here serves the important governmental interest of allowing third parties to protect themselves against surprise attack. The statute is narrowly tailored to weapons which pose a serious threat to public safety and does not burden the right to bear arms more than what is necessary to serve its purpose.

The trial court had no sua sponte duty to instruct on specific intent to conceal. The act prohibited by former section 12020 is complete when a defendant intentionally and knowingly carries a concealed prohibited weapon. The specific intent to conceal the weapon from other persons is not an element of the offense.