Defendant who is carrying a gun in a backpack that he is wearing, is “carrying a loaded firearm on his person” within the meaning of Penal Code section 25850, subdivision (a). While being pursued by police, Wade was wearing a backpack containing a loaded firearm. He was charged with carrying a loaded firearm on his person. The trial court granted a defense Penal Code section 995 motion, finding that Wade was not carrying the gun on his person based on the reasoning in People v. Pellecer (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 508 (knife contained in backpack is not carried “on the person”). The prosecution appealed and the Court of Appeal reversed. The California Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 25850, is derived from former section 12031, subdivision (a)(1), which was repealed in 2010 as part of the Deadly Weapons Recodification Act. The Act was not intended to effect substantive changes in the law but was intended to be a restatement and continuation of prior statutes absent a legislative intent to the contrary. Section 25850, subdivision (a) prohibits carrying a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle. The law should be applied consistent with the Legislature’s concern with the threat to public safety from those with ready access to guns in public. Courts in other jurisdictions that have interpreted similar laws have concluded that a person who carries a loaded firearm in a backpack, purse, or suitcase he is carrying, carries the gun on his person. After analyzing the statute and the legislative history of section 25850, the court agreed with the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of the statute. To the extent that the opinion in Pellecer is contrary to this holding, it was disapproved.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S224599.PDF