BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2305
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 30, 2014

                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                AB 2305 (Ridley-Thomas) - As Amended:  April 10, 2014 

          Policy Committee:                              Public  
          SafetyVote:  5-2

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No


          This bill modifies the elements of several weapons-possession  
          statutes to prohibit carrying the specified weapons -  
          switchblades and concealed guns - "on or about the person,"  
          rather than simply on the person, and defines on or about the  
          person to mean "upon the body of the person, in the attire or  
          clothing of a person, in a bag or container carried by the  
          person, or in close proximity to, within the immediate reach of,  
          or conveniently accessible to, the person."  

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          Unknown, potentially moderate state and local costs to the  
          extent this clarification results in additional state or local  
          incarceration, offset to an unknown degree by fine revenue. As  
          the amended statutes include several circumstances in which  
          carrying a concealed or loaded weapon are punishable by state  
          prison, it is reasonable to assume additional offenders will be  
          committed to state prison, where per capita costs exceed  

           1)Rationale  . In People v. Pellecer, 2013, 215 Cal.App.4th 508,  
            the defendant appealed a conviction for carrying a dirk or  
            dagger because the knives he possessed were in a backpack and  
            not "on his person" as required under the language of the  
            statute. The court agreed that carrying a dirk or dagger in a  
            backpack does not result in a violation of the statute,  
            because the statute requires that the item be concealed "upon  
            his or her person." The court concluded the ordinary meaning  


                                                                  AB 2305
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            of "upon his or her person" means on the body or in the  
            clothing worn on the body.  

            The court also discussed the conflicting decision of People v.  
            Dunn (1976) 61 Cal.App.3rd
            Supp. 12, which reached a contrary conclusion in interpreting  
            former Penal Code section 12025 (possession of a concealable  
            firearm).  In that case, the appellate department of the  
            superior court held that a concealable pistol found in a  
            briefcase carried by the defendant was "sufficiently on the  
            person" to be a violation of the statute.  In Pellecer, the  
            appellate court ruled that the Dunn Court was wrong.

            According to Pellecer, had the Legislature wanted to  
            criminalize possession of a dirk or dagger in a carried  
            container, it would have used the phrase "on or about his or  
            her person" rather than "upon his or her person." "That the  
            Legislature did not outlaw carrying a dirk or dagger in a  
            backpack is understandable, given the utility of a knife in  
            such lawful pursuits as fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking  
            and the like." 

            According to the author, "This measure makes clear the  
            legislature's intent regarding prohibitions on the unlawful  
            carrying of concealed firearms and switchblade knives in  
            purses, backpacks, fanny packs, brief cases, suitcases, or any  
            other container by conforming statute to the recent Court of  
            Appeal ruling."

           2)Current law 

              a)   Makes it a misdemeanor to carry a switchblade having a  
               blade two or more inches in length upon the person, or to  
               possess the knife in the passenger's or driver's area of  
               any vehicle in any public place or place open to the  

             b)   Makes it a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on  
               circumstances, to carry a concealed gun in a vehicle under  
               the person's control or in which the person is an occupant,  
               and also prohibits carry it upon the person. Exempts from  
               prosecution for carrying a concealed gun any person  
               licensed to carry that weapon in a concealed manner.

             c)   Makes it a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on  


                                                                  AB 2305
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               circumstances, to carry a loaded gun either upon the  
               person, or in a vehicle while in a public place or on a  
               public street in an incorporated city, or in a public place  
               or on a public street in a prohibited area of  
               unincorporated territory. 

           3)Support  . The L.A. District Attorney's Office, a sponsor of  
            this bill, states "AB 2305 would amend California law as  
            suggested by the Court of Appeal in the Pellecer decision to  
            replace the language in existing law that prohibits the  
            carrying of a firearm or switchblade 'on the person' with 'on  
            or about the person.'"

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081