A California schoolteacher was recently arrested for carrying a loaded firearm to his workplace, which, not surprisingly, was filled with high school students.
Pursuant to the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, it is a criminal offense for any person to possess a firearm in a school zone, save for a narrow list of exceptions. In fact, that anti-gun prohibition may extend to 1,000 feet from the grounds of any California public or private school. Violation of this law may be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
In this case, it is unclear whether the 41-year-old teacher knew about the law. For example, he reportedly told his seventh and eighth grade students about the gun on his person. The teacher apparently also kept ammunition in his locker.
Police responded to the school based on these reports. A pat down of the teacher revealed he was carrying a concealed .38-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Although the gun was registered and licensed, the teacher did not have a permit to carry it concealed on his person.
Although the failure to have a certain kind of permit might be a minor infraction in other contexts, it is a felony in gun-free zones. As a result, the teacher now faces a potential prison sentence. When questioned, the teacher claimed he carried the gun to feel safe.
An experienced criminal defense attorney might seek to negotiate with prosecutors, arguing that the teacher’s lack of a criminal record and his non-threatening and openly acknowledged possession of the gun did not actually endanger or cause harm to any students. Perhaps an attorney might plea bargain for a reduced charge and probation, rather than actual time served.
Source: opposingviews.com, “CA Teacher Pleads Guilty To Felony Charge Of Carrying Loaded Gun On Campus,” Dabney Bailey, June 13, 2013