Costa Mesa Arrest Following School BB Gun Incident
A father from Costa Mesa was taken into police custody earlier this month after pulling a gun on a high school administrator. The father had been denied access to pick up his daughter due to a court injunction.
The weapon was later learned to be a BB gun, and charges are still pending.
Newport Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Houman Fakhimi knows that obviously, in this current national climate of paranoia, any threat made in a school, especially with a weapon in hand, is ill-advised.
Even in cases similar to this, where no shots are fired and the weapon may not have even been loaded, prosecutors are likely to take this quite seriously.
Still, as this was a BB gun, this man can't be charged under California Penal Code 417. This is the statute that governs brandishing of a deadly weapon. The language of the law hold that anyone who, in the absence of self-defense, draws or exhibits a deadly weapon in a rude, threatening or angry manner may be found guilty of brandishing a deadly weapon. This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with the latter almost always involving an actual firearm, loaded or otherwise.
As a felony, it could be punishable by between 16 months and three years in prison.
BB guns, however, are exempt from this statute.
California also has a law prohibiting firearms on school property, known as the California Gun-Free School Zone Act, under California Penal Code 626.9. This was a law passed in 1995 that bars people from possessing or discharging a firearm in a school zone, which is defined as the area within 1,000 feet of private or public schools.
In this case, it is possible that a BB gun could fall under this measure, as a firearm is defined as any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other combustion.
This charge is automatically a felony if you have any prior felony convictions or if you are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Otherwise, however, simply possessing a gun on school property could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.
Yet another possibility for charges in this case might by criminal threats, as defined in California Penal Code 422. The father in this case reportedly told the school administrator amid a shoving match that he was armed with a handgun and then pulled out the weapon. Criminal threats are defined as the specific, communicated threat to kill or physically harm someone when you additionally place that person in reasonable fear of his or her safety. One doesn't actually have to carry out the threat in order to be criminally charged.
Here again, this charge may be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Unfortunately for this individual, such an incident is not likely to help with whatever the custody issues were that prevented him from seeing his daughter in the first place.
Anyone charged with a weapons offense in California should immediately seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.