Arizona Court Rules Guns are Loaded, Even When Empty…

Sorry, but you heard that one right. In Arizona, a panel of three judges decided the legal definition of a ‘loaded’ gun. They concluded a gun can be loaded even without a live round in the chamber.

The AZ Court of Appeals came to this conclusion while upholding the conviction of Bo Lucas Johnson. He argued that while he had a firearm on school grounds, the legality of his possession ‘could not be determined due to the state’s vague definition of a “loaded” firearm,’ reports Guns America.

Arizona law states that a person commits a “misconduct involving weapons” by knowingly possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds. But the law makes an exception if the firearm is not “loaded” and “is carried within a means of transportation under the control of an adult.”

Johnson argued that since the law does not specify whether a “loaded” handgun must have a round in the chamber, his misconduct involving weapons charge should be dropped. Johnson attorney’s cited Utah’s definition of “loaded,” which reads, in part, “when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell, or projectile in the firing position.” The California legislature has also spelled out their definition of a “loaded” firearm to include any firearm that has live ammunition in the magazine.

Johnson’s side argued that because Arizona law does not contain a similarly explicit definition, the current statue is unconstitutionally vague.

Appeals Court Judge Philip Espinosa disagreed. He ruled in the unanimous majority opinion that even though other states have chosen to define the term “loaded,” the Arizona legislature did not, which calls for the use of the “common sense” definition of “containing ammunition.” The term, therefore, is not unconstitutionally vague.

Guns America

Espinosa continued that the language of Arizona’s law,  “provides people of ordinary intelligence with sufficient notice and a definite warning that deadly weapons, which [the statute] expressly defines to include firearms, are not permitted on school property.”

The case in question happened in September of 2014.

Johnson became involved in a road rage situation, where a verbal conflict was exchanged. The two individuals ran into each other the next day in the school parking lot. When the other person approached Johnson’s truck, he saw him ‘handling’ a firearm. The man also claimed Johnson said something like,  “driving like that will get you shot.”

Johnson was arrested after he was reported to the police — officials found his gun had live rounds in the magazine, not in the chamber — and convicted of one count of threatening or intimidating as well as a misconduct involving weapons. He was placed on probation by Grass Valley Justice Court, fined and required him to attend four sessions of an anger management class.

Of course this case can always be appealed by the Arizona Supreme Court.

What do you think, is a gun loaded without a live round in the chamber?

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