The Calguns Foundation has not only successfully defended California gun owner Ian Farias from wrongful criminal charges filed by the Calexico Police Department, but they also secured a $35,800 Settlement from the City of Calexico in a Federal civil rights case…
Mr. Farias had been driving through the Imperial County town of Calexico in late January, 2010, when Officer Alcaraz pulled Mr. Farias over for an alleged traffic violation. After receiving consent to search the back seat of the vehicle, Officer Alcaraz observed Mr. Farias’ shotgun – which was being transported unloaded and exposed on the back seat – and arrested Mr. Farias for an alleged violation of Penal Code section 12025 (a statute criminalizing the unlicensed carry of a concealed handgun). Mr. Farias spent 9 hours in the Imperial County Jail before bailing out and contacting The Calguns Foundation to assist in his defense.
With the aid of Foundation attorney Jason Davis of the law firm Davis and Associates, the criminal case against Mr. Farias was eventually rejected by the District Attorney’s Office. Not only did the DA not pursue criminal action against Mr. Farias, but Davis successfully obtained a rare Finding of Factual Innocence for Mr. Farias, which means that “no person of ordinary care and prudence [would] believe or conscientiously entertain any honest and strong suspicion that the person arrested [or acquitted] is guilty.” Mr. Farias then sued in Federal court to seek recovery of damages and mandate proper training, claiming that that the arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights, among others.
As part of the settlement agreement, the City of Calexico paid Mr. Farias $35,800 and instituted a training program on criminal laws pertaining to firearms. The training bulletin, drafted by Mr. Davis and available for download at this link, and covers topics of search and seizure, loaded firearm laws, unloaded concealed firearm laws, and the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. Significantly, the mandated training program also includes training on the recently passed “Open Carry Ban” bill AB144 and the 116 exemptions under which unloaded open carry remains legal.
The case shows the confusing state in which we find California’s gun laws. While we don’t expect beat cops to be lawyers, we do expect them to know what is and isn’t illegal. The California Legislature is making this increasingly impossible for the State’s law enforcement officers with regard to firearms. Mr. Farias was arrested for doing something that I’ve done countless times: Carrying a shotgun in Imperial County. I do this every September 1st and 2nd hunting doves. As a taxpayer, I don’t expect a police officer to have to stand there at the side of the road, scratching his head, trying to make heads or tails out of the Legislature’s confusing gun laws.