It’s against the law in California to bring a firearm on a school campus. I’m sure it’s against the law in every state. But at least in California, the one exception to that rule is if the person has a valid concealed carry permit. That’s the law.
But a school district there in California wants one vice principal prosecuted for violating not the law (which he didn’t break), but school district policy, which prohibits all firearms, except for those possessed by law enforcement.
Vice Principal Kent Williams was arrested for carrying a handgun on campus, despite his holding a valid permit to do so. Now, he’s suing them for false arrest. Bakersfield Now reported:
A Tevis Junior High School administrator who was arrested and subsequently released last month after bringing a gun to school has filed a claim against the city of Bakersfield and its police department, according to his attorney Daniel Rodriguez.
Kent Williams, 51, vice principal at the school since 2010, said he was falsely arrested by BPD officers for bringing the handgun to school, because he has a valid concealed-weapons permit and showed it to them before the arrest was made.
“We are a gun-free zone, and that’s a 1,000-feet buffer between us and any folks possessing a firearm,” Panama-Buena Vista Assistant Superintendent Gerrie Kincaid explained.
That’s the basics of a state law, which they originally thought Williams had violated.
He was first arrested on Thursday, and then released, when police consulted with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office and determined Williams falls under an exception in the state rule.
The Gun-Free School Zone Act went on the books in 1995 and prohibits any weapons at schools. But, the law does not apply for “a person holding a valid license to carry the firearm.”
“Me, being a law abiding citizen, that was the first time I had ever been exposed to handcuffs,” Williams said. “I was frightened and scared out of my mind.”
Rodriguez said his client brought the gun to school for safety reasons.
He said several laws were violated by the arrest on behalf of the department, which later released Williams from custody.
Police said it was initially believed that Williams may have violated the California Gun Free Zone Act but said the vice principal likely did not break any laws because of his valid concealed-carry firearms permit, which was issued by Kern County.
The case was forwarded to the district attorney’s office, which said it will not prosecute Williams,
Rodriguez said Williams was arrested without probable cause.
“It was an illegal arrest. They say, ‘Hey, we get a free pass, because we made a mistake. We were ignorant of the law,'” he said. “Ignorance of the law is not a defense. The same goes for the police.”
Williams is now on paid administrative leave following the incident.
His attorney is right. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That’s what civilians hear from police all the time when they break a law they didn’t know even existed. It’s easy to break laws these days, because they’re so numerous. I’m probably breaking a law right now without knowing it.
This was a false arrest. Williams broke no laws. He was arrested without probable cause. If the school district had some rules of its own that Williams violated, that’s between the district and the vice principal, and has nothing to do with the police.