Sawed-Off Shotgun Ban Upheld

California’s ban on “sawed-off shotguns” is constitutional and does not violate the Second Amendment, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Shotguns with an overall length of less than 26 inches does not violate the Second Amendment or equal protection rights, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled in the case of a ButteCounty man convicted of possessing a short-barreled shotgun.

Kenneth W. Brown’s shotgun had a barrel length one-quarter inch longer than the minimum limit of 18 inches for the barrel, but that didn’t save him.  The overall length of the shotgun was one-half inch less than the overall minimum of 26 inches.

Brown argued that the law violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Testimony indicated Brown’s shotgun stock had been cut and then spray-painted.  In addition, the barrel had been cut, according to the testimony.

The shorter the barrel of the shotgun, the wider the spread of pellets it discharges.

Typical shotgun barrels used in combat have barrels of 20 to 26 inches and a pistol grip, according to the court.

The use of sawed off shortguns also makes them easy to conceal under a shirt or jacket and they have an intimidation factor on the street, an expert testified.

Brown was arrested in 2009 by a CHP officer after Brown made an illegal U-turn and became upset about getting a ticket.

He allegedly threatened the officer saying, “I’m gonna blow shit up.”  He later made threats to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles when checking the status of his license by phone, according to the court.

Officers searched his mother’s home, where Brown was living, and a Winchester shotgun with ammunition was found under his bed.  Officers measured it and determined it was shorter than the 26 inch limit and the barrel had been sawed off, according to the court.

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail but it was suspended if Brown completed anger management classes.

Case:  People v. Brown, No. C066262


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