SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Police used beanbag rounds to disarm a woman who was carrying a rifle with a mounted scope through a busy business district in Santa Cruz Saturday, police said.

Police said the gun turned out to be a BB gun or pellet rifle, which does not fire bullets.

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Around 2:30 p.m., police began receiving calls about a woman carrying a rifle with a mounted scope in the area of Fair Avenue and Mission Street/Cabrillo Highway, Lt. Warren Barry said.

Police shut down a portion of Mission Street and redirected traffic away from the area, police said.

The woman, who Barry said is in her 30s, was standing next to a motor home and police ordered her to drop the rifle, but she refused.

Barry said officers used less-than-lethal munitions and hit her three times before she dropped the gun. He said the woman did not suffer any major injuries.

“I’m sure she’ll be sore,” Barry said, adding the impact is akin to being hit with a softball.

After the woman was taken into custody, police said they determined the gun was a pellet rifle.

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A psychiatric health unit within the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency is evaluating the woman, police said.

Barry said if she is arrested and charged, it would be on suspicion of delaying police officers in the performance of their duties.

“This portion of Mission Street is part of (state) Highway 1 and it’s a busy business district,” Barry said. “To have someone walking around with what looks like a rifle with a mounted scope caused a great deal of concern.”

Barry said officers did not receive any reports that she pointed the gun at anyone.


In a previous version of this story, it was stated that carrying long-guns was legal in some instances. This is incorrect.  A new law went into effect on 1/1/2013 that also makes carrying unloaded long guns like rifles a crime. We apologize for quoting a 2012 law that only affected hand guns and not the 2013 law. This gun rights association posts legal briefs on the status of laws, and has more detail on the current California statutes for further reading:

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