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Bill Banning Open Carry of Firearms Passes California State Assembly

The bill would ban Californians from walking around in public with unloaded guns.

A bill that would make it illegal for California residents to openly carry an unloaded firearm in public passed the State Assembly by a vote of 45-29 and will now go to the State Senate.

Current state law bans people from carrying loaded firearms in public, but in the past few years "open carry" advocates who wear unloaded weapons in coffee shops and other public venues have gotten increased attention in California.

The bill, AB 144, was introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, (D-La Canada Flintridge).  If it were passed, violation of the law would be punishable with misdemeanor charges of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, according to Wendy Gordon, a spokeswoman for Portantino.

If the bill passes through the Senate it would then go to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval or veto.

Portantino has said that he introduced the bill at the request of several police advocacy groups.

“Open Carry wastes law enforcement time and resources when they could be out catching bad guys," Portantino wrote in a press release.  "Instead, they are tied up dealing with frantic calls from the public about gun-toting men and women on Main Street, California."

Sam Paredes, the chief lobbyist for the Gun Owners for California group, told Patch in a January interview about the bill, that nobody has ever linked someone practicing open carry of causing a crime.

"It's a symbolic solution to a non-existent problem," Paredes said.

 The bill has the support of the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC).  Lt. Ron Cottingham, the president of PORAC, said in a statement that police officers fear that the sight of an armed person could lead to an unfortunate accident.

“These people work in groups and they are trained on how to confront peace officers.  It is scary for our neighborhoods and businesses,” wrote Cottingham.  “It is not safe, and I fear a horrible accident could happen if something is not done about it.  That is why PORAC supports AB 144.”

Pat Riot May 19, 2011 at 02:38 PM
In the United States, it is not allowed to punish someone for the crimes committed by someone else. For instance, If I were to rob a store, then you cannot legally punish someone else for that crime. To even think that some would do that is a concept that is barbaric. Yet every day someone in the Brady Campaign is pushing for the state government to punish all lawful gun owners for crimes committed by other people. Tell me how that works? If a man robs the store, then the police go and take the cars of everyone in the neighborhood and say, "He used a get-away vehicle, so taking your cars will prevent him from getting away in the future." Is that how it works? What open carry advocate has committed a crime with their unloaded weapon? Which one? Punish HIM, not ME!
John Hancock May 22, 2011 at 02:57 AM
I do not know why it is such a big deal. I live in Arizona and we are allowed to carry loaded weapon exposed or concealed as long as you are not prohibited because of a crime you have committed. I go to wal-mart and see grandmas and grandpas carrying 44 mag on their hips with no problems. Are police officers are understanding and will only take action if you are doing something illegal (Robbing or homicide). I think the california senate should have advertise and let the public know about the law. I guess since California has been such a gun restricting state, the sight of a non-police person carrying a gun on their hips would scare the crap out of them! Personally, I would not carry an unloaded weapon on my side because of the disadvantage it would it would put me in an attack. However, I think if you are on of the good guys you should be carrying it loaded and with the blessing of the police chiefs and sheriffs who swore to defend the constitution!
rmherbert May 26, 2011 at 01:35 AM
seems to me an empty chamber but full magazine constitutes an unloaded firearm.
Alexandro Raymundo May 26, 2011 at 01:46 AM
That would be loaded according to California law.
Rob Lawrence May 26, 2011 at 04:10 PM
I think Pat Riot might actually be a little loaded.

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