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SD Police Fear Growing Number of Activists Carrying Guns Openly

Audio

Aired 4/20/09

San Diego police fear there may be a growing number of gun activists who want to carry their weapons openly. The trend is part of a national "open carry" movement keen on exercising gun rights. KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

Last month, about 40 people gathered at Mission Beach wearing unloaded guns on holsters. Panicked beach goers called police but no one was arrested because carrying unloaded firearms is legal in California.

Paul Cooper is an attorney for the police department. He says the practice is dangerous to the public, the people carrying the weapons and to officers.

"We just don't think it's a prudent idea for anyone to walk around openly with an unloaded firearm," Cooper says.

Police think the group is trying to provoke officers. But John Pierce, co-founder of  opencarry.org says that's not the case.

"Is it taunting if a gay couple expresses affection in public? None of these things are taunting. They are educational," says Pierce.

Pierce lives in Virginia and says he carries his gun wherever it is legal. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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