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Calif. Advances Bill To Ban Carrying Unloaded Guns

— The California Assembly has passed a bill that would make it illegal to openly carry a gun in public, even if it is unloaded.

Gun rights groups gather at Gravelly Point across the Potomac River from the nation's capital for an 'Open Carry Rally' April 19, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.
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Above: Gun rights groups gather at Gravelly Point across the Potomac River from the nation's capital for an 'Open Carry Rally' April 19, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.

The bill, AB1934, would make it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed handgun on any public street or in a public place. The bill passed Tuesday on a 41-25 vote and now moves to the Senate.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lori SaldaƱa of San Diego said guns carried in public, even when not loaded, cause a public safety concern in part because gun owners can carry ammunition.

Supporters said police officers called to a scene where a gun was displayed have to treat the situation as a threat.

But opponents said the measure would chip away at the public's right to bear arms and protest peacefully.

Comments

Avatar for user 'slater619'

slater619 | June 1, 2010 at 5:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Sounds good to me. But will the governor sign it?

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Avatar for user 'DanDawson'

DanDawson | June 1, 2010 at 5:52 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I am so saddened for our state today. Our so called "representatives" have just chosen to take away the Second Amendment protections of our constitution from the citizens of our state. And why, for what reason, or because of what threat? Simply because a few people have an irrational fear of seeing firearms in public? Open Carry has been legal in this state for many decades, it has never caused problems, unloaded firearms have not jumped from holsters on their own and opened fire in our communities.

Instead, in our nation where 43 other states allow loaded open carry, crimes have actually been prevented because responsible citizens had firearms carried visibly on their person. I know responsible mothers who choose to openly carry for the protection of themselves and their families. I know political candidates who carry for the same reason. Our United States constitution gives us the right to keep and bear arms, our state constitution mentions our inalienable rights we have that includes "enjoying and defending life and liberty"

AB1934 is a violation of the Second Amendment, it is a violation of Article I, Section 1 of the California Constitution, it is a violation of common sense, and I hope the Governor will not sign it in to law. Even if he does sign it, it is going to cost our state a lot in it's attempt to defend the law in the courts, until the Supreme Court will finally overturn it for violating our right to keep and bear arms.

I ask you, if you are so willing to allow us to give up the protections of the Second Amendment in the state of California so easily, which amendment are you going to give up as easily next? I ask a serious question here, which others are you willing to part with? Freedom of speech and of the press? Right to assemble? Protection from unreasonable search and seizure? Your right to a trial by jury? Which one will you give up next?

I encourage you to review your rights so you will recognized when the next ones are threatened:

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Avatar for user 'philkon'

philkon | June 2, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I respect, and do not question, the constitutional side of your (DanDawson) remarks. However, you left this comment: "it has never caused problems"

Yes, it has caused problem. As stated in the supporters arguments for the bill "police officers called to a scene where a gun was displayed have to treat the situation as a threat." This has happened. Speaking as a retired law-enforcement officer, I consider that a problem.

I see no "common sense" in carrying an unloaded firearm. Unless you use it to hit someone, it has no defensive purpose. If it is supposed to make a potential criminal think twice about confronting you, it will do the same thing to honest people. There is no way for anyone to know if someone with an open-carry weapon is an law-abiding honest citizen - a mentally unbalanced person - or a criminal. So, until I know otherwise, I will have a totally rational concern as to the intentions of any such person doing so.

While I was in law enforcement, I had my life threatened by people who were able to carry out that threat. I was also shot at by criminals. By federal law, I am still allowed to carry a firearm. And yet, I would never wear it where it would be publicly visible because of the worry it would cause honest people.

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Avatar for user 'DanDawson'

DanDawson | June 2, 2010 at 11:31 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Thank you philcon for your thoughtful response, I do appreciate it very much. I'd love to answer your questions or comments.

The idea of "it has never caused problems" I can completely understand your comments on that. Officers responding to something that is not illegal is an interesting topic. If the law clearly defines something as being completely legal, and officers choose to respond to citizen complaints without informing them of it's legality, there obviously is a problem there. People can call the police for all kinds of things... "I see kids walking on the street and I don't like the way they look." as an example. Dispatch will usually query them, ask if they are doing anything that appears to be illegal, and make the decision to whether or not to dispatch officers to the scene. In many departments now, the dispatchers are trained to ask about the "suspect" and if they are simply sitting there drinking coffee, they will notify the caller that it is legal and only respond if requested.

As for the "common sense" and carrying an unloaded firearm, a few thoughts there. The only reason Unloaded Open Carry (UOC) is even an issue is because it is impossible for an ordinary citizen to receive a concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit in most counties of our state. It is also illegal to openly carry a loaded weapon. So, for someone who really wants to protect themselves, and follow the law, Unloaded Open Carry was the only legal option remaining. Yes, it is an unloaded weapon, but the law allows for ammunition to be carried on the person, so it can quickly be loaded if needed.

I for one, for the most part, have no desire to carry an unloaded weapon loaded. I would much prefer to go through the process and receive a CCW permit, but since that is not possible in my county, Unloaded Open Carry remains my only option for those occasions where I want to ensure my own self protection. I too have had my life threatened, along with the life of my wife, and I wished at that moment I had the legal ability to carry a firearm in that instance, but our restrictive firearms laws would not allow me to do so in that instance.

We can't take away constitutional rights from law abiding citizens because a few uninformed citizens aren't aware that the activity is legal. As mentioned, if the concealed carry laws were not so restrictive, this issue on Open Carry would have never arisen. So if a person wants the right to concealed carry, the only way to do it is go through police academy, get hired at a department, and then quit? Is that really what our founding fathers had in mind as a requirement for the right to self protection?

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