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Lawmaker Wants Law to Ban Carrying Unloaded Guns Openly in Public

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A local assemblywoman is looking for support for legislation to stop people from wearing unloaded guns openly in California. The proposed bill will get its first hearing later this month.

— A local assemblywoman is looking for support for legislation to stop people from wearing unloaded guns openly in California. The proposed bill will get its first hearing later this month.

The way the law is written now, a person cannot carry a loaded firearm, concealed or unconcealed. But he can openly carry an unloaded firearm. That gap in the law has spawned a movement called open carry. Open carry advocates have been seen on beaches, streets and at malls in San Diego wearing holsters packed with guns. And Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña says that's frightened families and triggered concern among police that resources are being tied up to determine whether the guns are loaded.

"I would characterize it as a gray area in the law that is creating uncertainty and concerns about private property," Saldaña said.

She is backing legislation that would prohibit people from openly carrying weapons in public places. John Pierce, co-founder of OpenCarry.Org says people would not wear the unloaded guns if California allowed citizens to carry loaded firearms. Pierce says Saldaña is trying to score political points.

"Knowing full well that there is not support for it in the legislature," Pierce said. "The legislature could not even get enough votes to override Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of loaded open carry in unincorporated areas."

Pierce said if a person is open carrying, chances are he's a good guy. The bad guys, he put it, don't carry their weapons on holsters.

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