Originally published July 23, 2012 at 11:40 a.m., updated July 23, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.
Lori Saldana, former California State Assembly Member, in 2010 she authored legislation to ban the carrying of openly displayed handguns in public.
Alex Kreit Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Former California State Assembly Member Lori Saldaña authored legislation to ban the "open carry" of handguns in public in 2010, meaning handguns cannot be openly displayed.
She told KPBS it was "a matter of public safety."
"Making sure people who were openly carrying unloaded handguns in California were not creating an unsafe situation for people around them," she said.
One of the guns suspect James Holmes used in his alleged mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater is not legal in California: an AR-15 military-style assault rifle. But a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and two Glock pistols authorities say Holmes also used are available for legal purchase in this state.
Although the Constitution's Second Amendment protects the "right of the people to keep and bear arms," Saldaña said that is tempered by the phrase "a well-regulated militia."
"So regulations are appropriate," she said. "We have 50 to 60 gun deaths every day in the United States. So I think when we have these extreme situations as we have in Aurora, people start paying attention."
Alex Kreit, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said there is no empirical evidence to support the argument that if everyone in the Aurora movie theater had been armed, these deaths would not have occurred.
"If you have somebody that's well trained, maybe it's a different situation," he said.
Saldaña said it's often the case that untrained people with guns are more likely to become victims of their own weapons.