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State Assembly Approves Ban on Open Carry of Long Guns

Aired 5/4/12 on KPBS News.

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would ban the carrying of unloaded rifles or “long guns” in public.

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would ban the carrying of unloaded rifles or "long guns" in public. Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino said his measure is in response to recent events where gun owners displayed their weapons in public. Those displays came after Portantino's legislation last year that banned the open carry of handguns. The legislator said police have to respond to these protests.

"And when the call goes out, it doesn't say, 'person with an unloaded gun'. It says 'three people getting out of a van on the corner of Third and Main with weapons'. And law enforcement has to roll as if those are loaded because they have no idea until they get there whether they're unloaded or loaded," explained Portantino.

The bill has several exemptions listed, including for law enforcement and for licensed hunters.

Republicans oppose the bill, claiming it violates constitutional rights to free speech and to bear arms.

The measure now moves to the State Senate.

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