Reminder: ‘Open Carry’ panel Thursday in East Bay

open carryI hope as many of you as possible will join us as I moderate a Commonwealth Club of California panel discussion on “Guns in Public: Exploring California’s Open Carry Policy” at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, June 17 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette; tickets cost $12 for club members, $22 for nonmembers and $7 for students with valid ID, and are available online. Please buy in advance, lest we fill up and be turning people away at the door.

Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, who authored AB 1934 to change the law and prohibit open-carry behavior, will be there to defend her bill, as will Karen Arntzen, California chapter services coordinator for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Arguing against Saldana’s bill will be Adnan Shahab, Republican candidate for the 20th Assembly District seat, and Yih-Chau Chang, press secretary for Responsible Citizens of California.

Per the venue’s policy, there’s no ammunition allowed inside.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    If I come I’ll bring my NRA Cap & Pepper Spray. To me, this debate is a waste of money. The Second Amendment was written when we were an agrarian society.
    Openly carrying pistols and rifles on Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, or any other suburban street, is stupid, and can get people killed.

  • Will people be bringing open carry guns… can you bring an open carry sword, spear, pike as well?

  • Educate Yourself/ Defend Yourself

    Wow, an unloaded gun will get people killed? Just like no sex will cause pregnancy right?

    In terms of education the public obviously needs to be educated on safe handling of a gun. There are many items that have the potential to kill, some are dietary, some are physical dangers. There are much more dangerous items than unloaded guns in the hands of responsible citizens.

    We all have the right to defend ourselves in one way or another. A gun is just a defense tool. If we can remove guns from criminals then we all would be safer. Removing them from law abiding is ridiculous. I think the energy would be better served if directed toward crime instead of comfort.

    We educate our children on many items such as sex, drugs, common sense but it is better to hide the safe and responsible uses of firearms? If the only exposure to a firearm is video games, tv and crime then maybe there is good reason why guns are only used for violence. Isn’t it better to teach our kids how to be safe with weapons and the proper uses of a weapon? I teach my kids self defense to help them in case of an emergency. I run emergency plans and drill just in case. I teach my kids about sex and drugs as a prevention to harm. Of course I am going to teach them how to handle weapons because I want them to know what to do in an emergency I do not want them to be a victim and only thinking of guns as a way to kill. Guns can be pointed as a defense without shooting and can detour a crime and stop intruders. Defense with a gun is last resort not first defense.

    Now my question to you is: Do your children know what to do if they find a gun or will it be a toy to them? I can guarantee my guns my children all know are not toys or for games.

    Thinking never teaching our kids about weapons is like thinking we should never talk about drugs and they will be safe. If you choose not to prevent harm to yourself and your children that is your choice but I want to stay alive as long as I can.

    I carry a gun not because I expect to use it; I carry a gun just like I carry my cell phone, just in case.

  • Dale Paris

    Ralph, You are more then welcome to come and find out the TRUTH about Open Carry. Please do.
    Unloaded Open Carry is legal in CA , and it is legal in carry loaded either with a CCW permit, or Loaded Open carry in 40 states.
    In CA it has never been been illegal to carry in puplic, and has only been illegal to carry loaded for 40 years.
    There has NEVER been a case of a legally carried unloaded firearm owner being convicted of a gun crime in CA.
    We have the Right to protect ourselves and our familes not only inside our homes, but also in puplic.
    Please come and find out the Truth.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The comparison to no sex causing pregnancy proves my point. Rape with a foreign object, even though unloaded, is a felony. No, it can’t cause pregnancy.
    I don’t think you would want your wife or daughters subjected to, or threatened by, this without their consent. Neither do most people want to walk streets where people are openly armed, without their consent, because there’s no way of telling if the guns are loaded. Laws permitting open carry need changing.

  • Educate Yourself/ Defend Yourself

    Next we will ask permission to be Black and walk the streets or prior to a protest making sure everybody is comfortable and warm and squishy with it. Freedoms are not meant for comforts they are meant to protect us. Guns are not comfortable to wear they are there just like our consitutional rights for our protections.

    If you agree with taking away all our rights for reasons of comfort than fine that is your choice but that choice is still your freedom. You lose one right for reasons of comfort you just went back to the days of slavery.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    All of our Constitutional Rights have always had logical limitations. Crying FIRE in a crowded theatre falsely may be an exercise in Freedom of Speech, but it will land you in jail. Growing up in a rural area, we had a rifle range in the basement of our school. I learned to shoot a .22 there as a member of our Rifle Club. My Dad was a member of a hunting club. We went hunting for deer with a 30-06 on the first day of hunting season. These were both logical exercises in the 2nd Amendment. Open Carry on streets isn’t logical.

  • John W

    I loved the comparison to unhealthy dietary habits. Classic!. My crummy diet may kill me, but it won’t kill anybody else. When I was in the scouts, and the NRA gave us gun safety training at camp, they always told us there is no such thing as an unloaded gun. Besides, it’s been demonstrated that a Glock can be loaded with the speed of Wyatt Earp drawing in a gunfight. I agree with the Supremes that the second amendment grants the right to own and bear arms. The fact that it was clearly written in the context of the need for a citizen militia in a time when we didn’t have an organized army to fight the Brits doesn’t change that. However, even the conservative court has made it clear that the right is not unlimited. Even in the Wild West, people were often restricted from carrying their pistols around town or into places like bars. When defenders of open carry are asked for an example of armed citizens being helpful outside the home, they always cite a case of a robbery in a Georgia restaurant, where an armed customer apparently shot and killed the robber. Great! Rather than just turn over the money to the robber and catching him later, let’s endanger all the restaurant’s patrons with a gunfight. Keep the Glocks, howitzers or whatever at home, or in the woods for hunting or protection against rattlesnakes and mountain lions.

  • Jim

    Ok, what you all have to remember, is your rights are not taken away all at once, but a piece at a time. Then when one law gets past there are amendments to it, which effect all kinds of other areas.
    This is the way this government works, piece by piece, amendment by amendment.
    John the NRA do not teach there is no such thing as an unloaded gun, but rather “Treat every gun as if it where loaded”.
    See its all in the wording.
    Now some people on here believe in the 2nd amendment, but agree with some of the anti gun laws. Remember people piece by piece. So after Ralph agrees with non open carry, one day he wakes up and is told to hand over all his firearms because it is now illegal to own any in California. Now Ralph can’t take his children or grandchildren hunting with that 30-06.
    Are you all getting what I’m saying here?
    If Clinton and Brady do this international gun treaty, no one in the nation can own a gun.
    At that point people it will be open season for criminals, gangs, terrorists, and other countries to invade.
    Because people thought Oh this isn’t logical.
    Once one law gets past there will be a snow ball effect and we will end up having no guns for hunting.
    If some one wants to open carry, I say let them, it’s a legal gun.
    I don’t feel the need to.
    John talks about when the amendments where wrote and why.
    OK, lets jump forward to Pearl Harbor, Why do you it stopped there. Because they where not only going to fight an army, but an entire nation.
    Same a the swiss, they do there stint in the army, here take your gun home. The only country in Europe in both wars that was never invaded.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Jim, you are correct about the Swiss. My late Father-In-Law was born in Zurich, got a PhD in International Economics, Money & Banking from Yale, and served as an FSO in the State Dept. in Pakistan.
    The reason for continued Swiss success is simple:
    They knew, unlike stupid gringos, that Homeland Security means staying at home, defending the Homeland.
    That’s why they’re secure, while we are in the Decline and Fall of the American Empire.

  • I have a finite number of rights, and I want them all!

    Ralph Hoffmann,
    Do you think that more people have been injured by

    a) A law abiding citizen carrying a handgun (a constitutional right) on Mt Diablo Blvd.


    b) A licensed driver operating a motor vehicle (a privilege) on Mt Diablo Blvd.

    The thing is, anything is dangerous if wielded by untrained hands. My wife burned herself on the grill once. Should we make a law that says no grilling, just so everyone feels safe? Or should I just educate her on the dangers of fire.

    Remember, the constitution, protects your freedom, not your safety. Your military, and your elected officials swear to uphold your freedom, not keep you safe from harm.

  • Greg

    If guns are a danger to public safety, then why allow the police to carry them? If training is an issue, then we’ll get the same training the police have with guns. Most of us meet or surpass that standard already. Politicians have no right to use the bogus argument of making the public feel safe. By that logic they could ban anything. The public has no right to feel safe. Rather, individuals are empowered to make themselves safe. That is the basis of our society and the Second Amendment. We maintain a “free state” (the state of being free) by enforcing and protecting our own freedom.

    Guns for self defense have always been prohibited as a prelude to tyranny and dictatorship. Just check history, or the website of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Therefore, any politician who seeks to ban the carrying of guns, must believe by logical extension in a future dictatorship, and is therefore ineligible to faithfully execute the oath of office to support and defend the Constitution, and should be removed from office.

    Law abiding, gun carrying citizens don’t commit crimes, so by definition are no threat to anyone. Criminals who do pose an immediate danger carry guns all the time. So this law has the dual effect of disarming the law abiding while politically sheltering the danger posed by the criminal. This is of course backwards. This is why AB1934 isn’t a public safety issue. If it were, then the police and the criminals would both be disarmed, for they carry guns all the time. This is about power, and the suppression of rights and the people. This law prohibits the Second Amendment right of self protection, and the First Amendment right to assemble and protest to keep that right.

    Here is how things are going in California. First the carrying of loaded guns was effectively banned. Now the carrying of unloaded guns will be banned. Then the criminals will be empowered to create fear in the public, which will be used by power hungry politicians to make the public feel safe, even though they won’t be, in return for tyrannical new powers. The police will enforce the new order, the criminals will maintain fear in the public, the public will have no means of resistance, and liberty dies. This is what AB 1934 represents.

    Legitimate legislators fear not armed citizenry because they have no plans for illegitimate power. The public knows those politicians support individual rights and so have no fear of legitimate politicians. Only tyrannical politicians fear the public, and fear individual rights, and this is demonstrated by their removal of the only effective means the public has to resist the tyranny, which are firearms. Gun bans like AB1934 are the canary in the coal mine of tyranny.

    It’s the same old choice of Liberty or Tyranny. I choose Liberty.

  • John W

    Jim, I’m not sure what the substantive difference is between my scouting days NRA quote (from 50 or so years ago) and yours. That said, the quote you used, “Treat every gun as if it were loaded.” makes exactly the point we anti-open carry folks (especially law enforcement) are making. In the presence of those strapping one on, civilians and cops alike, must assume: (a) that the thingee is loaded; (b) that the person wearing it may intend to use it; and (c) that the person may not be of sound mind or have the best of intentions.

    As for the slippery slope argument, or boiling frog or whatever metaphor you choose, there’s a basic problem. Laws, rules and regs pertaining to firearms are as as lax (I was going to say, “liberal,” but that might be misconstrued) as they have ever been in my lifetime. Although CA is strict about concealed carry, more states allow it for just about anybody now than I can ever remember; not that I consider that a good thing. Twenty years ago, if somebody had showed up outside a presidential rally wearing a sidearm or an assault-style weapon, loaded or not, they would be swarmed by Secret Service and checked out for mental state. The Supremes have recognized the individual right in the Second Amendment. Laws pertaining to firearms within certain distances of schools have been shot down. You guys are winning, not that I consider that a good thing either. You guys are paranoid, acting as though gun rights have been steadily eroded over the years; when the opposite is true. So, keep pushing. If the idea is to push the envelope as far as you can on the theory that the best defense is a good offense, where does it stop? Kids carrying firearms to school? Taking guns to Raiders games? Gun turrets on top of pickup trucks? The right to have your own nuke in the backyard?

    PS: The sidearm pictured in this blog does look kind of cool. Do they make a squirt gun version of it?

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Regarding our finite number of rights:
    Each carry a serious responsibility, that no amount of training can prevent mistakes leading to death.
    That’s why I support banning Open Carry in Public Areas, except by professional local police. I likewise support raising gasoline taxes to $6 / gallon, as in Europe, to move people to voluntarily use Public Transit, operated by trained professional drivers.

  • Elwood

    Ralph, is it OK to yell “theater” at a crowded fire?

    Josh, I think Ralph is going for my record!