Senate committee OKs ‘open carry’ ban bill

A bill to ban the “open carry” of unloaded handguns in public places was approved by the state Senate Public Safety Committee on a 4-3 vote yesterday.

AB 1934 by Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, earlier this month passed the Assembly on a 46-30, party-line vote. It now moves to the state Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the floor.

Saldana called Tuesday’s vote a crucial test for her legislation, as the state Senate is usually more reluctant to pass public safety measures than the Assembly. “I believe the committee members understand the risk to the public and to law enforcement if this unregulated practice is allowed to continue without putting at least some restrictions in place,” she said in her news release.

Gun-rights activists have seized upon open-carry laws in states across the nation as a means of expressing their political beliefs, acting individually or gathering to carry their weapons both as an exercise of constitutional rights and for self-protection. They say they’re both protecting their rights under current law as well as advocating for changes so that more people can get permits to carry concealed weapons, something that’s sharply limited under current law.

Advocates of Saldana’s bill say open-carry practices should be banned for the sake of public safety, and to protect the safety and conserve the resources of police officers who must check to ensure the guns aren’t loaded in accordance with state law.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office says he hasn’t taken a position on the bill yet.

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.

  • Michael

    Only Democrats are allowed to express their political beliefs. When Republicans do that, it’s called “racism.”

  • Ron

    This will be a great law. This will allow the poor to have a better balance in life with the ability to strike out at the rest of society. They will not need a concealed weapons permit or any need to register there firearm.Being poor means no consequence to your actions. Yes they understand the justice system better than any law abidding person being that they spend most of there time going through the system with good lawyers to protect them.God forbid that an honest ctizen will think they have any rights other to support the scum of CA.

  • John W

    If people want to express political beliefs, make a sign, wear a stupid shirt or give a speech. If they want to protect themselves outside the home, get a taser or can of mace. Those are far more effective and won’t kill innocent bystanders. If they want to just scare people and leave cops uncertain of their intent, by all means, strap on the good old Glock, strut into the coffee shop and show us what a man you are.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The question of whether a business may refuse service
    to a person openly carrying an unloaded firearm is determined by the business establishment and its own rules. most business owners are Republicans. Most businesses have rules prohibiting service to persons openly carrying a firearm. If this Open Carry movement continues, Republican businessmen could change Parties and vote for Democrats. On the other hand, Open Carry persons may actuslly be Democrats conspiring to get business owners to the Democratic Party.

  • Jeff Dunhill

    First of all, as one of the open carriers, let me state that I support my right to defend myself in a time when there are 13,400 convicted felons being released into a depressed economy, at a time where there are already 1000 law enforcement officers laid off. If you don’t think crime will go up, just wait. And when you disarm the citizen, you invite the criminal.

    To John W. – all due respect sir, name ONE open carry meetup which has resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders. I don’t do it to scare people, I do it for self defense only. I don’t choose to be a victim.

    Mr. Hoffmann, again, all due respect, but come on – I’m a registered Republican, but this has nothing to do with political affiliation. This is about your government trying to take away your Constitutional Rights. I won’t stand on the sideline while someone tells me that they know how to run my life better than I do.

  • Does anybody else find it disturbing that Senator Loni Hancock failed to attend the Senate Public Safety Committee, but was still allowed to cast the tie-breaking vote?

    In the Senate Public Safety Committee’s report, unconstitutional Assemblywoman Lori Saldana suggests that ‘open carry’ political rallies (protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution & Article 1, Sec.3(a) of the CA Constitution) are taking place in an effort to normalize firearms carried in a public setting, and that the ‘open carry movement’ in California is growing as a result. Saldana then makes the far-fetched claim that “Their [open carriers] threatening and confrontational conduct intimidates the public.”

    This is perfect example of the lies that come from Saldana and her minions as they look to take our rights away. How exactly would the ‘open carry’ movement be “growing” if participants were “threatening and confrontational” at these political rallies? Why is it that no arrests have been made at these ‘open carry’ gatherings for this type of conduct? Threatening and confrontational behavior with a firearm is illegal you know.

    Saldana says she supports “responsible gun ownership.” What’s more responsible than holing peaceful political rallies to help inform other members in the community about the law and their individual right to keep and BEAR arms for protection?

    And just so everybody is aware, AB1934 is (another) unfunded state mandate that would increase the level of service at the local level(s) from the officer responding on the street, to the prosecution of the individual, to the public defender, to the jury selection, to the county jail, to the probation department. But Lori Saldana says ‘open carry’ is a drain on public safety resources? What a complete joke this woman is!

  • See anti-Saldana open carry ban bill video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgJmg1lVQ7M