‘Open carry’ ban bill could pass later today

State Senate Democrats have been scrambling to get enough votes to pass a bill to criminalize the “open carry” of unloaded handguns in public places.

open carryAB 1934 by Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, came up for a floor vote yesterday but fell short of the 21 votes it needed to pass, so it was put on call and brought back up several times through the day – falling one vote short at yesterday’s end, but winning a unanimous vote to reconsider it today.

Adnan Shahab of Fremont, the Republican nominee for the 20th Assembly District seat and an open-carry activist, was in Sacramento watching the votes all day yesterday. He tells me that after yesterday’s session ended, state Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, acceded to pressure to change her vote from “nay” to “aye,” setting the bill up for potential passage later today – possibly much later today, as the state Senate might tackle competing state budget proposals first.

As Shahab and other activists organize calls and faxes to Ducheny’s office, other state Senators are feeling the heat well. Walter Stanley of Livermore, for example, yesterday was organizing “fax bombs” targeting the offices of state Senators Dean Florez, D-Shafter, and Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Chino, to try to convince them to vote against the bill.

The Assembly passed AB 1934 on a 46-30 vote June 1.

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.

UPDATE @ 6:18 P.M.: The bill was called just before 6 p.m. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, acting as the bill’s Senate floor manager, called it “a number one priority for the California Police Chiefs (Association)” and called open carry “a burden on public safety.” The vote was 11 in favor, 10 opposed, with a lot of absentees; DeSaulnier put the bill back on call, so again we wait…

UPDATE @ 9:45 P.M.: Shahab posted this Facebook update a few minutes ago: “Senator DeSaulnier and Assemblymember DeLeon are now pressuring Ducheny to vote for AB 1934. Call Ducheny’s office.”

UPDATE @ 11:30 P.M.: The state Senate has passed AB 1934 on a 21-16 vote; Ducheny voted yes.

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.

  • Joe Dirt

    carring and unloaded gun is not a gun, it is a hammer so they are wanting to ban the carring of hammers! These people are completely insane and need to be placed into protective custody before they cause hurt and harm to themselves as well as others of the people of the united states.

  • AJ

    “Scramble, scramble,” the world’s going to end by the unloaded handguns people carry! Don’t mention the 2nd amendment or we’re all going to die!

  • Advocates of Saldana’s bill say openly bearing unloaded firearms should be banned for the sake of public safety.

    *Well, I would argue that unloaded open carry ammounts to increased public safety. Peace officers have no duty to protect individuals. Self-protection is a personal responsibility. In California, law abiding residents are commonly denied concealed carry permits due to a discriminatory “may-issue” state policy, which fails to provide equal protection under the law. As a result individuals have started to openly bear unloaded firearms for personal protection, which is the best protection offered to California residents’ under the law.

    Advocates of Saldana’s bill also believe that rights should be violated 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.

    *First, officer safety does not trump the individual rights of the people. Most people respect the police because of the job that they have selected for themselves. This is usually because people can relate with the fact that being a peace officer is no easy job and it isn’t a very safe profession (that’s why it’s respectable to be a peace officer). Why are law abiding residents such a threat to law enforcement simply because they have taken the personal responsibility to provide for their own personal protection under the law?

    Penal Code Section 12031 (e) authorizes (not mandates) peace officers to inspect firearms carried in public. There is no requirement in the law that officers “must” do anything, therefore it could never be a drain on public safety resources. You might think a law maker such as Saldana would know the law better. PC 12031 is actually a rasist law passed back in the 60’s designed to disarm the Black Panthers. Now, I am no Black Panther, but I would never support a law that was directed at a specific group of people. If there is a drain on resources than Saldana should be looking to repeal unconstitutional PC 12031 et. seq.


  • John W

    Am surprised but pleased NRA hasn’t squished this like a bug. Will believe it when I see it. When you think about it, freaking people out with open-carry seems like a pretty odd way to get support for more concealed weapons permits.

  • Janet

    I have many very law-abidding friends that are in S.A.S.S. , Cowboy Action Shooting, look it up online, it’s been around for years involving the whole family . They go all over the U.S.A. & the World, to meets at local gun ranges. They have fun re-enacting old cowboy scenarios, with guns of that era & live ammo, shooting at targets. With the passage of this STUPID bill, it would make them all criminals, as they carry unloaded guns in their cowboy holsters during the matches and can only load when they get up to the firing line, and Always with safety officers close at hand. This is just one more unconstitutional law to control people’s lives.

  • John W

    Re: #5

    Janet, with respect, I don’t see how the proposed bill would interfere with your friends’ participation in controlled situations such as these cowboy shoot ’em up fantasy camps [my description].

  • Although AB 1934 received enough votes to pass in the State Senate, Lori Saldana failed to get the Senate amended version of AB 1934 re-confirmed in the State Assembly before the 12 am deadline. AB 1934 is Dead, along with AB 1810 and AB 2358. Oh, and the California plastic bag ban (AB 1998) failed too.

  • John W

    Filled with rage then, Billy Joe reached for his gun to draw. But the stranger drew his gun and fired before he ever saw. As Billy Joe fell to the floor, the crowd all gathered ’round and wondered at his final words.

    Don’t take your guns to town son. Leave your guns at home Bill. Don’t take your guns to town.

    Johnny Cash – “Don’t take your guns to town.”

  • Elwood

    But then you have the 21st century hip hop update:

    “It ain’t no fun if you can’t take your gun!”

  • I’m not sure about what Johnny Cash said but this is what Thomas Jefferson said, “Let your gun be the constant companion of your walks.”

    I like Thomas Jefferson’s advice much better!

  • John W

    Yes, I’m sure TJ would today counsel his nephew to be sure to take his musket when going to Starbucks for his daily caffeine fix.

  • John, I’m not sure about a musket, but at the very least a pistol.

    Regarding post #8 above…

    Imagine if “the stranger” had decided to leave his gun at home during this situation John? Raging Billy Joe, who to me sounds like the aggressor would have just shot “the stranger” and then the crowd of people could have called the police to come take a report. Good thing the stranger had a way of protecting himself from Raging Billy Joe… right?