Brown signs bill banning ‘open carry’ of long guns

Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a bill into law extending the state’s ban on “open carry” of unloaded handguns in public places to include rifles and shotguns as well.

AB 1527’s author, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, issued a news release thanking the governor “for recognizing the importance of this public safety measure that will help reduce the threat of gun violence for the public and for law enforcement.

“Open Carry wastes law enforcement time and resources by taking attention away from criminal activity and solving crimes,” Portantino said. “It’s a bad situation for everyone – the police, the gun owner and innocent families who could be injured by this risky and unnecessary brandishing of weapons on Main Street, California.”

The ban on “open carry” of rifles and shotguns will go into effect Jan. 1.

Last year’s AB 144, which took effect Jan. 1, made it illegal to carry an unloaded handgun in any public place or street; law enforcement personnel are exempt as are hunters and others carrying unloaded weapons under specified licensed circumstances. Supporters had said open-carry practices should be banned for the sake of public safety, and to protect the safety and conserve the resources of police officers checking to ensure the guns aren’t loaded, in accordance with state law.

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.

Some activists reacted to AB 144’s implementation by organizing public events in which they carried unloaded shotguns or rifles rather than handguns. So Portantino introduced AB 1527 to prohibit this as well; the bill includes exemptions to allow safe transportation, lawful hunting and use by law enforcement officials.

AB 1527 was supported by groups including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Peace Officer Research Association of California and the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; it’s opposed by groups including the California Rifle & Pistol Association and the National Rifle Association.

UPDATE @ 2:52 P.M.: Brown vetoed or signed several other firearms bills today.

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.

  • Bit by bit, we watch our constitution rights being dismantled, yet we still keep voting these same people back into office year after year. California – Wake up!

  • JohnW

    Even Scalia in the Heller ruling made it clear that, while the Second Amendment is interpreted to provide the individual right to bear arms, it is not an unlimited right to carry any type of firearm in any manner, for any purpose or anywhere.

  • Legalgrounds

    Very smart decision by Brown, one of the few.