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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.

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Senate may vote Monday on ‘open carry’ bill

A legislative staffer tells me that AB 144 – Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s bill to ban the “open carry” of unloaded firearms in public places – will come up for a California State Senate floor vote this Monday, Aug. 22.

The Assembly passed the bill in May on a 46-29 vote, and opponents have been hard at work this summer trying to bring pressure to bear on individual Senators.

Yih-Chau Chang, spokesman for the pro-open-carry Responsible Citizens of California, in May said there’s a “pretty good chance of seeing it defeated on the Senate floor,” and if not, Gov. Jerry Brown “has supported second amendment rights in the past, so I believe there’s a good chance he wont sign the bill.” If the bill is signed into law, he said, it will face a challenge in court.

AB 144 makes it a crime to openly carry an unloaded handgun in any public place or street. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Law enforcement personnel are exempt as are security guards, hunters and others carrying unloaded weapons under specified licensed circumstances.

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. Opponents 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 checking to ensure the guns aren’t loaded, in accordance with state law.

UPDATE @ 3:25 P.M.: False alarm; looks as if the staffer with whom I spoke earlier today was mistaken. Trent Hager, Portantino’s chief of staff, just emailed me to say AB 144 “will be brought up soon but not next Monday.”

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‘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.

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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.