Law Bans "Open Carry" of Handguns
In a flurry of last-minute signings and vetoes, Governor Jerry Brown on Monday announced the signing into law of Assembly Bill 144, which bans “open carrying” of handguns. Such practice, where residents are allowed to openly and conspicuously possess an unloaded weapon in most public spaces, has been permitted since the state’s inception.
Brown, himself the owner of three guns, said in a statement he was following the request of law enforcement across the state who have complained of having to respond to panicked calls from citizens alarmed by groups gathering in public to legally display weapons, which distracts from more pressing matters. They also say that a chief concern is the tension and possible confrontational situation created when a person sees another carrying a gun and doesn’t know whether or not it’s loaded. “I listened to the California police chiefs,” wrote Brown.
Gun advocates have mixed reactions to the new law. Some, such as Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, believe that a flurry of lawsuits could actually force courts to issue more concealed carry permits by those demanding to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
“The probable outcome is you will have far more people carrying concealed loaded guns as opposed to openly carrying unloaded guns,” Paredes told the Los Angeles Times.
Other groups, such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, took a bleaker view.
“Gov. Brown has now proven that he no more respects freedom and the individual right protected by the Second Amendment than his predecessor,” says a statement by the foundation.
The ban on open carrying of handguns takes effect January 1.
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