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'Open Carry' Gun Ban Signed Into Law

The bill prohibits openly carrying unloaded handguns in public—targeting a debate that recently shot through the South Bay.

Editor's Note*: This article was updated Monday at 2:36 p.m. with comments from the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday announced that he has signed two bills affecting the use of firearms in California: Assembly Bill 144 prohibits people from openly carrying unloaded handguns in public, and Assembly Bill 809 requires the state to keep records of rifle sales.

The measure making it illegal to carry an unloaded gun in public targets —in which gun advocates in the area have been displaying firearms in protest of gun control laws.

The group last year toured Hermosa Beach, picking up trash in the community and passing out pamphlets to inform residents about their right to bear arms.

Before the event, the indicating the areas in the city where firearms were restricted, such as near schools and in public parks.

Now openly carrying handguns is prohibited in any public place or street statewide. The new measure exempts law enforcement personnel, security guards, hunters and others licensed to carry unloaded weapons.

The released a statement Monday applauding Brown's decision to sign the "open carry" bill.*

"The Governor has shown common sense and real courage by standing with law enforcement and victims of gun violence to make our communities safer," said Dr. Dallas Stout, President of the California Brady Campaign Chapters, in the statement. "By prohibiting the open carry of guns, we can now take our families to the park or out to eat without the worry of getting shot by some untrained, unscreened, self-appointed vigilante."

Meanwhile, told Patch in an e-mail Monday morning that he has moved out of California "for a state that respects individuals’ fundamental right to self defense." He now lives in Virginia.

Yih-Chau Chang, press secretary for Responsible Citizens of California, a right-to-carry advocacy group, said about 5,000 advocates across the state opposed the legislation sign by Brown.

"We’re disappointed," Chang said. "That’s something we anticipated happening, and we have our game plan in place to challenge the law."

He added that before the new law takes effect Jan. 1 2012, he expects gun advocates to continue carrying unconcealed and unloaded handguns.

Then after the law takes effect, Chang said he expects advocates to carry rifles and shotguns in public, which would remain legal to carry so long as they are not concealed and they are unloaded, he said. 

But "'open carry' wastes law enforcement time and resources when they could be out catching criminals or solving crimes," said Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who authored the open carry bill, in a statement, according to sister site .

"Instead, when officers are called to investigate the display of a weapon on an 'open carry' proponent, it takes their attention away from where it’s needed and puts folks at unnecessary risk," Portantino said.

After signing the firearm laws, Brown released a statement Sunday explaining the importance of Assembly Bill 809.

"Anytime someone purchases a firearm in California, whether a long gun or handgun, their personal information is sent to the Department of Justice for a criminal background check," he said in the statement. "Since the state already retains handgun purchaser information, I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sales of long guns."

What do you think of both gun laws that have passed in California? Do you support them?

keith hart October 11, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Just another example of law abiding citizens rights being taken away. Before long we will be like Britain where it is a crime to possess a firearm. They even put people in jail for defending themselves when attacked in their own home. Just keep giving up your rights because you know the government will always take care of you. Just look at the violent crime rate in gun controlled states.
Todd October 11, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Firearm-related deaths per 100,000 (homicides) in 2001-2002: U.K. - 0.15 France - 0.21 Canada - 0.4 Japan - 0.02 United States - 3.98 source: Cukier and Sidel (2006) The Global Gun Epidemic Now, my math is a little rusty, but I believe the U.S. is a little more than 26 times worse than Britain (where it is a crime to possess a firearm). Hmmm...
Henry Bowman October 12, 2011 at 03:03 AM
That's California to a T: whenever there is friction between citizens and politicians, the politicians' first response is to go straight for oppression of basic freedoms to bring those unruly serfs back into line. And Todd, we no longer fall for the misdirection card, either -- "firearm related deaths" is a metric that means absolutely nothing. The meaningful metric is violent crimes -- deaths and injuries regardless of weapon, when the innocent have been forbidden effective means of self-defense. Crowing about lower "firearms related deaths" is as stupid as crowing about lower "vaccine related deaths" while ignoring stupendous increases in deaths from diseases vaccines would have prevented. And when you look at the actual violent crimes metric, you will discover that our most celebrated modern gun-ban utopia -- England -- has zoomed from a relatively peaceful country to one that now has TWICE the level of violent crime as the US! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html But hey, at least they aren't dying from guns, right? As Archie Bunker once asked, "Would it make you feel better if they fell out of windows?" (Obviously, in your case, it would.)
Todd October 12, 2011 at 07:55 AM
Not-so-clever misdirection. Your article states that the U.K. had a homicide rate (that means people being killed, not just punched, poked, shoved, etc.) of 1.49 per 100,000. Yup, still less than half of the U.S. The article goes to great lengths to compare the U.K. to other E.U. countries, but barely mentions the U.S. It'd be more convincing if somebody used data that was actually relevant and meaningful. Bueller?
Jay October 18, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Todd is a Toad! Keep juming around ribbit-ing your anti constitutional, socialistic views, I'm sure the government will come running to your defense in a split second when you are faced with real danger. Yea Right! We have more people in Hermosa Beach driving recklessly in there jazzy lil sports cars hitting our kids oh and our crossing gaurds than people walking around with unloaded handguns. Obviously causing more harm and damage to the community than peaceful protestors of their basic rights. I dont see you harrasing or even talking about those individuals in your posts. I would think a car is more of a deadly weapon that everyone holds in the palm of their hands on a daily basis, while texting, talkin on the phone, holding their mutt out the drivers window, or even putting on eyeliner while the car is moving. But I guess in your book of statistics that dont count near as much as firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens. Better do some more research and see how many fatalitys there are with vehicles vs. firearms! Damn left wing radicals!

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