California outlaws open carry of unloaded handguns

Gov. Jerry Brown has outlawed openly carrying unloaded handguns despite heavy resistance from gun enthusiasts.

Though it was already illegal to openly carry loaded handguns, AB 144 expands California’s firearm regulations by nixing people from openly carrying an unloaded handgun outside of a person’s home or vehicle.

AB 144 was approved on October 13, 2011 and became law Jan. 1. Violators could face up to one year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.

The bill does exempt hunting and shooting events and does not apply to those who are given permits to carry concealed weapons by local law enforcement.

Bejan Hejazi, a CSUN senior majoring in psychology, is grateful to have this new law in effect.

“I’m all for it,” Hejazi said. “I think it’s going to make California a lot safer.”

Not many people are in favor of this new law, including Charles Nichols, advocate for gun rights.

Last year, he filed a lawsuit against the state seeking to overturn restrictions on limiting his right to carry a loaded firearm openly in public. Since 1967, California has prohibited citizens from carrying loaded handguns in public.

Nichols is complaining that such state laws violate the Second Amendment, which gives people the right to bear arms.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, the author of AB 144, said the law in no way infringes on gun owners’ rights in a press release.

According to Wendy Gordon, media relations for Portantino’s office, Portantino was backed by law enforcement for this bill to become law.

“We’re not taking anybody’s right to hunt away, or anybody’s right to be a security guard, or to protect your home.” Portantino told the californiawatch.org. “But you don’t need a gun to buy a cheeseburger or to buy a cup of coffee.

Scott Vanscoy, Captain of Police Operations at CSUN, said there will not be much of a change here on campus since it was already a felony to carry guns.

“It comes down to safety,” Vanscoy said. “When people are usually targeting someone they tend to not be trained properly when using a gun and could hurt someone else.”

Open carry of unloaded long guns, such as shotguns and rifles, is still legal within California according to californiaopencarry.org.

“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,” said Dallas Stout, president of the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement.

The Brady Campaign, which sponsored the legislation, is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence and said that California joins Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas as the only states to ban openly carrying handguns.

The National Riffle Association hoped AB 144 would not see the light of day. Since it has, they are trying other avenues for people who believe strongly in the Second Amendment, said a representative of the NRA, who wished to remain anonymous.

The representative said since the law is in effect they can start going to court regarding the conceal carry law and try to make it easier for citizens to get a license.

“Our next goal will be to extend this new law to long barreled guns, such as shotguns and rifles,” said Gordon.

  • MrChuckster007

    What part of “…the right of the people to keep (to own) and bear (carry) arms, shall not be infringed” does Governor Jerry Brown and the CA Legislature not understand? News flash Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, the Second Amendment is not meant to protect our right to hunt or be an armed security guard. Rather, it is intended to protect “We the people” against criminals and tyrants, like Governor Jerry Brown, the CA Legislature and you.

  • Actually, the leadership of the National Rifle Association was hoping the bill would pass because they believe that its enactment would improve the chances of their Federal lawsuit which seeks permits to carry handguns concealed.

    The problem with that logic is that the US Supreme Court has said that states may ban concealed carry.  Open Carry is the constitutionally protected manner of carrying a firearm in public.  California has unconstitutional laws banning Open Carry and Constitutional laws requiring permits to carry a handgun concealed.  The NRA will lose its concealed carry on Appeal just as it lost it before the lower District court.

    http://CaliforniaRightToCarry.org

    • California has unconstitutional laws banning Open Carry and Constitutional laws requiring permits to carry a handgun concealed.  The NRA will lose its concealed carry on Appeal just as it lost it before the lower District court.

      Not quite. The thinking is that if the State bans all forms of open carry, then the CCW laws must be converted from May Issue (i.e. Bribe The Sheriff By Contributing To The Reelection Campaign) to Shall Issue because May Issue + No Open Carry is an unconstitutionally heavy burden on and infringement of the Right to bear arms. The combination is what is unconstitutional.

    • bubbatron

      N.R.A. has done nothing for us here in ca. Well, they ask for money at every gun event,thats allowed,here. PFFFF!!!! They have the police covered,though!!!! Thats B.S. Here in So. cal. the laws are made for the local druggie, unemployed,food stamp abuser!!!! But,they have $$$ for guns!!! We have to wait to get home to get shot @@@@@!!!!!! Thanks Jerry Brown-Nose!!!! N.R.A., and all your buddies!!! N.R.A. is an old boys network thats been corrupted!!! They do nothing to protect the average citizen.

    • Kenneth de Leon

      Yeah but try and get a concealed carry permit. Unless you show up to the interview with evidence that your being stalked by Michael Myers you’ll just be wasting your time and money.

      • Unless you show up to the interview with evidence that your being stalked by Michael Myers…

        …or a receipt for a (large) donation to the Sheriff’s campaign fund.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately the only ones who shouldn’t carry guns will anyways. Honest people will just have to hope there not around.

  • Dallas stout

    Matthew, you could have added a couple more fairly important points: 
    1.  This law passed because law enforcement from across the State pressured the Governor to sign it.  They recognized that it creates an unsafe situation for everyone when anyone could strap a gun on and go downtown.  Of course, we figured this out in the West in the 1880’s when Sheriffs started checking in guns before folks headed into town.
    2.  Had you done a little more research, perhaps on Calguns forum, you would have recognized that majority of gun owners in California did/do NOT support the behaviors of open carry advocates.  This is because every time the open carriers showed up downtown with their guns it reinforced the general public’s widely held views that many gun owners are paranoid nuts.
    3.  Since the Supreme Court ruled several years ago that A) We all do have a right to a gun IN THE HOME for self defense and B) that sensible restrictions to guns are PERFECTLY LEGAL, just like any other product, the NRA and Pro gun lobby has LOST over 300 cases claiming supposed rights have been infringed.  This includes very recent cases in Maryland, DC, and even here in California.

    •  

      They recognized that it creates an unsafe situation for everyone when anyone could strap a gun on and go downtown.

      Oh, nonsense. Please point to the problems occurring in other states where loaded open carry is not against the law.

      • Dallas stout

        Apparently, what may or may not be going on in other States didn’t matter so much to the Law Enforcement of our State because they spoke loud and clear about their opinion on this silly behavior.

        • …so you’re saying that the law was based on phobia and prejudice rather than rational evaluation of objective evidence about whether or not there actually was any risk?

          • Dallas stout

            No, I’m saying my opionion doesn’t matter.  If you would like to know why Law Enforcement from across the State advocated for the passing of this law, you ought to ask them.

          • You said “They recognized that it creates an unsafe situation for everyone when anyone could strap a gun on and go downtown.” Was this your opinion or were you relating one reason for their supporting this law?

          • It wasn’t law enforcement across the state that advocated for the passing of the law. It was the Police Chiefs Association (Union), without the input of the police who actually patrol our streets. Furthermore, if you were to ask (and I have) many of the police they would disagree with the new law (AB 144).

            Also, if this behavior is so “silly” then why is it that the states and cities with the MOST restrictive gun laws are also the ones with the highest crime rates, while the states and cities with the least restrictive gun laws have the lowest?

            Open carry (even unloaded) allows for two things, the would be criminal to change his mind about committing the crime, and if he doesn’t change their mind it gives the carrier the opportunity to effectively protect themselves and others nearby. How is that “silly”?

  • Dave Bennett

    “A shoot-out is better than a massacre!” David M. Bennett

  • If you have any questions about the CWP or training contact http://www.e2c.us or 1-866-371-6111 and the Instructors at Equip 2 Conceal will be happy to help you.

  • walking around with an unloaded gun is  just like putting dead batteries in you remote

    • Exactly true. However, a lawful firearm owner has had no other option.

    • Not really. I can load, aim and fire in ~2.1 seconds. With a loaded firearm I can draw from concealment, aim and fire in 1.6 seconds. My open carry “load and fire” is about as fast as some lesser trained people concealed carry draw with an already loaded firearm. Besides, I would rather take that extra 2 seconds to get behind cover and load up rather than call police and wait 8.5 minutes(national average response time) for the cops to show up and pick up the pieces. Its not as good as a loaded gun, and nobody wants to carry an unloaded firearm but as the other person said, it was the only choice.

      • Yeah, but you need two hands free to do that. This could be a fatal handicap.

    • Jim

      True, that is why this is being pressed by the open carry movement. The courts will have to decide, and we shall see if the Bill of Rights will outweighs AB 144. Smart money is on the Bill of Rights.

  • 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

    Right. All you need to worry about are the armed criminals, who have now have even less of a check on their behavior.

    Good job, Mr. Stout.

    The Brady Campaign, which sponsored the legislation, is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence

    The Brady Campaign doesn’t give a damn about how many people are assaulted, robbed, raped or murdered, just so long as none of that is done using an icky gun.

    The more California whittles away at lawful carry, the sorer they will be when the Constitution is enforced and those laws are overturned. I, for one, am popping popcorn.

  • Jim

    Open carry of long guns does not make someone an “outlaw”.

  • Mike Stollenwerk

    Actually, AB 144 does NOT ban loaded or unloaded open carry of handguns in unincorporated territories where the County has not banned all discharge.  It continues to amaze me that Califonria gun laws get reported so innacurately.

    • James

      From what I’ve read, open or concealed carry of a long gun is still legal. Am I to understand that I can carry an unloaded, concealed long gun on my person in California?

      • Am I to understand that I can carry an unloaded, concealed long gun on my person in California?

        “Is that a rifle in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

        (Oh, brother. Cue the hoplophobic Markley’s Law jokes in 3… 2… 1…)

        To be serious: yes, but not for much longer. (IANAL, of course.)

  • TruthSeeker7

    “,..-Brady has finally made me safe from criminals with guns”,…Now their will be no “Gun Violence” ever again,.Now I can walk the streets of downtown,with my Gold Rolex proudly displayed””Thanks Brady Campaign”

  • Firearm Instructor

    Right on Howard…..

  • Howard101

    Stupid, stupid,stupid. Those intent on use of firearms for criminal purposes, have never and will never abide by laws. This law will further assure that those who carry firearms outside their homes and business will be criminals, not decent law abiding citizens.
    Duh. Get it Governor?