California lawmaker targets open carrying of long guns in public
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Portantino bill into law on unloaded handguns, and it took effect Jan. 1. That measure was in response to demonstrations by "open-carry" activists where they showed up at coffee shops and other public places wearing their handguns on holsters on their hips.
Some of the same activists have now begun showing up in public with unloaded shotguns and rifles to protest what they see as an erosion of their rights.
“Unfortunately, the open carry community has decided to once again force our hand by escalating their unnecessary activities and entering our communities with AR-15s and other long guns,’’ Portantino said. "I had hoped cooler heads would have prevailed and this law wouldn’t be necessary, obviously that hasn’t been the case and I must once again take action to ensure the safety of our communities.”
Like the ban on open carrying of handguns, the new AB 1527 would provide several exemptions, allowing long guns to be carried in public by hunters, military participants in parades and law enforcement officials.
The measure was denounced by Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, who said it infringes on the freedom of people who carry long guns in public, including those wanting to make a point. "They have that right, as long as they are not breaking the law,'' Paredes said.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: A state lawmaker wants to ban the open carrying in public of unloaded long guns. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times