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L.A. councilman wants to ban 'open carry' handguns

January 21, 2011 |  2:40 pm

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti moved Friday to ban "open carry" handguns within the city limits.

Under current state law, residents can openly carry legally owned handguns that are unloaded and kept in a holster. Ammunition may be carried separately on the holster.

That state law has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of several recent high-profile shooting incidents, especially the Jan. 8 rampage in Tucson that left six dead and critically injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Garcetti submitted what he called a "common sense" motion that asks his council colleagues to approve such a ban. In practice, the measure would restrict the carrying of such weapons to authorized law enforcement personnel or holders of concealed weapons permits.

"No one needs a gun on their hip when walking down the street or going to the store," Garcetti said. "The open carry of a handgun can be intimidating and threaten public safety."

In Sacramento, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation that would reverse California law and generally ban the carrying of unloaded, exposed handguns in any public place or street. Under the proposal, violators could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Gun groups, including the National Rifle Assn., opposed a previous effort to change the law, according to a spokesman for Portantino.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles City Council formally backed Portantino’s effort to ban the carrying of exposed and unloaded handguns in public places.

The council is expected to consider Garcetti’s citywide proposal Jan. 28. If approved, the motion would go to the city attorney’s office for drafting of an ordinance banning the open carrying of handguns in Los Angeles.

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-- Patrick J. McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall

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