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Lawmaker's Bill Banning Open Carry of Guns Passes Committee

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada, says the bill closes a loophole that puts Californians at risk.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday voted to approve Anthony Portantino’s bill banning the open carry of handguns.

Current state law bans people from carrying loaded firearms in public, but in the past few years "open carry" advocates who wear unloaded weapons in coffee shops and other public venues have gotten increased attention in California.

AB 144, which passed committee 5-2, makes it illegal to carry an unloaded handgun in any public place or street. Those who are exempt include law enforcement personnel, hunters and others carrying unloaded weapons under specified licensed circumstances.

Last year, despite being passed by both houses in the legislature, similar legislation failed to reach the governor’s desk due to a large number of controversial bills on file at the end of session, said Michael Tamariz, a Portantino spokesman.

"It was more procedural than policy, this issue dying last year,'' he said, noting he doesn't anticipate logistical problems this year.

Of Tuesday's hearing, Portantino said law enforement personnel articulated well the need for legislation that prevents people from sporting an unloaded gun on one hip and bullets on the other.

"This bill closes a loophole that currently puts main street California at risk,'' he said. 

While it is already against the law in California to carry a loaded firearm in public, open carry would allow gun owners to display unloaded weapons. If AB 144  is passed, violation of the law would be punishable with misdemeanor charges of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Law enforcement officials have sought the ban on the open display of firearms for a while, with Portantino taking up the cause with the “open carry” ban. The measure is supported by the California Police Chiefs Association and PORAC – rank and file police officers. Representatives from both groups testified at Tuesday's hearing.

The Los Angeles city council recently voted to support AB 144 and asked the L.A. City Attorney to look into writing a similar law banning open carry handguns in Los Angeles.

The bill will go through another committee for debate and amendments before reaching the full floor and then the senate. There is no set timetable on the bill, but in recent years, most legislation has taken until the end of the legislative session in September to get passed and onto the governor's desk.

Revvell April 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM
*sigh*
Paul Lackey April 21, 2011 at 01:40 AM
Please reasearch what happens when you take away the mystery of whether you might get shot or not if you are committing a crime, usually an assault. See what happens when we give up this constitutional right. Crime has gone down where people can carry their protection openly.
Revvell April 21, 2011 at 03:17 AM
... and concealed. They'll not know IF you're carrying or not and choose to go other places.
Ken Camp April 21, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Sounds like tea bagger melodrama, but this is La Canada/Flintridge, right?
Paul Lackey April 21, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Read what this type of law leads to. First ban carry. Then ban ownership ala China, Australia. Read for yourself before following like sheep tp slaughter. http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=1933
Ken Camp April 21, 2011 at 07:44 PM
I am assuming the "wnd" in the link stands for World Net Daily, one of the worst right wing nut job blogs around . . . ? I live in the violent Northeast L.A. The last thing I need is for the baggy-pants-shaved-head-monster-truck crowd running around with loaded guns everywhere. Sounds real safe and secure. How do you live your life that so many strangers are gunning for you?
True Freedom April 21, 2011 at 08:14 PM
um, Ken, people that you'd have to worry about are those who do not follow the rule of law. By definition, these folks will carry loaded guns regardless of what the law says. So, now.. you'll have armed bad guys and disarmed law abiding citizens.
True Freedom April 21, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Perhaps you could let me know where you live, so I could give your neighbor this yard sign: http://msgboard.snopes.com/photos/signs/graphics/gunsign.jpg
Revvell April 21, 2011 at 08:32 PM
*spews fluid through my nose and all over the keyboard*
Revvell April 21, 2011 at 08:34 PM
".....The last thing I need is for the baggy-pants-shaved-head-monster-truck crowd running around with loaded guns everywhere. " Uh, they already are. Read: "I live in the violent Northeast L.A." Uh, duh!
Ken Camp April 21, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Uh, do you believe Obama was born in America?
Revvell April 21, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I don't "believe" one way or the other. Either he was or he wasn't and ~ doesn't matter to me one way or the other. Do you "believe" only the bad guys should have guns?

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