Last week the California State Senate passed a bill along strict party lines that would criminalize the open carry of unloaded handguns if it gets signed into law by the governor.
The author of the recently passed bill explicitly intended to go after members of the California Open Carry movement, who attend political rallies and go about their daily lives with unloaded handguns displayed in plain view to promote their 2nd Amendment rights.
Not a single Republican State Senator voted for the bill. It originally passed in the State Assembly last May along party lines, 45 votes to 29. The California Assembly passed it just days after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon, Arizona.
The bill was sold to the public as a necessary means to combat the fear that Californians allegedly feel when they see a fellow citizen openly carrying an unloaded firearm in public. As the Sacramento Bee reported on this gun paranoia issue, State Senator Kevin de Leon claimed:
“This is not the wild west… how discomforting can it be if you walk into a restaurant, to Starbucks, to Mickey D’s, wherever it is that you may go to, and all of a sudden you see someone walking around with a handgun, and you don’t know, can‘t discern if they’re a law enforcement agent.”
The bill also has support from law enforcement officials who claim wasted man hours and tense situations result from citizens calling in complaints about those who openly carry.
Perhaps if they knew it was legal, as it is in many others states, they wouldn’t be so concerned.
The Blaze previously reported on a highly professional, courteous police discussion with an open carry advocate that would seem to indicate California law enforcement is well-equipped to handle open carry as long as the statutes are clear.
Many Republican lawmakers in California haven’t bought the argument that open carry is a public safety threat. State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) already voiced his strong disapproval of the bill when it first passed the Assembly, stating in reference to the 2nd Amendment that “It is not just the right to keep, it is the right to bear arms.”
The bill is now set to go back down from the Senate to the Assembly for minor amendments. But is is not clear if it will ever make it to the governor’s desk. The LA Times reports that a budgetary dispute may keep the bill from passing.Given California’s status as a “may issue” state for concealed carry permits, passage of this most recent gun control bill would effectively ban normal law-abiding citizens from carrying a handgun in the Golden State under any circumstances.
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