SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Citing safety concerns, the California Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would make it illegal to openly carry a gun in public, even if it is unloaded.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed handgun on any public street or in a public place. The bill passed on a 41-25 party-line vote and now moves to the Senate.
Under current California law, gun owners can carry a rifle or handgun in a holster in public if it is unloaded.
"How is a police officer supposed to know?" asked Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland. "Why would we put our men and women who protect us and provide security for our community in danger to make that split second decision?"
But opponents said bill AB1934 would chip away at the public's right to bear arms and protest peacefully.
"This is a backhanded, even acute way, of implementing gun control," said Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Biggs. "I assure you that criminals don't worry about this. They have the guns, and they know how to conceal them, how to use them."
"You are making it official that gang members can carry weapons," Assemblyman Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles said to colleagues who would vote against the measure.
Similar open-carry bans exist in Florida, Illinois, Texas and Washington, D.C., according to the Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center based in San Francisco.
The first problem I have with this is that little word "misdemeanor." Either violating this gun law should be a felony, or any gun misdemeanor should result in disqualification to own firearms. How else are we going to weed out the problem gun owners?
Secondly, what's the problem with Assemblyman Jim Nielsen? He says, "I assure you that criminals don't worry about this. They have the guns, and they know how to conceal them, how to use them."
What exactly does that have to do with prohibiting open carry?
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