Months ago we were bombarded by the Brady Campaign's ruthless attempts to ban the open, lawful carry of firearms in public places such as Starbucks. Determined to remain on the outskirts of the debate, the coffee giant chimed in to issue a statement declaring its acceptance and compliance with State law. In California it is quite legal to openly display a firearm as long as the weapon is unloaded and holstered.
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Democratic assembly-woman Lori Saldana of San Diego has authored a bill which would effectively eliminate the open carry of firearms. A shocking twist in the debate over California gun rights, such measures would ultimately remove the ability of Californians to defend themselves from like threats. As many residents and non-residents are aware California is already a “May-Issue” State with regards to concealed carry licensing and now their only means of lawfully carrying a firearm is under attack. While open carry advocates have urged their legislators to make concealed carry and other laws to put those who are scared by the sight of an openly-toted, unloaded firearm at ease, responses from the Assembly have been more reactionary than pro-gun advocates expected.
"What I'm concerned about is people who have no training can carry a gun for no other purpose than to make a public statement," said Saldana. Up until the present all political statements issued have been peaceful. With no other alternatives available, gun owners have adopted the only lawful means of protecting themselves when law enforcement is not readily available to intervene during a forcible felony in progress.
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Law enforcement disagrees with such personal responsibilities; the California Police Chiefs Association has signed on as a sponsor of the bill. Emeryville Police Chief Ken James issued the following statement: "Officers are taught from day one in the academy that guns are a threat... This open carry places officers in a position between a rock and a hard spot.“
The Assembly Committee's Chairman, Tom Ammiano, strongly supports the ban which would make California the fourth State to completely remove open carry.
"Whether a gun is loaded or not, it's still an act of intimidation and bullying," Ammiano said. The fact remains that no law-abiding citizens openly carrying into Starbucks have intimidated or bullied their fellow citizens. The bill appears to stem from paranoia and frightened assumptions, nothing more.
Governor Schwarzenneger has been favorable towards anti-gun measures including Assembly Bill 962 signed six months ago which requires thumbprints and other identification be stored in a database which can be handed over to law enforcement.
Saldana, at a recent news conference, displayed video of citizens loading firearms within seconds. Such video was used to show how quickly one can bring an unloaded firearm into a ready-to-use condition. A rather contradicting piece from the politician who claims independent citizens “have no training.” The application of such skills and training for the greater good, for personal safety and public safety, seems to be irrelevant when the Assembly only considers what someone malicious might do.
The Bill will be considered on Tuesday and is suspected to be tacked on as a part of AB1934.
The Bay Area Open Carry Movement has been “using their First Amendment right to defend their Second Amendment right,” as another blogger put it. Since April 5th they have been calling Saldana's capitol office to protest and reason with her on this issue before gun rights and lawful self-defense in California are all but entirely eliminated.
Lori Saldana, Assembly-Woman of the 76th District [D]
Phone: (916) 319-2076
Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger [R]
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814