California Gun Bill Could Lead to More Concealed Weapons

| by Reason Foundation

By Damon W. Root

The California Assembly has passed a bill that would make it illegal to openly carry firearms in public. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, liberal UCLA law professor Adam Winkler argues that gun control enthusiasts should take a moment to contemplate the unintended consequences of that ban becoming law:

[If] California bans what is called "open carry," the state will probably have to loosen the standards for people to have permits to carry concealed weapons. In California, gun owners can only legally carry a concealed firearm, loaded or unloaded, if they have a permit. And in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, "concealed carry" permits are very difficult to obtain — arguably too difficult, if AB 144 becomes law.

As Winkler explains, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that while the right to bear arms is not absolute, it is nonetheless substantial. And as Winkler puts it, “States may be able to ban people from carrying concealed weapons or prohibit them from carrying them openly, but probably not both.” In other words, if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill into law, expect a number of successful lawsuits challenging the state’s overly restrictive permit process and leading to more legally concealed firearms. Probably not the result most gun control activists had in mind.