Pistols
The Governor of California has signed a bill banning the open carry of handguns in the state. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

California governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that bans openly carrying a handgun in the state of California. Properly licensed Californians are still legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun.

Put that thing away

Jerry Brown, the governor of California, recently went on a legislation-signing spree, signing and vetoing more than 100 bills in a single weekend. Among laws such as a ban on selling shark fins was a bill that reversed the California “open carry” law, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Previously, California law permitted citizens to carry a handgun openly if the gun was not loaded. Those who wanted to carry loaded guns had to apply for and be approved for a concealed carry permit. However, since Gov. Brown has signed AB144, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, as of Jan.1, 2012, Californians will have to have a permit to be packing.

Gov. Brown asserts that he is following the recommendations of California law enforcement officials. However, Second Amendment activists contend that openly carrying unloaded handguns doesn’t pose any danger. They also believe having guns in the open reduces the stigma attached to guns.

Loophole to be exploited

The law bans the open carry of handguns but does not ban the carrying of unloaded rifles or shotguns. The Los Angeles Times quotes a Bay Area man who openly carries a pistol as saying that “come Jan.1″ he and others will be “out there carrying unloaded rifles and shotguns.”

Brown also signed a law mandating that the California Department of Justice keep records of all “long-barreled weapons,” such as rifles and shotguns, sold in the state in case any such weapon is used in a crime. He also allocated funding to get guns out of the hands of convicted felons.

AB144 also, according to CBS, imposes a six-month prison sentence or fine of up to $1,000 to anyone caught breaking the law. However, hunters, law enforcement or security personnel and anyone attending a gun show are exempt from the law.

Allowed in most states

According to CBS, there are only five states in the nation which don’t allow the open carrying of firearms. However, it isn’t so much that 45 states in the union simply allow anyone to put a gun on their hip at their pleasure; licenses can be required.

According to OpenCarry.org, a gun advocacy website, only four states permit “Constitutional carry,” or in other words, unrestricted carrying of a loaded firearm in public. Twelve states, including the four that don’t require any license, allow for open carry while on foot or in a vehicle without requiring a license or permit.

Sixteen states allow open carrying without a permit in certain areas and under certain conditions, varying by state and municipality. Seven states and the District of Columbia don’t allow open carry.

Sources

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-brown-guns-20111011,0,5655548.story?track=rss

San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/10/BAHB1LFRO3.DTL&tsp=1

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20118261-503544.html

OpenCarry.org: http://opencarry.org/maps.html

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