Calif. Lawmakers Take Another Shot at Open-Carry Law

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 AM PDT
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Calif. Lawmakers Take Another Shot at Open-Carry Law

NBC Bay Area

California law lets gun owners carry a rifle or handgun in a holster if it is not loaded.

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The California Senate rejected a bill Monday that would have made it illegal to carry unloaded guns in public, but lawmakers will give the vote one more try.

Monday's 20-16 vote fell one short of the majority needed, but the Senate will reconsider the measure Tuesday.

The bill, AB1934, was introduced after a series of demonstrations by gun-rights organizations during which they encouraged participants to openly carry unloaded weapons. California law lets gun owners carry a rifle or handgun in a holster if it is not loaded.

The legislation would make it a misdemeanor to openly carry a handgun in any public place.

Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, who carried the bill in the Senate, said people often call police when they see weapons in public, not knowing whether they are loaded.

"I do not want to take weapons away from law-abiding citizens," he said. "The Supreme Court has said we can put reasonable controls over handguns, and that's what this is.

"Opponents said the restriction is just the latest attempt to discourage firearms.

"We have something called the Second Amendment, and I believe this bill is unconstitutional," said Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach.

Lawmakers also defeated a bill by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, that would have required owners of rifles and shotguns to register those weapons, similar to the requirement already in place for handguns.

The bill, AB1810, would let police track gun sales and ownership through a state database. It fell three votes short and will be reconsidered on Tuesday.

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