SACRAMENTO (CBS /AP) — The California Assembly approved a bill Monday to prohibit openly carrying unloaded handguns in public after a debate that pitted gun rights proponents against chiefs of police.

The bill, AB144, would make it a misdemeanor to carry an exposed and unloaded gun in a public place, street or vehicle except in some unincorporated areas. It was approved 45-29 largely along party lines and moves to the Senate.

Several states ban openly carrying handguns and at least one applies the ban to unloaded weapons.

The National Rifle Association was one of several groups that opposed the California bill and reportedly plans to sue if it becomes law.

The bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino of La Canada Flintridge, said it will improve public safety. It is supported by the California Police Chiefs Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Families shouldn’t have to fear for their safety if they’re out for a walk and see someone packing a pistol, Portantino said, and police shouldn’t have to answer calls to respond to those fears.

He said a loophole in current law allows people to carry unloaded weapons in public even if they’re carrying ammunition on the same belt.

“You don’t need a handgun to order a cheeseburger,” he said.

Gun rights activists say the bill infringes on their right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Some have been carrying unloaded weapons in public as a political statement, including at a protest in Pasadena last month against the legislation.

“You are disarming our citizens” while doing little to disarm criminals, said Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.

“It is not just the right to keep, it is the right to bear arms,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks.

Backers insisted the bill wasn’t aimed at hunters or others who responsibly exercise their rights, and insisted it would make police and the public safer by reducing armed confrontations.

“This is a public safety issue,” said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles.

The bill was introduced just days after a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The attack sparked a new round of debate over gun violence.

The measure passed Monday by the Assembly was similar to a bill defeated in the California Legislature last year.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments (28)
  1. * says:

    An unloaded gun is useless anyway.

  2. vancehobart says:

    i’ll remember this at election time!!

  3. Tours Martel says:

    The State of California still has no budget, being $26 BILLION in the red, and yet the Assembly has time to deal with an item that has no impact on public safety. Since our legislators have time to waste, I propose that we make them part time with no benefits save when in session. We could pay them part time wages as well, which would help with the budget crisis. A useless act done by worthless people.

  4. 2nd Amenment follower says:

    These the same police chiefs who say that it’s not the police’s job to protect the citizens from criminals and yet they refuse to let the citizens try and protect themselves. The police are a reactionary force at best and a frickin’ joke at worst.
    Why do the police stop the public every they try and protect themselves? Because they know that the public is better at self protection than they are.

  5. Joe says:

    Tours you are 100% right. Get these idoiots to do some real work. Who cares if people carry an unloded gun around. Fire all the legislators and have some business people fill in for awhile and I bet we would get the job done just as well.

  6. five oh says:

    Chiefs support this. working cops, we DON’T. I carry everywhere, you should too.

    1. Robin SC says:

      five oh, you’re OUR kind of COP!!!! God Bless you and all like you!!! If I could, I’d by you a beer!!!

      1. Bodrie says:

        Of course if you do buy him a beer, you’ll both have to check your guns at the door. More Kallifornya law you know.


  7. Ted says:

    It does voilate constitutional right to bear arm. For sure it will be chellanged and voided in the court down the road. Law makers need to concentrate on the reals issues of states budgets and revenues sources etc….

  8. Bill says:

    Why should law abiding citizens have all their rights taken away when the people who break the laws don’t care. This is absolutely 180 degrees wrong. Let all law abiding citizens carry firearms, even concealed weapons like in many other states. If like other states, it would lower the number of crimes.

  9. cliff says:

    its all good people…the anti gun lobby basically just shot themselves in the foot. because UOC is banned, they will have to allow CCW which is what we need more than UOC! its a blessing in disguise…visit or the CRPA for more info…dont let them infringe on your right to self defense!

  10. Jack says:

    Last year I owed the State of California a whopping $136.00 for unpaid tax. Instead of taking the money from the return I received this year, they demanded the money be paid within 15 days. This was last September. I received an additional notice in December. The notice I did not receive was in January of 2011, Which stated that an additional collection fee of $170.00 would be added.
    Right now I am on sick leave waiting for approval from Workman’s Comp and am not making nearly as much as I usually do. The State garnished my wages for the back tax, the $170.00 collection fee plus an additional $80.00 administrative fee from my employer. They snaked $369.00 from my pay check and the rest form my tax return. I informed them that I never received the notice that stated that an additional $170.00 collection fee would be added and I requested that they repay me the additional $250.00 that I was FORCED to pay so that they could get thier $140.00 (interest included) that I owed. I believe that this was done purposely due to the states budget. This story about unloaded weapons reafirms the fact that our tax money is being stolen by the people whom we elected to represent us. While the state is busy trying to impose new laws that create controversy and make headlines, other, lower profile laws are being passed at the same time, such as laws reguarding tax collection for example. I think we should give the government back to the people, fire the “lawmmakers’ and have monthly elections to vote on the bills or laws that are being passed contrary to the wishes of the majority.

    1. American Heretic says:

      The fix is easy. Move to Reno, Incline Village, Stateline, or Vegas. You are just a few miles over the stateline and Nevada has no state income taxes.

      Just say no. Vote with your feet. Leave the cesspool to the turds that run it. As the tax base contunues to shrink, they will get the message.

  11. Biker says:

    This is absolute BS and is the only reason I’m ashamed to be called a Californian. They better not even think about taking away my rights to carry a knife in public.

    God I can’t wait to get out of this hell hole of a state!

  12. Biker says:

    Check out this site and sign the petition.

  13. Dan says:

    So you cant carry a concealed weapon, you cant carry an unloaded weapon, and you cant carry an un-concealed weapon. How are we supposed to get to the shooting range????

  14. Nazi gun laws were for "public safety" also! says:

    After a stabbing, there will be calls to take all the knives out of all our kitchens and “ban knives for public safety!” Then, they will ban demonstrations and street protests, allegedly for public safety.

    Idiots! That’s why it is in the Constitution! – so politicians CANT ban it under the guise of “safety!” The Nazi gun laws were allegedly for “public safety” also!

    Europe doesn’t have a second amendment, and they have had two world wars in the past century. Mexico has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. So does Libya. And Iran. And China. And North Korea. Any questions? On the other hand, Switzerland requires every home to have an automatic “assault” weapon. They have some of the lowest crime in the world, and one of the only countries Hitler did not invade in WWII.

  15. mike says:

    what a joke, I left California because of stupid a$$ laws like this. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The only thing it does is keep law abiding citizens from possibly protecting themselves from criminals who WILL be armed and loaded, regardless what laws are written.

    1. Bob N says:

      I can see that this stupid decision is solidifying our dislike for ANY current California lawmaker no matter what or where they are ,,,, you politicians that are on our side can thank the jerks that push this stuff through for losing YOUR job also. I cant stand Any politician in our whole country, they are all deaf when it comes to we the people ,,

  16. kruXader says:

    Thomas Jefferson “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

    “People should not fear their government. Government should fear their people.”

  17. Charles Nichols / CNReporter says:

    On the same day, a Federal District judge ruled against a CCW case affirming the right to openly carry a loaded handgun in public, in California.

    That is the second time a District Court judge came to that conclusion in a 9th Circuit District Court. On May 2nd, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also affirmed Open Carry in public.

    The US Supreme Court affirmed Open Carry in both the Heller and McDonald decisions.

    Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-43) stated quite plainly that AB 144 is unconstitutional, and then voted for it.

    Today, the US Supreme Court asked the Maryland Supreme Court why the 2nd Amendment applies only to the home in the Williams v Maryland case in response to a Cert petition from Williams who was sentenced to three years in prison for carrying a loaded gun in public.

    The Maryland Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amendment applies only to the home and criticized US Supreme Court Justice Scalia for a poorly worded decision.

    Any bets on whether or not the five justices who voted for Heller and McDonald are going to agree their decision was poorly worded?

  18. V says:

    Wake up people!!! The Police WILL not be able to protect you when you need them most!!! With city budgets shrinking , EVERYBODY faces the ax! including the Police departments! Another law to take away our ability to protect ourselves when we need too; because the police just can’t be everywhere.
    Take Britain for example the police NOW have to carry guns; why because the criminals have been using them. We do not need to become dependent on the state for our protection. We have the right and RESPONSIBILITY to protect ourselves. Gun control laws do not work when will people wake up to that fact? Those criminals that want guns will have them. Everyday in the news CONVICTED FELON picked up with gun, etc… and THEY by LAW can’t have guns but do. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE PEOPLE!! You and you alone are responsible for your own safety!!

  19. David I says:

    these folks in the state legislature are getting more like Nazi Germany as they have no honor to the rights of the people as protected by the constitution. I hope the Federal Government comes to California to take over the government under marshal law for crimes against the people. Due to the conspiracy of the State Legislatures effort to destroy the rights of the people.

  20. TedBike3000 says:

    I believe the “Open Carry” people have set back gun rights years by their stupid demonstrations (what good is carrying around an unloaded gun?)

  21. G. Freitas says:

    Soon anti gun will have the state of California to themselves alone with all the criminals who don’t care about the law

    1. G.Freitas says:

      correction: Soon anti gun people will have the state of California to themselves alone with all the criminals who don’t care about the law

  22. T. Jackson says:

    I hope victims sue the State of California for not being able to protect them since they took the rights of people being able to protect themselves away.. I would sue the State of California for not providing protection. Since it is the obligation of the State of California to protect the public, its citizens, and tourists and vistors since they pass this law then they ought to be sued for negligence in protecting the public when a person gets shot… The police should be able to get sued for not providing protection… Open Carry gave the weaker people the ability to protect themselves and since that is now taken away they should have the right to sue the State of California, The Police Department and other state agencies for failure to protect their citizens…

  23. FORMER COP says:


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
LIVE: Monday through Friday from 3am – 3pm PST

Watch & Listen LIVE