Sacramento – Governor Jerry Brown today signed Assemblymember Anthony Portantino's groundbreaking legislation banning the open carry of rifles and shotguns in California's cities.
AB 1527, supported by California Police Chiefs and PORAC which represents rank-and-file police officers, will outlaw the practice of carrying unloaded long guns on the streets and malls of California cities.
"I want to thank Governor Brown for recognizing the importance of this public safety measure that will help reduce the threat of gun violence for the public and for law enforcement," stated Assemblymember Portantino. "Open Carry wastes law enforcement time and resources by taking attention away from criminal activity and solving crimes. It's a bad situation for everyone – the police, the gun owner and innocent families who could be injured by this risky and unnecessary brandishing of weapons on Main Street, California."
AB 1527 makes it a crime to openly carry an unloaded rifle or shotgun in public in incorporated cities. It is a follow-up to Portantino's bill last year banning the open carry of handguns (AB 144). Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Law enforcement personnel are exempt as are hunters and others carrying unloaded weapons under specified licensed circumstances and in most rural areas.
"I had hoped that the earlier measure banning open carry of handguns would solve this problem but when long gun advocates attended a police fundraiser it became clear that there was more work to do. When law enforcement asks the legislature for help because of a public safety risk, I'm going to try to do my best to help them," commented Portantino
Carrying loaded firearms in public is already against the law in California. The dispute came to a head when gun enthusiasts began showing up in coffee shops, restaurants and public beaches with unloaded guns strapped to their hips. This year, some of the same gun enthusiasts started carrying unloaded long guns in public places.
The ban on "open carry" of rifles and shotguns will go into effect January 1, 2013.
Gov. Brown also signed Portantino's AB 1559 that will allow California filmmakers to use certain weapons in their productions and reduce fees for multiple gun purchases by eliminating double or even triple fees for gun purchases on same date and time.