Being a "may issue" rather than a "shall issue" state when it comes to handing out concealed carry (CCW) permits, the one way that law-abiding citizens in California could still exercise their right to self-defense as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was by carrying their handgun in plain view, usually with the use of a holster on the hip.
Now, California gun owners will no longer be able to openly carry their handgun. Late Sunday night, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 144 into law. As I have been saying: Checkmate. Most Californians are already unable to obtain permission to carry their handgun concealed; now they no longer have the option of carrying openly either. For all intents and purposes, the carrying of handguns in California is now entirely illegal.
I fully expect this newly-signed law to be challenged in court, however, there is the matter of a federal court case that has already been decided, but the basis for the decision has been negated by the signing of AB 144 into law.
In the 2009 case of Richards v. Prieto, Adam Richards sued Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto after Prieto refused Richards' application for a concealed carry permit. The federal district court judge found in favor of Prieto because, after all:
Uh, now what?
"...even if Plaintiffs are denied a concealed weapon license for self-defense purposes from Yolo County, they are still more than free to keep an unloaded weapon nearby their person, load it, and use it for self-defense in circumstances that may occur in a public setting. Yolo County's policy does not substantially burden Plaintiffs' right to bear and keep arms."Translated: Even though Richards got turned down for a CCW permit, he was still free in California to open carry, so quit complaining.
Uh, now what?
In the meantime, Open Carry advocates are not going to give up. AB 144 does not go into effect until January 1, 2012. After that, people will start walking down the street with rifles and shotguns strapped around their shoulder, as AB 144 only applies to handguns.
Anthony Portantino (Democrat, naturally), the legislator who created this noxious bill-turned-law, cited as one of the reasons he wanted AB 144 passed was that some people were "uncomfortable" at the sight of someone with a pistol holstered on their hip. Awwwww.
How would these faint-hearted wimps feel with me walking by them with my SKS 7.62X39mm carbine hanging off my shoulder? That is what this anti-gun madness is coming to.
Since carrying a handgun openly is so visually upsetting, the best thing for the California legislature to do would be to change state law so that we are a "shall issue" rather than a "may issue" state when it comes to issuing CCW permits. Better yet, we could change the law to make California like Vermont, Arizona, and Alaska. In those states, you don't need a permit to carry concealed, let alone openly.
What is the California legislature (and our Governor) so afraid of?
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson