California locks and loads tighter gun laws


California — home to Silicon Valley, the permanent tan and, of course, the word “awesome” — has also penned some of the toughest gun possession laws in the United States.

The state Assembly just went one notch further by banning the open display of rifles and shotguns in public. If Gov. Jerry Brown signs AB 1527, it would forbid the “open carrying” of firearms — including handguns, rifles and shotguns — except for current and former law enforcement, hunters, and those in the gun business.

The law does not ban the display of unloaded rifles and shotguns while being transported, manufactured or sold. So the gun rack in your pickup can stay.

The passage of a similar law last year banning the public display of  handguns stirred opponents to protest by openly carrying rifles and shotguns in public. People got scared, ended up calling police, and responding officers had no way of knowing if guns were loaded or not.

Gun rights supporters say the bill — and other California laws already on the books — are obvious violations of the Second Amendment providing Americans with the right to bear arms.

For many of us who have grown up in big cities stained by gun violence, though, a gun is a scary thing. Their ultimate purpose is to kill, and we’ve seen, heard and cried over their tragic results.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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