I said it before and I’ll say it again, California is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to gun rights. The whole country (minus a few states) is expanding gun rights for law-abiding gun owners (for more on this, click here). But Alas! The Golden State is in retrograde on the 2nd Amendment.
At the end of last year, for example, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 144, which banned the open carry of an unloaded handgun (it was already against the law to carry a loaded handgun). Starting on Jan. 1st of this year, openly carrying a handgun (whether loaded or unloaded) is a misdemeanor offense, with offenders facing up to one year in jail and a potential fine of $1,000.
Now, the mastermind behind AB 144, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), is at it again, and this time he has his eyes set on banning unloaded long guns in public places, as Guns.com reported last week.
The bill he’s proposed, AB 1527, would – like the handgun ban – make it a misdemeanor to carry an unloaded long gun (it’s already illegal to carry a loaded one) in public areas unless one is a licensed hunter or a peace officer.
“Open-carry activists have decided to push the envelope,” Portantino told the Daily Breeze.com. “That’s an alarming sight – to see folks with rifles and shotguns over their shoulders around families.
“Let’s act like reasonable people and make the world safer,” he added. “If you’re carrying a shotgun, you have no business being in a Starbucks.”
Not willing to sit idly by while government lawmakers trample his Second Amendment rights, South Bay resident Charles Nichols grabbed his unloaded 12-gauge Harrington & Richardson shotgun and took to the sun-filled streets of Redondo Beach in protest, this past Monday.
Police eyed Nichols as he marched down to the pier and stopped him once he entered Veterans Park. Citing a city Municipal code banning firearms in public parks (a misdemeanor offense similar to the one for openly carrying a handgun), the officers confiscated Nichols’ gun. He wasn’t arrested, but Police told the Daily Breeze that a criminal complaint was submitted to the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Nichols, the founder of the nonprofit, pro-gun advocacy group, California Right to Carry, has a history of fighting injustice. This past Nov. he filed a lawsuit that sought to overturn a law enacted in 1967 that prohibits carrying a loaded handgun in public (unless one has CCW, which is impossible to get in LA County and surrounding areas).
Unfortunately, earlier this month, a judge in the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles dismissed the suit. His peaceful protest was – in part – a reaction to the ruling and a way to further his case against the city of Redondo Beach.
“I have no choice but to cross the line,” Nichols, a partially disabled engineer told the Daily Breeze. “I need to basically prove that I am violating the law to have standing to bring my lawsuit, and what better way to prove I am violating it.”
“Since California has made it illegal to carry a handgun, I have to carry a shotgun. People should be allowed to defend themselves in public,” he added.
The California Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence weighed in on Nichols’ protest, needless to say they didn’t approve.
“He is endangering the safety the community by pushing a political agenda and putting dangerous firearms into our daily lives,” Sheri Barnett, a spokeswoman for the group, told the Daily Breeze. “He is scaring the community and inciting gun violence.”
Can someone please remind me why I moved to Los Angeles? Thanks in advance.
Photos Courtesy of Sean Hiller / Daily Breeze.com