Assemblymember Anthony Portantinoâ€™s public safety measure to expand on last yearâ€™s ban on openly carried handguns, has passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a vote of 4 to 2. AB 1527 would outlaw the â€œopen carryâ€ of unloaded long guns â€“ such as rifles or shotguns â€“ on Main Street, California.
Portantino (D-La CaÃ±ada Flintridge) introduced the legislation at the urging of law enforcement as a follow up to last yearâ€™s successful AB 144, which banned openly carrying an unloaded handgun in public places. â€œLast year, we tried to craft a narrow bill to close a loophole in the hopes that gun enthusiasts would see this as a reasonable public safety measure,â€ commented Portantino. â€œUnfortunately, the Open Carry folks began to carry rifles and other long guns posing a threat to public safety on Main Street — even taking their rifles to a police fundraiser. These actions call out for further legislative controls to protect law enforcement and families before someone is harmed by these unnecessary displays of weapon.â€
AB 1527 expands on the earlier bill and would authorize similar penalties â€“ a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1000 â€“ for individuals who openly carry unloaded long guns in public. In addition provides a similar list of exemptions included in AB 144 to enable safe transportation, lawful hunting, and use by law enforcement officials.
AB 1527 has the support of the California Police Chiefs Association, the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign and the Legal Community against Violence. Portantino was recently recognized by the Police Chiefs Association as legislator of the year for his success in authoring AB 144.
â€œWhen law enforcement professionals ask the legislature to solve a problem, itâ€™s incumbent on us to act. No one wants to read about the unintended consequence of gun proliferation on Main Street â€“ itâ€™s a tragedy that happens far too often. If it means Iâ€™ve got to do it again to make its streets safer for everyday Californians, Iâ€™m honored to do so,â€ concluded Portantino.