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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Portantino Bill Banning Open Carry of Handguns Passes Key Senate Committee

Portantino Bill Banning Open Carry of Handguns Passes Key Senate Committee

by Terry Miller
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Assemblymember Portantino’s Bill Banning “Open Carry” of Handguns Passes Key Senate Committee
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino’s (D-La Cañada Flintridge) legislation to repeal the “open carry” loophole in state law moved a step closer today when the Senate Public Safety Committee voted 4 to 2 to approve Portantino’s AB 144.

AB 144 makes it a crime to openly carry an unloaded handgun in any public place or street. 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.
“When average Californians go to the mall, movies or Starbucks they shouldn’t face tense situations where law enforcement officials are called out to investigate openly carried firearms,” said Portantino. “Our limited resources should not be diverted from real crime situations. Open Carry puts the public in danger as well as law enforcement personnel. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t take a hand gun to buy a cheeseburger.”
After seeing a proliferation of weapons on Main Street California, law enforcement officials sought the ban on these open displays of firearms. Portantino took up the cause and has worked with law enforcement on the “open carry” ban. The measure is supported by the California Police Chiefs Association, PORAC- representing rank-and-file police officers, and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca. The cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are also supporting the bill as is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“Carrying an unloaded gun isn’t as innocent as it seems,” explained Portantino. “It only takes a few seconds to load a gun and fire. This bill makes it less likely that will happen in our streets and in our neighborhoods. I don’t want to read about an incident six months or a year from now and think that we failed to address this problem when we had the chance.”

AB 144 now goes to Senate Appropriations for fiscal consideration.

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