California’s Proposed Open Carry Ban Heads to Senate Floor

CA Assemblymember Anthony PortantinoThe purported goal of AB144, introduced by Assemblymember Anthony J. Portantino (D-Pasadena), is to outlaw unloaded open carry across the state.  The bill was introduced in response to an increasing number of Californians who have been openly carrying unloaded handguns as the only legal means of self-defense in the face of arbitrary and discriminatory denials of concealed carry permits.

But instead of correcting the discriminatory may-issue permitting system, Portantino’s solution is to remove even this limited right from the law-abiding citizens of California.  But AB144 is such a poorly drafted piece of legislation that it will have significant unintended consequences.

Interestingly enough, one of the consequences should AB144 become law will be a real possibility of the courts striking down California’s arbitrary, may-issue concealed carry issuance process.  In two recent court cases, the court cited the availability of open carry as a reason to not strike down the concealed carry process.

In Peruta v. County of San Diego, the court noted that:

Both Chandler and Nunn, the two cases relied upon by the Supreme Court, concerned prohibitions on carrying of concealed weapons where the affected individuals had alternate ways to exercise their Second Amendment rights—by openly carrying those weapons.

And in Richards v. County of Yolo, the court ruled substantially the same way, stating:

In determining whether government action “substantially burdens” a constitutionally-protected right, courts “typically ask whether the restriction leaves open sufficient alternative avenues” for exercising the right.

[E]ven 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.

In both cases, the availability of unloaded open carry allowed the court to determine that sufficient alternative avenues existed for citizens to exercise their right to self-defense.  Once unloaded open carry is no longer available, future challenges will likely find that a may-issue permitting scheme cannot pass constitutional muster.

Another consequence of AB144 will be to force those citizens who wish to exercise their rights to do so by openly carrying long guns, which are not affected by the handgun ban in the bill.  Portantino and those who support AB144 should expect to see shotguns and rifles carried on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and in Starbucks from San Francisco to San Diego if AB 144 passes.

Finally, AB144 is a lengthy complicated mishmash which contains several serious drafting errors, discriminates against off duty police who work as security guards, and creates a complex web of confusing bans and exceptions to handgun carry that neither law enforcement nor the public will be able to understand.

AB144 now heads to the Senate Floor where a democratic majority is expected to pass it, thanks to a parliamentary maneuver which allowed the bill to skip its original schedule of being heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, June 27th.

If the Senate passes the bill, then attention will shift to Governor Brown who will be under intense pressure from California gun owners to veto the bill.


About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
This entry was posted in California, Gun Control, Open Carry, State Laws. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to California’s Proposed Open Carry Ban Heads to Senate Floor

  1. The bill was amended in the Senate, which means it must be voted on again in the Assembly.

    California does not have a pocket veto. Brown will allow the bill to go into law without his veto. That way he can tell opponents of the bill that he never signed it while bragging about its passage to supporters of the bill.

    Jerry Brown has had one foot firmly planted on either side of an issue his entire political life.

  2. Mojavegreen says:

    I don’t care one way or the other. If this bill passes and become law. Then that would pretty much make it impossible for those that can not afford to obtain ccw permits unable to carry. Which would make this law unconstitutional as it would alienate a certain class of people. Should that happen then we need to sue the state for violating and or outright denying us our constitutional right to bear arms. Last time I went to apply for a CCW was in Alameda. The application was a joke. I had to provide a 2 page written essay on why I felt I needed a CCW. Self Preservation was not a valid excuse. I also had to submit to a psychological examination, as well as have a million dollar insurance in the event the pile of donkey dung survived. Which wouldn’t happen lol. The cost on that was $650.00 a month. On the last page was a question that asked, do you plan on donating $500.00 to the sheriff’s re-election campaign. I still have that application and went to open carry instead. Now add all that up and ask yourself, can I afford this permit. If you answered no then it is inhibitave to your constitutional rights. If you say yes. I am happy for you. As you can buy a right that was given to you. Fortunately for the rest of use there is a push to take the responsibility of issuing permits out of the hands of the sheriff and in to the hands of the state. I believe in gun control. But only if that control is directed at convicted felons and those that can not legally posses a firearm and not people like my self that have not desire to go breaking laws. Here is more food for thought. Did you know that SCOTUS has ruled that law enforcement is not under any kind of obligation to protect you. That it is your obligation to provide for your own safety and security. Yep.. Do the research.

    • Starchild says:

      Including a question about donating $500 to the sheriff’s reelection campaign in a concealed carry permit application sounds like a serious legal violation to me. Can you copy and post that page online? I suggest also taking the original to the media. Robert Gammon of the East Bay Express might be a good place to start — he often reports on political malfeasance and such, and has struck me as a serious journalist who would be interested in such a story. I have the paper’s location listed as 1335 Stanford Avenue, Suite 100, Emeryville CA 94608, phone number (510) 879-3700, email .

  3. Mojavegreen says:

    This state needs to do what several states have already done. Which is to do away with all of the bogus requirements for obtaining a permit with the exception of requiring training for laws that govern the use of force and range time. Why did states like AZ do that? Their answer was the cold hard factual truth. THEY CAN NOT PROTECT YOU. They removed all requirements for any one to obtain a permit for a firearm. You can carry open, carry concealed loaded or unloaded what ever tweaks your fancy. Criminals are going to break the laws regardless of how many laws you put on the books. Only fools and absolute morons will think the opposite. As long as you did not fall in to a category of individuals that are forbidden to posses you can carry in that state and a handful of others.

  4. Mojavegreen says:

    Perhaps your views will change the day you dial 911 and get told that were sorry but we can not help you. you should hide until its safe. Which is worse than hearing the recording that says were sorry but all operators are busy now. Please wait and an operator will be with you as soon as possible. Just remember, In an emergency the police are just minutes away. too bad it only takes a nano second to kill your butt while you’re waiting for them. Don’t forget, only us law abiding types obey laws, criminals don’t have to. Sleep tight.

  5. I refuse to give up my ‘GOD GIVEN RIGHTS TO SELF DEFENSE”. I’d rather be a lone wolf than a sheeple. Where are your gonads-people? I always pack mine loaded-what good is an unloaded smokewagon? Criminals never adhere to the law-and if this becomes an illegal law made by corrupt lawmakers-then I become an outlaw. I was on the Menu one am when 5 coyotes decided to play gangbangers (wussies-they never come at u one on one-gangbangers I mean-neither do Lawdogs) and have me for breakfast. Only because I was locked and loaded am I alive today-if my smokewagon was empty-I would not be writing this! I’ve also had 2 encounter’s with mountain lions, 2 sidewinders, 3 bobcats a couple of Black bears. All requiring me to defend myself-so to the the deaf dumb and blind-you’re out of your mind if you think for a second ammendment that I will adhere to ANY illegal law that infringes on my right to self defense. I will lay my life down for FREEDOM!!! If any Law dog decides to take my life-consider me a Rebel, a Marder, a TRUE AMERICAN. Freedom is an individual right given to you by God-not the Government! The G-men cannot and will not take mine from me, not while I breath, and I know I’m good with God on that. If that’s how I end up meeting HIM-then so be it. Time to STAND AND FIGHT!!! Take back your LIBERTIES PEOPLE!! LIVE FREE OR DIE FREE!! KRAZYWOLF!!

    • Big Daddy Joe says:


      I love your post and you could not have said it better brother! I don’t know why sheeple think that the more laws there are on guns, the safer the world will be. A while back my neighbor and her boyfriend got into a physical fight. I could hear him throwing her around the house and her screaming for help. I called 911 and I got put on hold for 3-4 minutes before I even spoke to an operator. It took another 15 minutes for the police to arrive. That was almost 20 minutes before “help” arrived. Her boyfriend went to jail and she bas bruised from head to toe, but lived.

      Now just imagine getting into an altercation with someone with a firearm. Does anyone really believe that they can just pick up the phone and call for “help”? The only defense is to be armed yourself, PERIOD! The problem with this whole deal is these SHEEPLE are so caught up in their everyday lives and are uneducated on what is happening. Nobody knows that these types of bills are trying to be passed. The other half who do know are too stupid to realized that these $h!tbags are going to be armed regardless of how many gun laws there are on the books.

      It is up to real Americans like you and I to stand up for our rights. I am trying to get into law enforcement myself, and getting a charge for “illegaly carrying a firearm”, is only going to hurt my chances of getting into a career that I love. So what do I do, dis-obey the gun law and fight for my constitutional rights, or do I go along with the gun law and forget about my constitutional rights so I may pursue my career and have no arrest record?

      I think I will choose to fight for my constitutional rights. This is the problem, do what they say and you won’t have anything to worry about, or risk losing everything to keep your rights!

  6. Dave Allen says:

    The last time a government threatened the basic liberties of it’s citzens, they constructed guillotines and heads rolled. The difference this time around is the citizens don’t care if they lose their liberties. I’m tired of city boy pretend public servants jamming oppressive dictates down our necks. I live in a rural county in eastern California and as far as I’m concerned, I am not legally bound to obey illegal “laws” dreamed up by self serving idiots. Charleton Heston is still my president!

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