California’s legislature has sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill to bar Californians from openly carrying firearms, legislation that could open a new front in the state’s decades-old gun control debate, the Los Angeles Times reports. The measure, aimed at an increasingly popular tactic used by 2nd Amendment activists, would make California the first state since 1987 to outlaw the controversial practice of publicly displaying a weapon.
The governor — a gun owner — has not taken an official position on the bill. He has argued both sides of gun control issues in the past. Existing law allows the open carrying of unloaded firearms. The measure before Brown would thwart activists who stage “open carry” demonstrations and want, ultimately, the right to legally display loaded guns. Such aficionados drew national attention last year when they walked into Starbucks outlets in the Bay Area and elsewhere, pistols holstered on their hips. Open-carry proponents say that the practice is harmless and that California lawmakers are pursuing an agenda to disarm the public.