CA Right to Carry


Federal Lawsuit Filed against CA Handgun Ban


California Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris will be formally served with a summons in a Federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against California's 1967 law which makes it a crime to openly carry a loaded firearm in public.
"Effective January 1st, 2012 it will become illegal to openly carry an unloaded handgun in California.  It will still be legal to openly carry an unloaded rifle or shotgun and to carry matching ammunition." 

The 1967 law which made it a crime to openly carry a loaded handgun in public was passed to disarm the Black Panther Party whose members had legally carried loaded firearms into the California State Capitol building to protest a bill intended to disarm them.
 As a result of this spur of the moment publicity stunt, the bill was quickly enacted into law.
 In a 1968 opinion by the then Attorney General, the law was not intended to prohibit the rights of law abiding citizens from openly carrying firearms in public, or even to prohibit them from hunting in towns and cities.  The law was intended to disarm the Black Panther Party members.


Since 2005, Democrats in the California legislature have attempted to pass a law which would make it a crime to openly carry an unloaded handgun as well.
 Last year, a bill which would have done just that was passed by both houses of the state legislature but was killed by Republicans, led by former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, literally at the last minute.
 This year the bill to ban openly carried handguns passed by one vote in the Senate and was signed into law, at the last minute, by Governor Brown.

The author of the bill, Democrat Assemblyman Anthony Portantino was repeatedly asked to explain how his bill is constitutional.  He could not.  All he would say is that "You don't need a handgun to buy a cheeseburger."
 Apparently, one does need a rifle or shotgun to buy a cheeseburger as his bill does not prevent long guns from being openly carried in public.
 Mr. Portantino is a former Art Director from Hollywood who has never studied law.  His fellow Assembly member, Mike Gatto (D-43) a self-described Constitutional law expert stated in committee that a ban on handguns is unconstitutional.  Mr. Gatto then proceeded to vote for passage of the bill in committee and on the Assembly floor.
 In 2008, the United States Supreme Court passed its landmark decision which held that individuals have a right to carry a loaded firearm for the purpose of self-defense.
 The High Court held that when firearms are carried in public they must be carried openly.  The Court said that states may ban the carrying of weapons concealed, except for when a person is travelling.
 The Federal lawsuit seeking an injunction against California's unconstitutional ban on openly carrying a loaded firearm for the purpose of self defense was filed in the Federal Central District Court for California.  
 The lawsuit was filed by Charles Nichols, President of as an individual.  Defendants are; Governor Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, the City of Redondo Beach, its police department and its police chief.
 None of the defendants in the case have complied with the court rules to waive service of summons.  As a result, they will be forced by the court to answer the complaint or face default judgement.
 Ironically, the California courts have relied on a 1924 state Supreme Court decision which cited the same case the US Supreme Court did in 2008 - Nunn v Georgia in upholding convictions for carrying weapons concealed.  Both the California and US Supreme Courts have held that a ban on openly carrying a firearm in public is unconstitutional.
 Something Mr. Portantino evidently was not aware of when he stated that his handgun ban is constitutional.
 The case is assigned to Federal Judge S. James Otero.  The docket number is 2:11-cv-09916 and the case number is CV-11-9916 SJO (SS)



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