Courts May Favor New California Gun Rights Push

Monday, 14 Apr 2014 11:43 AM

By Joe Battaglia

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Gun rights activists in California are again pushing for the state to legalize the open carry of unloaded firearms, only this time the courts may be on their side.

Four years ago, a group of gun owners in Northern California tried to sway public opinion on the issue by provocatively carrying their guns at meet-ups at various Starbucks. But gun flaunting backfired as the sight of assembled gun-holders frightened patrons to the point that the Legislature banned open displays of unloaded handguns two years later.

"Fighting to change people's opinions about guns by carrying guns in public is not very productive," Gene Hoffman, chairman of the CalGuns Foundation, told the San Francisco Chronicle.  "Why not just wear a T-shirt saying, 'I'm carrying'? Problem solved."

This time, the battle will be waged in court, where recent rulings have emboldened the push by gun rights activists and angered proponents of gun reform.

According to the Chronicle, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the San Diego County sheriff requiring applicants for concealed-carrying permits to show "good cause" was a violation of their Second Amendment rights.

The court ruled similarly in a Yolo County case last month.

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, believes that based on these rulings, the gun lobby can successfully argue in court that prohibiting open carrying of guns statewide is also a violation of the Second Amendment.

"That's the next logical step in the evolution of gun rights in California," Paredes told The Chronicle.

Cody Jacobs, a staff lawyer with San Francisco's Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, criticized the tactic being taken by Paredes and the GOC.

"The gun lobby can't win this fight through the democratic process, so they are trying to overturn the will of the people through the court," he told the Chronicle, adding "They won't succeed."

According to OpenCarry.org, California, along with Texas, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, New York, and Washington, D.C., are the only states where open carry of unloaded guns is prohibited.

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