The Los Angeles City Council is asking its lawyers to review a proposed measure that would give its policy enforcement officers a monopoly on the “open carry” of handguns on city property. The new measure is being sought by the council as a stepping stone for a statewide prohibition on the possession of non-concealed weapons in public, such as those carried in holsters.
In typical knee-jerk form, the council reacted to the assassination of Arizona Federal Judge John Roll in January (an event under-emphasized in the mainstream press and often only briefly delt with in a news blitz that focused on the “attempted slaying of US representative Gabrielle Giffords”) with a call by Councilman Eric Garcetti for a citywide ban on openly carried handguns. However, the city’s attorney’s office was worried about the blatant unconstitutionality of such a code and recommended that only city property be subject to the ban.
On Wednesday, officials asked city attorneys to mull over the feasibility of this suggestion which would affect everything from city offices to parks and harbors. The council also directed its lobbyists to pressure the Legislature to pass Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s (D- La Cañada Flintridge) highly controversial bill that would make carrying exposed handguns in any public place throughout the state a first degree misdemeanor.
Suzanne Verge, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said she is optimistic that Portantino’s bill will pass, providing her the solace she was looking for after the council reduced the restrictions on the municipal ban.
Critics argue that the ban reaches beyond a few gun toting activists attempting to make a political statement (here I’m referring to the respectable folks at the Bay Area Open Carry Movement). They say it would make self-defense outside one’s home an arrestable offense, infringing upon Californians’ constitutional rights.
California is a “may-issue” state for concealed carry permits (CCWs), meaning Sheriffs arbitrarily decide who receives the privilege. As it stands, demand far outstrips the number of permits issued each year and open-carrying is the only practical way residents in more populated areas of the state can exercise their 2nd Amendment right.