Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

California says no to Open Carry

Post by Brian O'Neill on Oct. 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm with 17 Comments »
October 13, 2011 9:12 pm

On Monday California’s governor demonstrated that the federal decree known as the 2nd Amendment is open to interpretation by states.  With Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, California has outlawed the open carrying of firearms in public.

Proponents of the right to bear arms–specifically to do so openly and in public–must now add California as the sixth state to outlaw open carry (not including Washington, D.C.).

The legislation signed by Brown was propelled by concerned citizens as well as anti-gun lobbyists and activists and then serenaded to the governor’s desk by a statewide chorus of police chiefs. But the true authors of this latest and rare setback for 2nd Amendment types are not the usual suspects – the surprising culprits are the open carry advocates themselves.

Check out this excerpt from an article in the Sacramento Bee:

“[Open carry advocates gathered] at San Francisco Bay Area Starbucks outlets last year with pistols on their hips. Police chiefs and sheriffs complained that panicked customers’ calls were diverting them from chasing real criminals.”

What these gun-packing citizens failed to see was an image about as subtle as staring down the barrel of a loaded .357.

The sight of an open armed individual in a cosmopolitan (i.e. liberal) town like San Fran is the equivalent of a VW van with a peace sign on the windshield pulling up to a Texas BBQ. Wrong message.

Thus have the efforts to advocate for open carry in the Golden State fizzled. With the swipe of his pen, Gov. Brown has exercised states rights to legislate this issue out of the coffee shop, out of town and out of California.

I may be a little remiss on my knowledge of federal vs. state’s rights (high school Civics class was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) but I certainly recognize poor marketing when I see it.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. wyecoyote says:


    I believe it is not as clear cut as made out to be. While not an open carry advocate I prefer concealed. My understanding in California they started oc unloaded since CA is a may issue state and unless you’re a major contributor you won’t get a ccw. Also there were a few cases that stated since oc is legal the may issue of ccw is legal and doesn’t violate the second amendment sumarizing the recent judge ruling. My underhh standing is it started as a political protest of the ccw laws. If you are going to say that oc of a unloaded firearm is stupid i agree however that came about due to the black panthers in the 60’s. Also as you may be aware the oc ban is only for handguns they did not extend it to rifles or shotguns.

  2. smokey984 says:

    When one chooses evil guns are always available…weapons legislation is victim disarmament plain and simple. None of these folks were able to defend themselves and the police were minutes away waiting for the 911 call to come in. Criminal was long gone by the time the cops showed up…

    But if i was able or others were able to defend ourselves maybe, just maybe it could have ended differently. Of course we will never know since the absolutely criminal in nature decisions made by California politicians has killed 8…or at the very least they share a portion of the blame, with ultimate responsibility residing with the scum who choose evil.

    This is the type of stuff that makes me wanna vomit…

  3. smokey984 says:

    Apparently only the police can fight fair or fight to win in California…

  4. Brian O'Neill says:

    Concealed weapons permits exist in CA, too.

  5. wyecoyote says:

    Yes ccw does exist in CA. CA though is a may issue state not a shall issue state. I suggest you go to and read some of the problems people run into getting one or never get one. Including firearms instructors who some if not most have more training than officers. In southern CA to get one you better be connected or like Nancy Pelosi an elected official.

    Though I must revise my previous statement about not open carry I do under certain circumstances. 1 when bow hunting I open carry or 2 if my shirt rides up high enough to show. That’s pretty much it for me though.

    Also like I said if one reads some of the comments in CA about the new law it does not extend to rifles or shotguns. Also some like the idea now with it illegal to open carry judges cannot use that as an excuse to deny permits for ccw.

  6. smokey984 says:


    If your answer to depriving me of my second amendment rights is a Concealed weapons permit we are gonna just have to agree to disagree brother.

    I don’t remember reading anything in the Second Amendment concerning such thing. I could have sworn it said, ” Shall not be infringed.”

    Its a statistical fact states with the most weapons legislation have higher crime rates.

    The Seal Beach incident absolutely breaks my heart knowing it could have either been prevented or its severity reduced had people the opportunity to practice their second amendment rights.

    And that’s not to take or blame any of the credit on our society’s first responders, but their job, having 1 cop per 2000 citizens on average nationally, is inherently reactive in nature. Meaning they are what we call in the military, “After action guys.”

  7. alindasue says:

    I don’t know…

    It seems to me that if someone around me is going to carry a weapon, I’d rather know about it rather than have it hidden.

  8. Brian, you really need to be a bit more current on the 2nd amendment rights issue when you write these blog posts.

    1. California is a may issue state. But just like every other may issue state, getting a permit (especially down in southern California) is almost impossible. You need to be a) white b) politically connected and c) rich. In northern California it’s a bit better, as it’s at the discretion of each local sheriff.

    2. Each lawsuit that has attempted to turn California into a shall issue state has been denied due to California’s weird open carry statute. The judges rule that since open carry (even if it’s with an UNLOADED gun, as California law requires) still provides the citizen to arm themselves, thus meeting the federal 2nd amendment right. Governor moonbeam might have unwittingly opened the door for a successful lawsuit that finally argues that citizens have no other recourse.

  9. madmike272 says:

    Unusual, but Galdalf and I agree. Having been in law enforcement since 1992, I have no problems with open carry nor CCW, as long as anyone carrying a weapon is A, not a felon, B, trained and C, knows the use of force laws.

  10. Brian O'Neill says:

    No legitimate type of firearms possession in public carries the requirement for training of any kind. If a license that required certification in the appropriate use of force and safe weapons usage were part of the mindset of those advocating for every single ounce of 2nd Amendment protections then we would run out of room for disagreement.

    Drivers have to take a written and practical test to use public roads, but put strap on a firearm and you’re good to go?

    Big disconnect.

  11. Sooo…back in the 1770s, was there certified NRA handgun instructors? Just how did people, manage to go through life carrying a firearm every day of their adult (and younger) lives without accidentally shooting themselves, their families or their neighbors? I know that during medieval times accidentally hacking off of fingers and limbs was a common occurrence, so much so that the local governments had to resort to licensing and certification of everyone that handled sharp and pointy things.

    Or, perhaps, safe handling of sharp pointy things was taught at an early age by adults to their children. Or, as adults they took it upon themselves to learn from others. They sought out training to ensure they could wield those dangerous objects with at least some ability.

    You know to who has the most negligence discharges? Cops, military, and/or firearms instructors. Supposedly highly trained and skilled weapons operators somehow manage to shoot themselves, and others more often than any other segment of society.

    Perhaps I’m not a good representative of society. I grew up around firearms. I went to hunter safety course as a youngster. My father taught me the fundamentals of safe firearms handling at an early age. I spent 20 years in the military where I received further instruction. I have also spent more time on a gun range in a month than most cops spend their entire careers. Recently I attended and received 40 hours of training/certification from Massad Ayoob on both safe handling and course of fire as well as the legal/moral issues surrounding the use of deadly force. My 20 year old daughter also attended (and passed) the class. I’ve brought her up around firearms, continuing a tradition that goes back generations. And when she turns 21 she’ll march down to the local sheriff’s office and apply for her own CPL.

    And all of this without ANY prodding from some government bureaucrat telling me I needed to get some piece of paper before I was given my own CPL.

    My point is, anyone that is serious about carrying a firearm for self defense will also take it upon themselves to receive the training and familiarization, either from a certified instructor, or from others that have done so. I’ve found that just about everyone I’ve met that routinely carries a firearm for self defense does so with the knowledge and forethought of the grave responsibility of what that entails. CPL holders ARE law abiding citizens that have gone through multiple background checks to do so. Are there morons out there? Yup, just like there are morons driving on the highways and byways every single day. Certification by some bureaucrat isn’t going to change that.

  12. Brian O'Neill says:

    Gandalf- You are doing a great job of proving my point. You obviously take firearms seriously and your breadth of experience, and willingness to promote firearms education within your family are to your credit. Unfortunately, those interested in carrying firearms for self defense usually DO NOT take the appropriate training despite the obvious need to do so. These are the people I end up meeting at work who have wind up involved in a reckless endangerment incident or get arrested for unlawful discharge of a firearm.

    I am not sure where you got your stats for negligent firearms handling, but since the military and law enforcement probably account for the vast majority of weapons training in our country it stands to reason that we would have the most mishaps as well. Our firearms scenarios are often purposefully stressful.

  13. wyecoyote says:


    You state that, ” No legitimate type of firearms possession in public carries the requirement for training of any kind.” That depends on the state and even the local gov’t. In Chicago for example one needs classes even to apply to purchase a pistol. Also many states require some sort of training before the issue a cpl/ccw. WA is one of a few states that doesn’t require training but is also one of the oldest that is a shall issue with cpl/ccw. I suggest prior to making a blanket statement as such perhaps you might want to look at some other states requirements.

    Unfortunately, those interested in carrying firearms for self defense usually DO NOT take the appropriate training despite the obvious need to do so.

    I disagree many that I know do train of ten and pay for classes. My wife took several classes before she got her cpl. Even though it isn’t required. I understand from your perspective as an. Officer you run into the worst of the worst and as my family/friends who are Leos state they spend 90% of their time on 10% of the people. There is the other 90% who you don’t deal with on a daily basis. Per, Florida stats less than 1% of ccw holders get in trouble with the law. How many times when you run into a firearm problem is that person a cpl holder?

    Now were obviously getting far off track from the original op. To that I would riterate my prior statement that while now of of a pistol is illegal of of unloaded rifle/shotgun is not. Also many are looking at suing now since prior lawsuits were tossed since of unloaded was legal.

  14. Brian O'Neill says:

    Mr. Coyote,

    One of the points of my column was that each state has the right to choose its own method for dealing with the legal carriage of firearms. That some states require classes is fantastic. That some states choose to ban open carry is their right. However, we live in Washington where both open carry and concealed carry of firearms is permissable with no classes. That is an unfortunate reality that should be remedied by a responsible electorate.

    As to your comment on the law-abiding citizenry who are the CPL license holders, I recall a drive-by shooting incident where the victim was a gang-banger pimp and a prostitute. The suspect was a white collar gentleman, with a CPL, who didn’t appreciate the services that were rendered. He returned to shoot up the hooker’s car. True story.

    So, I really don’t care how low the percentages might be on gun crimes involving CPL holders. One is too many.

  15. I’ll tell ya what, let’s hate all LEOs because one cop on a police force somewhere in washington shot someone by mistake in the last 150 years. After all, one is too many, right? All cops are scum, because of the actions of one.

    Or, let’s call all military baby killers because of Mai Lai. Spit on them at the airports when they return home, and demand they all be tried as war criminals.

    Your broad brush condemnations of society due to the actions of a few is quite alarming.

  16. Brian O'Neill says:

    Gandalf- If you read one comment without reading the string of conversation preceding it, you’re bound to miss the point. Which you did.

    I’m not making broad brush strokes regarding the actions of a few; I’m suggesting that one unnecessary death due to a gun owner’s lack of education and training is one death too many.

  17. leehallfae says:

    *stepping back into this one*

    Concealed Carry Permits are fine, and I have no problem with states that allow openly carried weapons,

    However, my preference would be that those who purchase guns 9or cross bow)
    be required to read Massad Ayoob’s book on self-defense, title is
    In the Gravest Extreme, or something like that, and go, go, go, practice, practice, practice shooting and hitting the target.

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