In the wake of Jared Loughner's Tucson rampage, California again finds itself staring down the barrel of gun control controversy. Assemblymember Anthony Portantino of La Canada has introduced AB 144, which would end California Open Carry law.
This isn't the first time the legislature has tried to stop California's from openly carrying unloaded weapons in public. A 2010 bill to end the practice made it through the both the Assembly and Senate only to get lost in the shuffle and fail at the last minute to make it Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Debate on the subject has caused public protests with citizens carrying their unloaded weapons into places like Starbuck, which had raised a fus about the practice in their stores.
Paul Mangelos, co-owner of Barnwood Arms in Ripon says his typical customer doesn't openly carry their weapon around. "I see very few of my customers who do the open carry, it's not something we see people walking in a store often open carrying or do I hear them talking about it. Many will go the route to get the CCW, some of them have trouble getting it, but that is the route most people do go."
Nationwide, following an election where conservative candidates backed by the National Rifle Association won major races, backing of 2nd Amendment rights has strengthened. In California, at least two sheriff's, including new Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, have said they want more people to carry firearms and have been issuing more concealed weapons permits.
Steven Guinn of Manteca has a CCW says if more people were legally armed things in Tucson could have turned out differently. "If there's a few hundred people in the audience, if you had even 20 or 30 of those people, not to say it wouldn't have been a big mess anyway and he probably would have killed somebody, but it would have cut the odds down if you have people that have guns."