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CA – GUN CONTROL – California Gun Owners Fight Open-Carry Restrictions

Emboldened by a string of recent favorable federal court rulings, gun rights advocates now aim to overturn California’s longstanding open-carry laws. Two men from rural Northern California counties say they’ve been denied open-carry permits by local authorities and can’t even begin to start the application process because the state doesn’t give sheriffs the necessary forms. They believe California’s laws, which require applicants to demonstrate “good cause,” amount to a de facto ban and note that the state hasn’t issued an open-carry license since the law went into effect in 2012.

On Wednesday, the two men argued in federal court that the public safety laws infringe on their constitutional and “God-given” right to travel and be in public with loaded firearms. “The state has taken a broad-brush approach and banned the right to bear arms,” said Amy Bellantoni, attorney for plaintiffs Mark Baird and Richard Gallardo. The Siskiyou and Shasta county residents sued California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this past April in federal court, claiming the state laws violate the Second and Fourth amendments. Their case, and several others, could impact California and the few remaining states that restrict or prohibit the open carrying of firearms. California is one of five states that prohibit carrying guns in public, as do Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and the District of Columbia. While California law does allow counties with fewer than 200,000 residents to issue open-carry permits, it leaves the decision up to local police chiefs and sheriffs. The plaintiffs say the population requirement is unfair and that the law gives local law enforcement too much discretion. Under the law, local law enforcement “may issue” an open-carry permit if the applicant is of “good moral character” and “good cause” exists.  [full article]

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