SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he had extended a ban on the open display of handguns in most California cities and towns to include rifles and shotguns.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada-Flintridge, said he wrote AB1527 after gun rights advocates began carrying unloaded long guns to protest a law from last year that prohibited the display of handguns.
The measure will make it a misdemeanor to display an unloaded firearm in a public place. It includes dozens of exemptions for hunters, members of the military, rural Californians, and those bringing their guns to shooting ranges or gunsmiths.
The rifle and shotgun ban sparked lengthy debates in both houses of the Legislature, with Republicans calling it an attempt to infringe on Second Amendment rights.
Opponents, including the National Rifle Association, said the numerous exemptions included in the ban showed that it was unnecessarily restrictive and underscored that long guns are an integral part of American culture.
Supporters noted that it was law enforcement officers who sought the ban, including the state police chiefs association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, which represents local, state and federal law enforcement officers.
Officers said the open display of long guns in coffee shops and city centers was causing alarm because only the owner of the gun can tell whether it is loaded. It is already illegal to openly carry a loaded gun in California.
Portantino said in a statement that he had hoped the ban he carried last year on the open carry of handguns would be sufficient, but after gun rights advocates showed up at a police fundraiser carrying long guns, "it became clear that there was more work to do.”
"I want to thank Governor Brown for recognizing the importance of this public safety measure that will help reduce the threat of gun violence for the public and for law enforcement,” he said.
Brown also vetoed several pieces of gun-related legislation Friday. One of the bills he rejected, SB1366, would have required owners to report stolen or lost firearms to authorities within 48 hours of discovering them missing.
"For the most part, responsible people report the loss or theft of a firearm and irresponsible people do not,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. "I am skeptical that this bill would change these behaviors.”
Another vetoed bill would have allowed law enforcement officers to fine parents whose children break the law by taking BB guns to public places. Brown also rejected AB2460, which would have prevented law enforcement officials and members of the military from selling "unsafe handguns” to the general public.
"This bill takes from law enforcement officers the right to an activity that remains legally available to every private citizen,” Brown said in his veto statement. "I don’t believe this is justified.”