California gun advocates rally at state Capitol |

California gun advocates rally at state Capitol

Samantha Young
Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – With guns in holsters and rifles strapped to their chests, Second Amendment activists converged Monday outside California’s Capitol to demonstrate their right to bear arms.

Most of the 50 protesters who gathered brought guns and rifles, although they said their weapons were not loaded to comply with the state’s open-carry law.

“The Second Amendment gives us the right to keep and bear arms,” said rally organizer Kent Sandhagen, who wore a pistol in a leather holster on his hip.

Sandhagen, of Los Banos, said he and other gun owners organized the gathering to coincide with a similar rally in the nation’s capital.

They also were protesting a bill pending in the California Legislature that would ban gun owners from openly carrying unloaded guns in public. One man carried a sign reading “Patriotic legislators do not permit infringement.”

The bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldana of San Diego is scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday. She has described the proposed ban as a public safety issue.

It would make California the fourth state to ban people from wearing guns openly, according to the Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center based in San Francisco.

Ryan Johnston, a 32-year-old mechanic from Sacramento, said he doesn’t make a habitat of carrying his Smith & Wesson rifle in public but made an exception for Monday’s rally.

“It’s more important that other people don’t tell me not to,” Johnston said. “I have a Constitutional right I need to exercise.”

Only gun owners with a concealed-weapons permit can carry a loaded weapon in California, a restriction protesters also argue violates the Second Amendment.

The Saldana bill would not impact concealed-weapons permits. The proposed open-carry ban is backed by the California Police Chiefs Association.

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