Guns in Public: Exploring California's Open Carry Policy

Guns in Public: Exploring California’s Open Carry Policy

Chief Ken James, Police Chief, Emeryville, CA
Sam Paredes, Executive Director, Gun Owners of California
Professor Franklin Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law and Wolfen Distinguished Scholar, UC Berkeley
John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, SF Chronicle - Moderator

The gun debate is more heated than ever. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled against a sweeping ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., and affirmed an individual's right to self-defense and gun ownership. Numerous analysts believe that this year, the court might be poised to overturn Chicago’s strictest-in-the-nation handgun ban. In a majority of states, law-abiding citizens may openly carry a loaded handgun with no license or permit required. In much of California, it is legal to openly carry firearms as long as they are unloaded and visible.

Open carry policies are now being hotly debated. Here in the Bay Area, in communities such as Walnut Creek and Antioch, open carry groups have been congregating at different locations to demonstrate their right to carry unloaded, unconcealed firearms in public.  Opponents have come out en masse to protest. There is now even a proposed bill that would make it a misdemeanor to openly carry an unloaded handgun in specified public areas.
As the state struggles with what's right - constitutionally and morally - we take a close look at this controversy from many sides. How do you feel about people carrying guns in public places?  Does it matter if they’re loaded or unloaded? Is this a justifiable assertion of second amendment rights or a potential disaster waiting to happen? Should open carry be the law of the land?  

Location: SF Club Office
Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program
Cost: $12 members, $20 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Also know: Part of the Charles Geschke Family Series on the U.S. Constitution in the 21st Century. Photo by Flickr user esc.ape(d). As per building management policy, there are no weapons allowed into the building.