A bill that would make it illegal to openly carry a gun in public is advancing through the California legislature.
The bill was approved in committee Tuesday after an emotional debate that pitted law enforcement officers and gun control advocates against gun owners seeking to defend their Second Amendment rights. The Assembly Public Safety Committee passed the bill 4-2 along party lines, sending it to the appropriations committee.
California law allows gun owners to carry a rifle or handgun in a holster in public if it is unloaded. Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldana of San Diego said unloaded guns pose a threat, in part because gun owners are allowed to carry ammunition.
"What I'm concerned about is people who have no training can carry a gun for no other purpose than to make a public statement," Saldana said earlier this month.
Loaded guns can be carried in public only by Californians who have a concealed weapons permit, which would not change under the bill.