Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a bill further restricting the open carrying of firearms in California, while vetoing a bill that critics said would have harmed gun stores.
AB7 closes a narrow loophole in California's existing restrictions on openly carrying weapons, the Democratic governor said in announcing his approval.
The measure doesn't ban hunting or shooting in most rural areas. It does make it a misdemeanor to openly carry a rifle or shotgun in unincorporated areas where county supervisors have made it illegal to fire a weapon.
Most counties don't have such bans, and the ban won't affect most areas where shooting is currently allowed including gun ranges, national forests and state property where hunting is permitted.
"This action does not in any way alter the dozens of current provisions of law that allow gun-owners to openly carry long gun in common everyday situations," Brown said in a signing message.
The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gipson of Carson adds to existing legislation banning the open carrying of handguns and long guns. The initial law limiting the open carrying of handguns was passed in 2011 in response to demonstrations by Second Amendment advocates who brought weapons openly into stores and restaurants to protest other restrictions.
Firearms Policy Coalition spokesman Craig DeLuz said the bill is another infringement on law-abiding gun owners.
"How will law-abiding Californians who aren't in a pro-carry county or political donors of a sheriff exercise their constitutionally-enumerated right to bear arms?" he asked in a statement. DeLuz suggested the ban will be overturned if opponents challenge it in court.
The governor continued his mixed record on firearms legislation by vetoing a second bill that would have required more security precautions at gun stores.
State law already requires that gun stores take measures to avoid thefts, and some local governments have enacted tougher ordinances, Brown said in his veto message. He said local authorities should decide what if any extra protections are needed in their areas.
DeLuz praised Brown for vetoing SB464, which he said would have harmed gun dealers and raised costs for gun owners.