ReasonTV today released an excellent video on the debate over unloaded open carry in California. It features Assemblyman Anthony Portatino (D-Pasadena) who wants to outlaw it, activist Sam Wolank who argues cogently for it, and law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh who serves to give some of the background on the banning of open carry from the 19th century.
Interesting enough, loaded open carry was legal in California until 1967. That was when then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Law which outlawed it. The outlawing of loaded open carry was in response to armed Black Panthers patrolling black neighborhoods while armed. With all due respect to the late Ronald Reagan, this was not his finest hour.
The renewed impetus for this law was the attempted murder of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ). However, as Professor Volokh notes, it doesn’t make good sense to craft comprehensive legislation that deals with rare situations. Obviously, this has not stopped bills like AB144 and its proponent Assemblyman Portatino.