The Los Angeles City Council this week backed a proposed state law that would ban the open display of handguns in public, a practice that has been advocated in recent months by the pro-gun “Open Carry” movement. The law, proposed by San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, would most certainly be challenged by gun-rights advocates who often cite the Constitution's right to bear arms.

The council passed a resolution 13-0 endorsing AB 1934. “This is to take on a movement of radical gun advocates,'' Councilman Paul Koretz said. “Right now, you can put an unloaded handgun on one hip, ammunition on the other. It takes as little as two seconds to load it.”

Open Carry movement members sparked the debate earlier this year when they targeted Starbucks, Peet's Coffee & Tea, California Pizza Kitchen as venues to display their weapons and to make the point that the Deep South isn't the only place where gun rights should be observed.

The movement prompted some law enforcement agencies to issue memos to officers with guidance about what to do if they confront an open-carry advocate with an unloaded gun on his hip. Essentially, the practice is legal.

After the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence complained, both Peet's and CPK issued policies banning the open display of firearms in their stores. But Starbucks refused to follow suit, stating in March that “the political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores.”

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.

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