A controversial bill has been signed into law by California's Governor Brown, banning the open carry of unloaded handguns in public. A person cannot carry them or have them in their vehicle without facing punishment of up to a year in prison and $1,000 fine. When the ban takes effect January 1st, 2012. California will be the 5th state with a ban on open carry, joining; Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.
There are 33 states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Louisiana and Colorado, that do no prohibit open carry. Twelve states, including South Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota and Massachusetts require permits for open carry. There are currently three other states, Alaska, Arizona and Vermont, which allow the carrying of concealed weapons without requiring a permit.
Exempt from the ban and allowed concealed carry will be law enforcement officers, people who have permits issued by sheriff's offices, and vendors selling unloaded guns at gun shows.
C.D. Michel, a civil rights attorney for the National Rifle Association, said the group has a lawsuit challenging the concealed carry licensing system in San Diego. He said the federal judge in the case ruled the system wasn't a violation of the Second Amendment because residents still had the option of unloaded open carry. With this ban going into effect it should make the NRA's case that much stronger. From MercuryNews.com  and Examiner.com .