Excellent article about Open Carry in California

San Diego Reader has published a very well written article about open carry in California, which is legal as long as the gun is unloaded. The author, Rosa Jurjevics, who had never fired a gun let alone carried openly, met up with a few open carry enthusiast at a boardwalk at Pacific Beach. After giving her a lesson on the legalities of OC and how to deal with the police, they handed her a Ruger Single Six.

Cover Lead T245

Kudos to the Rosa for writing an article that did not portray those who open carry as extremists or agitators, but simply as a group of people who choose to exercise their legal right to carry openly, and who hope that their constitutional right to carry will be recognized in the future.

Hat Tip: Say Uncle

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • AB

    This reminds me of living in Phoenix AZ. I’d wear my weapons home from the range, go shopping, hit the links for a round or two and enjoy myself without having to fret about leaving a potentially dangerous tool in a locked truck. The exceptions were the library and certain establishments that had handy gun cabinets at the front door where you could stash your weapon while you got some reading done.

    I’m glad the author took the time to write such a well written and concise article covering each aspect of the technicalities and legalities facing todays armed citizen. And I’m doubly glad she has knowledge now that guns aren’t scary harbingers of destruction, merely tools to do a job.

    Nice find.

  • Kevan

    Good article, good message. People need to know their rights and be educated in order to exercise/protect them. I just don’t know how comfortable I would be in carrying a wheel gun unloaded, even with a speed loader. But that’s my 2 cents.

  • jdun1911

    I don’t understand why so many people on gun boards are oppose to open carry. I personally think it is a good idea.

  • RCG

    Am I the only one who thinks it is absolute insanity to carry an unloaded gun openly?

    This has nothing to do with rights, it is just nuts! I can’t even conceive of trying such a dumb stunt. Loaded yes, unloaded never.

    • RCG, they can carry ammunition (magazine, speed loader etc) along side the gun.

  • Jay

    Seems foolish to me, because of the 1000 feet rule around schools. 1000 feet is a long way, there are no signs clearly posted, and you become a felon as soon as you step across the threshold. There are a LOT of schools.

  • lisamarie

    What do you think is the best handgun to carry for protection? I’m not crazy about clips, but I guess It just takes getting use to.

  • “gunner”

    along with the folks here you can find good knowledgeable advice here :


    its a forum sponsored by “women & guns” magazine, by and for women, (though they welcome guys as long as we don’t put our boots on the furniture or make messes on the carpet.) sign-up for the forum is free and “newbies” to guns and shooting are welcome.

  • “gunner”

    my advice would be “go shopping” to gun shops in your area and try out various pistols and revolvers to find out what feels comfortable in your hands, and easy to operate. if there is a range/shop that rents guns for on premises shooting try out different calibers, and ask about training if you’re new to guns. pay no mind to “gunshop commandos” who will claim things like “a .45”, or whatever “is too much gun for a woman”. i’ve known women who shoot everything from a .44 magnum on down, and my daughter began shooting my .45 m1911a1 around age 14 though she later bought a “government model” colt in 9mm nato for herself, preferring the lighter recoil. basically defense cartridges run from .38 special up to .45 acp, and like the gun, whatever you’re comfortable shooting is the “best” cartridge for you.

  • Nice article and I applaud the Open Carry Movement in California but I can’t quite get my head around the whole carrying unloaded thing. Seems you would be a target without a means to defend yourself.

    I guess you have to do what you can in that place.

  • Don

    Open carry is a decent political statement but as a strategy for self protection, I think it’s got some flaws. Draws so much attention that the deterrent factor is a side-note. Surprise is the best edge anyone can have in an altercation. I know people have lots of experiences where brandishing has stopped an altercation, but It’s safer for you if the crook hears it before he sees it.

    To me open carry means that if some crook can’t get their hands on a gun by ordinary means, you’re going to get your head caved in with a single blow from a golf club when you’re carrying your groceries to your car or your hands are otherwise full.


    I’m all for not advertising too much. A gun is more appealing to steal than a wallet to most crooks. If they already have one they know if they just shoot you from behind they can have two guns.

    I don’t even put political or gun related stickers on my car. If I’m a crook and I want an easy gun, I’m going to go to a parking lot outside a church or school or some place where guns aren’t allowed and start busting windows and looking in glove compartments whenever I see a McCain-Palin sticker, or an NRA logo, or a military related sticker. If it’s a church you’ve got a solid hour to look if you only do the cars without alarms.

    I totally appreciate the intellectual sentiment for open carry, and bumper stickers for that matter, but it’s all too philosophical for me. I’d rather stick with the practical edge in these matters.


  • PaVuK

    I’m against “Open Carry”. Gun is gun, there is no difference between loaded and unloaded gun. How can another people around recognize it? Visible gun only stress other people around. Man + Gun = Possible threat.

    Why You carry gun? For self-defense or for “HEY! Look at me, I have big bad gun, I’m big bad f*ck*ng cowboy, Looook!… and don’t mess with me!”

    In our country, Open Carry is forbidden and I think that is only good.

  • D

    “What do you think is the best handgun to carry for protection? I’m not crazy about clips, but I guess It just takes getting use to.”


    lisa, here is a website geared around women and self defense. Good information there, hope it helps

  • redmanlaw

    So what if the local gang bangers add open carry to their summer ensamble? Cubic zirconium earring? Check. Wife beater/team jersey? Check. Chain? Check. Low ass pants? Check. Pistola? Check. Is it different when clean cut white guy in a polo shirt openly packs heat? Professional/rancher/LEO-looking Hispanic in pressed oxford and jeans with a revolver? Vacant-eyed kid (young adult) in a Slayer shirt and skateboard carrying? Long haired Indian guy in a black shirt with his Glock or Ruger revolver (yr correspondent here)? Should bans on open carry be part of anti-gang legislation, and if so, how would it be enforced? By neighbord, per profiling, known affiliations?

  • Freiheit

    @lisamarie – What gunner said x 1000.

    Friend of mine is a pistol instructor and regularly has to help his students return or exchange a gun because the gun shop sold them something that was a certain color or on sale instead of the right gun for that person.

    Getting in touch with friends who shoot, a pistol instructor, and a good gun shop are key. Try out as many guns as you can and take notes.

  • jdun1911


    I sure don’t give a damn about liberals. If people wants to open carry that’s find with me. If liberals don’t like it, it’s their problem. My friends open carry just to pissed those f*ckers off.

    With that said, It is very bad practices to carry any firearms unloaded conceal or open. Other then the typical response “it becomes an expensive rock” and “you won’t have a chance to fight back, defend yourself”, which are true.

    There is another risk that your unloaded firearms might get stolen. This can be problematic if criminals knows you carry an unloaded weapon.

    This kind of stupid laws can only happen in CA.

    Don’t carry you firearms unloaded. That’s sound advice.

  • jdun1911


    Do you know what happen to a dumbass criminals that tries to steal my loaded carry weapon? Six feet under.

    Real life doesn’t work the same way like in the movie.

  • Jay

    jdun1911: I guess Ronald Reagan, the liberal California governor who signed the law preventing open carry must have quite the f*cker.

  • lisamarie

    Thank all of you for the advise. I’ll take it. I carry a 38 revolver because its light and will shoot 5 times and all i’ve got to do is pull the trigger. But it has no safety. I’ve got to get a permit. I feel secure and unthreatened armed.I cant imagine being without it. I’m not a violent person and don’t carry because I think I’m a “bad ass”. I’m armed to defend myself and my 5 year old grandaughter. To many weirdos in the world. Its my God given right as a free American. I resent the restrictions applied to people with no criminal record to carry a gun.

  • Don


    You are right, life isn’t like movies. The good guy isn’t invincible and doesn’t always win. It is thus that I am confused by your statement.

    If you’re referring to my comment on open carry, it is silly to ignore the fact that some situation could potentially arise where that gun will draw the attention of some two bit punk who’s gang is short on pieces and he’ll find and opportunity to brain you with a bat, nail you with his car, or just shoot you in the back of the head to get it. If your gun is concealed then this is no longer a problem.

    I don’t understand how anyone can argue against flying under the radar.


  • Tom Stone

    Reagan and quite a few others got their knickers in a twist when a bunch of Black Panthers had their picture taken in front of the Alameda County Courthouse holding guns, which they had the right to do.bye-bye loaded open carry.As far as open carry,I live in Sonoma County Ca and would not personally try open carry in parts of this county due to the likelihood that I would be shot by one of the poorly trained LE officers we have in some jurisdictions.The Santa Rosa PD no longer issues glocks due to the number of “accidental” discharges,and that tells me all I need to know about their training.REDMANLAW has a valid point,poor folks,black folks and injuns with guns scare a lot of people because they don’t know their place.I don’t either,hmmm.

  • Squidpuppy

    Theoretically, making a strong but reasonable statement about one’s constitutional rights is part of what this country is all about, and I support it and applaud it – theoretically. But folks, this is California – I live here, and I know whereof I speak.

    There are quiet legal movements afoot to secure gun owners’ rights on-going in the state by level headed, very strategically minded groups – it is a delicate business, and one that’s directed at the long haul. Now, I’m not saying the folks in this article are undermining that, but we have a hard enough time in California fighting back the unreasoning anti-gun legislators, so adding fuel to the fire is not really helpful.

    There’s something to be said about immunizing the public to gun ownership, but here’s the sad truth, it’s not really the public that’s imposing unreasonable gun laws on us in California; it’s a loose cabal of legislative interests. I have no idea how to characterize these folks, or have any insight into what their problem is, but these are the people who introduce things like bans on private party ammo transfers and microstamping bullets.

    Employing reason against insanity is a tough battle; it doesn’t help when elements of your own team are actively driving the crazies even nuttier – is all I’m saying…

  • lisamarie

    The more I read your comments, the more sense it makes. I get it. Carrying an unloaded gun openly is asking for trouble. I’m not looking for trouble. I also understand the need and sometimes necessity of making a point. If we don’t exercise what rights we do have left as gun owners, we stand the chance of losing them. Open carry should be a choice. I’ll go for the concealed weapon permit here in Florida.

  • “gunner”

    where are you? was going to be my next question, florida is “shall issue” state, in other words if you have a clean record and take the training course they’ll issue your concealed carry permit. your reasons for wanting to carry are very good, its the reason most of us carry a gun, not to be “badass” but to protect ourselves and our families. there’s an added bonus to having a florida concealed carry permit, its is recognised and accepted by several other states as valid to carry in their jurisdictions. (anybody have a list handy?) your s&w “j frame” .38 special revolver is a good choice for concealed carry, well made, good quality, and should serve you well for many years. its been a long time favourite of undercover police officers and frequently carried as an off duty gun by many other cops. do visit the “women and guns forum” i mentioned earlier. we’ve got several members in florida who would be most happy to help with getting your concealed carry permit and possibly you’ll find friends to go shooting with, best regards and do keep in touch here.

  • lisamarie

    Well, I’ve been on ‘cornered cat’ and did learn not to call a magazine a clip. I was referring to a 9mm my X use to have and I remember how hard it was to load. I love my .38. These are good sites. thanks.

  • jdun1911


    It’s a dumb law that you can allow open carry yet you must carry it unloaded. It is plain stupid. You got every criminal knowing that your open carry gun is unloaded. That alone is begging for the weapon to be stolen. If you’re going to carry carry it loaded.

    Don, lets use logic here. Can we all agree that uniform police officers carry their weapon openly and loaded, right? Tell me how many times in the last few years that criminals attempted to steal police officers carry weapon? There might be very few cases, maybe less then 0.00001%.

    How many times do you know criminals attempted to steal armed security guards weapons?

    The reason why criminals don’t confront people carrying loaded weapons is the same reason why criminals don’t rob gunshops. There is a high chance of getting killed. Reward vs. Risk. Even the most stupid criminals will think twice at attempting to rob somebody with a loaded weapon. That’s not my opinion that’s a fact.

    Tom Stone,

    I have to agree you that CA as well as NY police officers are poorly trained. How hard is it to follow the four main safety rules?

    There was a report ten or twenty years ago that stated NYC police officers have 10% or less hit ratio. In other words for every 10 shots 9 will miss. I think the national avg was 20%.


    I am glad that you take charge of your own personnel safety. Most ladies I know don’t understand the concept.

    Almost all revolvers that are made does not have safety. They do not need it because the heavy long trigger pull weight will prevent any accidental discharge.

    Revolvers are good choice for personal defense IMHO.

    For those that are new to firearms, don’t break these four gun safety rules.
    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Always be sure of your target.

  • Thanks for posting my story!



  • Don


    Security guards don’t get knocked off too often because they hang out in front of closed circuit TV cameras all day. Cops don’t get their pieces stolen because they’re always in contact with each other, travel in groups, and when a cop gets knocked off there’s hell to pay. If you get knocked off no one cares. You are a safer target.

    I still don’t understand how anyone in their right mind can argue against flying under the radar. Maybe that’s the part I’m missing…


  • How refreshing to see an article about firearms in CA that doesn’t portrait gun owners as nut jobs. I hope she doesn’t loose her job over this!

  • jdun1911

    Don you still don’t understand. They don’t attack police or armed guards or armed civilians because the criminals don’t want to get shot or killed. That’s the absolute fact of life.

    We can argue all day long but your logic is flawed. Cops patrol in groups or individual. I think everyone that got a speeding ticket will agree with me. Not all security guards sit behind a TV monitor. Anyone that been in a high crime area will understand this.

    Your argument is the same argument that liberals and gun grabbers had against concealed weapons. But unlike conceal weapons open carry has a long history in America. Until the 1960 it was common to carry your weapon in the open non-urban area. It is still somewhat common in some rural area of the USA.

  • Don


    Politics has nothing to do with it. If you want to not get jacked up in the first place you need more than a gun, you need to behave more intelligently than the criminal. I don’t know why people think criminals are so completely stupid in the first place. You can of course do what you want. If you can’t see by now that showing everyone what you have up your sleeve isn’t always the safest idea it is obvious that it’s going to take more than a clear explanation to elucidate that for ya. If you want to walk around advertising because you have something to prove that’s your prerogative, but I think the non-posturing and non-activist parts of our community should at least think about the scenarios I’ve described. Most of the people who actually know me have know idea how often I carry, which is nearly always, and you can’t tell my politics by looking at the back of my car either, particularly since there are occasions when I have to leave a gun in there.

    Happy trails cowboy,

    • debates are encouraged, but lets just make sure it remains friendly.

  • Nathan, where do I find out about OC here in Ventura county?

  • Interesting.

    Only in CA… I hope.

    IMO, a firearm should NEVER be unloaded. Not in your car, home, safe, and certainly not when you carry it, openly or not. It is useless as a tool, either for defense, hunting or even offense if needed, without being loaded.

    Like draining all of the gas out of the car every time you put it in the garage. Just not practical to the use of the device.

    An interesting concept, and more power to them. You have to crawl before you can walk.

    Makes me think of the nation wide forum debates on tactical RE-load styles; For kalifornia, it will be on tactical Loading style. Lol.


  • Don
  • “gunner”

    i’d hardly call that video a typical case.

  • jdun1911

    It’s not typical, that for sure. Happen once in a blue moon.

    I’ve been around people that carried weapons most of my life. From open to conceal. I’ve also been debating people that like to ban firearms. So I have a lot of experience in these matters.

    It is the same argument that gun grabbers used when want to ban guns in homes. Because you know criminals can jack you up in your own home and steal your weapons or use it against you.

    It is the same argument that gun grabbers use against conceal weapons laws. Because you know criminals can jack you up and take your weapon or worst the nation will become Wild West part II but then again the Wild West wasn’t that wild in the first place.

    Don we can argue all day but you’re wrong.

    For those that are reading this, pretend you’re the criminal. You got two targets. One guy has an open carry gun and loaded. The other person has no weapon. Which one would you rob? It’s that simple.

    The assumption that criminals has only one target and no other opportunities is incorrect. There are many victims that criminals can chose from and most like they will pick the least amount of resistance.

  • There is a reason why the crime rate is lower in States which allow OC and CCW. And that reason doesn’t have anything to do with them just having better people!

  • Don

    I have no interest in creating or honoring current bans on arms, OC, or CC.

    I just think being covert is less of a risk than being obtrusive.

    Open carry means that if the right kind of crazy individual really wants to jack you up, they’re going to just kill you before taking for whatever they want.

    If you carry concealed this is no longer a risk. You will have an opportunity to kill them first.

    Deterrents ONLY work against somewhat SANE criminals. SURPRISE works against ALL criminals.


  • To everyone in an OC vs. CC pissing match, READ THIS POST!




  • FightinBluHen51

    Given a choice between Open Carry and no Carry, I’d take Open Carry (loaded, unloaded would NOT be an option).

    If you are carrying (or even if you aren’t) it’s about situational awareness. You simply CANNOT be an absent minded individual when you put Mr. Colt’s peace maker on your hip, and think you aren’t a target. Incidentally, you’re proven to be less of a target with a firearm, than without.

    Does open carry increase the chances of a criminal looking to score a gun off of you? Probably, but there is an increased criminal “economic” cost (potential death at worst, injury at best) for the benefit (clean stolen gun) that becomes a major deterrent. Besides, concerned about having your arm taken from you in close quarters? Get a good holster with the proper dummy deterrents that won’t let the bad guy simply disengage the gun from your holster without you having a chance to react. True, you could still be bumped on the head and knocked cold, but unarmed, you’re just as likely if not more to have that happen AND have your wallet, car, shoes, food, stolen, and still end up dead.

    As far as a member of society carrying openly, I would feel safe around someone carrying legally openly with a loaded weapon rather than not having a clue whether the three hoods that just walked into the 7/11 are armed or not. Last I checked, bad guys don’t wear shirts saying “I’m here to rob you and steal your gun today, please comply or you’ll die.”

  • lisamarie

    Here comes dumb question. Can you open carry AND have a concealed weapon? (with a permit).

    • lisamarie, in Cali you have to be rich/powerful or famous to get a permit. No joke.

      In some states you can legally carry both a concealed weapon and an unconcealed weapon at the same time … although the cops may not understand this. Gun Nuts Radio did a podcast about a guy doing just that who recorded his encounter with some very rude cops:


  • Whatever

    I don’t understand the desire to carry a firearm at all times. I think pushing the boundaries of what is legal is not a good idea; that’s the Fred Phelps’ line of thinking with regard to the Freedom of Speech. Constantly showing an in-your-face attitude while being within the letter of the law is not going win over any converts.

    The tactics used by the GOP are losing tactics. If those tactics are kept by the pro-gun crowd, the pro-gun crowd will lose as well. If the pro-gun side is seen as unreachable and totally unwilling to work with anyone else, then everyone else will leave them out when the next bit of gun legislation gets crafted.

  • Don

    “I don’t understand the desire to carry a firearm at all times. I think pushing the boundaries of what is legal is not a good idea; that’s the Fred Phelps’ line of thinking with regard to the Freedom of Speech. Constantly showing an in-your-face attitude while being within the letter of the law is not going win over any converts.

    The tactics used by the GOP are losing tactics. If those tactics are kept by the pro-gun crowd, the pro-gun crowd will lose as well. If the pro-gun side is seen as unreachable and totally unwilling to work with anyone else, then everyone else will leave them out when the next bit of gun legislation gets crafted.”


    If you don’t constantly show an in your face attitude apparently your own community will marginalize you while comparing you to it’s enemies. That is the behavior of an extremist. Extremists drive themselves to extinction. I didn’t know I needed think I was invincible or be a political activist to be welcomed as a fellow gun enthusiast. You’ve converted MY opinion all right.


  • Whatever

    Don @ 30 Jul 2009 at 2:03


  • Don

    @ Whatever,

    I am wholeheartedly agreeing with your comment about tactics.


  • lisamarie

    Are you saying you have to go into overdrive to be pro-gun Don?

  • “gunner”

    i don’t have a dog in this fight, where i live open and concealed carry are both options, depending on individual choice, and since no permit is issued or required i’ve carried both ways, depending on how i felt at the moment, the weather or whatever. the only time i was ever hassled was by a visiting nypd cop, off duty and “way off his beat”. when the local cops responded they told him they would enforce our laws without the help of nypd and he’d better keep the new york badge in his pocket or he’d be charged with impersonating. there’s no real way of knowing how many people carry concealed here since, as above, we have no permits, open carry is not common but is seen, usually in hunting season. as for getting “jacked up” and a gun taken, in 40+ years living here i’ve never heard of it happening.

  • jack

    I can’t see how anyone that actually ___lives____ in San Diego could possibly agree that this article made any sense at all. Walking around in PB on the boardwalk in a demonstration of open carry is a 100% scream for attention and not a demonstration personal freedoms. There are a lot of places where this would be an effective form of protest and education, PB boardwalk is not the place. Its one of the most crowded areas in SD, filled with hundreds of thousands of tourist from around the world. It has very low crime (in a city with extremely low crime), and a very very high police presence. Your chance of actually needing a handgun in that area is during the day is ABSOLUTELY 0. Maybe an expert marksman could draw and fire in PB without hitting innocent bystanders. You’re talking about shoulder to shoulder people in many areas. Stupid article, foolish endorsement of irresponsible behavior.

  • donald

    hey folks, im just saying id feel safer with a firearm on my person loaded or unloaded with ammo in reach, although concealed is by far the best and safest option in my opinion. But lets face the fact that were talking about CALIFORNIA here, good luck getting a concealed carry permit. that being said, i shall continue to carry openly on my hip.

  • Brian H

    Donald’s got it. Concealed carry is better than open carry. However, that’s not an option for most here in CA. Having a firearm on one’s person, unloaded, in much better than leaving one at home. It takes but 1-2 seconds to load a firearm to help stop a crime as opposed to hiding and hoping you don’t get picked off in the process. In the right siutation, I feel it’s better to have a chance to fight back than to do nothing at all. The best way to gain public acceptance is to be knowledgeable, unthreatening, polite and cooperative with LE. All it takes is one unfortunate incident that will make all OC’ers look like the bad guys.

  • Legislators in CA are looking to repeal the long standing open carry laws. Good luck to out gun brothers and sisters in CA.


  • I think Ca is for nuts , between the intiative stuff, open carry , and legalizing pot , Ca is magnet for the insane. Unfortunately I’m stuck here , otherwise I would get out as fast as I could.

  • Speaking of CA, did you see the marijuana convention they’re holding at the Cow Palace soon? The one that will be complete with the “SMOKING” tent for those with a medical prescription so they can smoke there. Yes. The same Cow Palace where they’ve been trying to ban gun shows for years.

    You can’t have a legal gun show there but a convention for pot is acceptable??? Something is seriously wrong here.

    • John ‘Genryu’

      Yes you you fascist moron.