Men walk downtown streets with shotguns to protest gun control

A Mossberg 590 Shotgun. (Please note that police have not said what type of shotgun the suspects were carrying.)

Gun rights advocates have been on the defensive after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, but that didn’t stop one group in Sacramento from demonstrating their opposition to gun control in a way that was sure to get attention. 

Sacramento police questioned and then released a group of men who walked down one of the city’s busiest streets with shotguns over their shoulders Sunday evening.

Two of the men in the group were carrying shotguns when police stopped them at 10th and J streets around 9:20 p.m., according to officer Michelle Gigante. They were found to be in compliance with current open carry laws as the guns were not loaded, Gigante said.

One of the suspects told officers that they wanted to carry the guns in public before it becomes illegal, Gigante said.

The state legislature passed a law in August that bans the carrying of long guns or rifles and shotguns outside of motor vehicles. That law will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Supporters of the law cited the danger posed by mass shootings, including the one in Aurora, Colo., while opponents said it targeted law abiding citizens and was "fear mongering."

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December 17, 2012 | 8:47 PM

Poor things are only using shotguns. Why don’t they go all Harris and Kleibold and bring out the real weapons or what are they afraid of?

December 18, 2012 | 6:48 PM

They were carrying, not “using”, right? Using a gun is like using a tool…like a chisel, or a drone. The madness is in the user. And with these repeated killings, it apprears it’s growing. Perhaps the real issue is to examine what’s driving people mad rather than the tools they use.

December 17, 2012 | 9:03 PM

Have these guys no shame????

December 17, 2012 | 10:14 PM

Are you somehow trying to link this peaceful protest activity with the violent horror that occurred in Conneticut?

December 17, 2012 | 11:02 PM

Clearly they are.

Speaking of Conneticut, why don’t these paragons of hypermasculinity try this stupid stunt in Newton and see what kind of reaction they’d get.

December 18, 2012 | 2:25 PM

Coincidentally, Paragons of Hypermasculinity is the name of my 80′s metal cover band.

December 17, 2012 | 11:49 PM

The law prohibiting open carry of longguns takes effect in just a few days. I would have joined them had I known of their plans. While the timing is regrettable, the long gun ban is worse. California is rich in cultural long gun history. To let a tragedy like Newton Conn. deter Californians from practicing their culture would be wrong. Shotguns do not cause mental illness. Guns do not cause people to act like monsters. People did not stop flying after 9-11-2011, but instead there were brave souls that stepped back on airplanes directly after to lead the way.

ccc
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December 18, 2012 | 8:49 AM

yeah pretty good logic there . . . . . you really got to question the grip on reality of those who walk around brandishing weapons in public days after some freak took out 20 kids. i would not call that a culture but a bunch of reactionaries. why in the hell do you need to carry those in the open? is it really that big of a contest? keep them at home for whenever you go shooting but show some danged respect for others by not strutting around in public with guns when many are perhaps a little more on edge than normal.

December 18, 2012 | 8:57 AM

If you’ll notice, the real reactionaries are using that same tragedy to call for gun control.

ccc
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December 18, 2012 | 9:27 AM

i think people have been trying to control guns a little longer than yesterday- and for the record, i am not against guns i just don’t understand why people feel the need to openly carry them or have an automatic for that matter.

December 18, 2012 | 11:59 AM

Hmmm…maybe we’re listening to different people. I’m actually hearing a lot of good analysis from people trying to figure out how to prevent these tragedies in the future. Note that “well this wouldn’t have happened if all the teachers had loaded guns”, while technically possibly true, does not constitute particularly adept analysis.

December 18, 2012 | 2:42 PM

Last Friday a mentally-ill man in China attacked a classroom of children with a knife, thankfully none were killed.

So does this mean that I can’t use a steak knife in public and am limited to sporks?

December 18, 2012 | 3:09 PM

CCC

Who has an automatic in this discussion? ie Automatic = machine gun. As far as I know, all of these horrible attacks have been done with semi-automatics (1 bullet per trigger pull)… which is the same capability of the vast majority of handguns and long guns in America for the last 80 years.

The “assault weapon” that the attacker in Conneticut used has 2 key characteristics. 1) It looks real scary, like a military machine gun 2) it has an easily removable ammo clip.

My old Remington .270 deer rifle has a 3 slot magazine that is non-removable (3 shots are fine for deer hunting). The Newton attacker had a Bushmaster .22 with a removable clip and a large quantity of 20 slot magazines that could be replaced in seconds. He also had a Glock handgun in his pocket, which most likely also had a quickly replaceable clip. Even if “assault weapons” were banned, assume that these mentally ill monsters could do similar damage with handguns.

So the ongoing talk about “banning assault weapons” is really a discussion about allowing rifles to have removable ammo clips and/or restricting the capacity of said ammo clips. I think that is a great discussion to have .

But as long as the media perpetrates and the public believes that these assault weapons are automatic military type machine guns, I am afraid that it may not be a real fruitful discussion.

ccc
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December 18, 2012 | 5:54 PM

duly noted but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes very little sense to walk around a public area displaying a gun. what is it about a firearm that people equate with freedom?

December 19, 2012 | 7:00 AM

Just like muscles, rights that are not exercised will quickly suffer atrophy.

Just like the Occupy Sacramento park sit-ins were an exercise of free speech right, we may find this exercise too confrontational for our taste.

The small downside of democracy is an occasional stinky hippy camping in our parks, gun-rights activist marching with unloaded shotguns, flag-burning, and so forth.

I just got back last week from one of my regular biz trips to China. Nice to be back to a place where individuals can make bold public defenses of their rights.

December 18, 2012 | 12:18 AM

Ask the Jews who lived in Hitler’s Germany how the ban on guns for them went.

“Tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.” ~Kozinski, 9th Circuit Court

December 18, 2012 | 12:47 AM

I’ll bet there were no nutballs in the area daring to start shooting up the place that day.

December 18, 2012 | 9:13 AM

SacPress comments are usually cogent additions to the story above. But, of course, there are exceptions.

December 18, 2012 | 10:12 AM

By restricting our right to carry, Brown and the rest of the incompetent fools under him, are in violation of our 2nd Amendment rights. By violating our rights, they are breaking the law of the land. By breaking the law of the land, they are criminals and need to be put in prison. Same goes to those ignorant fools in D.C. including Obama!

December 20, 2012 | 8:36 AM

So suggesting some version should land a politician in prison? Don’t oversell your point or anything. In all seriousness, and I’m not backing up the Brown administration, but this is the type of black and white thinking that leaves me with little respect for the NRA. And I’m not unequivocally pro-gun control. Just please, try to think with a little nuance–obviously we don’t give citizens access to Stinger missiles, but we do allow them access to deringers. Somewhere in the middle is what we’re debating. Just because you disagree with gun control proponents doesn’t mean they belong in prison.

December 18, 2012 | 10:31 AM

The second amendment explicitly prohibits gun control. The only honest way to accomplish gun control is to repeal the second amendment. Otherwise there will be constant legal gymnastics getting around the second amendment which will further erode the rule of law.

It seems most Americans think of the constitution as religious scripture. Which explains why so many never actually read it or know what it says.

December 18, 2012 | 10:36 AM

Actually interpretation of the Second Amendment by courts so far means the government cannot ban handguns, but it can ban other weapons, for example a shot gun or assault rifle. There is still room for a lot of interpretation with the Second Amdendment. Governor Brown is not violating our rights.

This article helps clarify some of the confusion regarding all of this –
So You Think You Know the Second Amendment?
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/12/jeffrey-toobin-second-amendment.html

December 18, 2012 | 11:55 AM

Something tells me articles from the New Yorker will sway proponents of gun freedom as much as a Fox News segment on the subject would change the minds of Swedes.

Still, thanks for the article, it was a good read.

December 18, 2012 | 4:54 PM

Gun control doesn’t stop crazy batshit maniacs from killing other people. I thought we might have learned that from the VA Tech massacre (all guns for that were legally purchased). What does have an effect on whether or not the killings happen more or less often is highly effective mental health care and intervention.

In the case of the theater shooting that happened a little while ago, there was a gun range owner that wanted to report the shooter, but there was no facility for reporting someone with mental health issues who others felt might be a danger. Similarly, the VA Tech killer and the guy who shot the Congress woman also had people who noticed warning signs, but had nobody to report them to. All of these killings could have been mitigated or prevented with a quality mental health care system.

So, which do you think is the cheaper option- gun control, or quality public mental health? If you check with most health insurance, you will find that guns are much cheaper than intervention care or long term psychiatric treatment. People hold up the Scandinavian countries and Canada as examples of places with less gun violence, but what many don’t realize is that it is just as easy to get a hold of a high capacity weapon there, too (consider the youth massacre in Norway by Brevik). The one thing that many gun control advocates are missing is that those exemplary countries have something else in common that the US does not have and will not pay for- quality public mental health care.

December 19, 2012 | 10:03 AM

Let’s keep in mind that the very first of those victims would have been considered to have been in violation of laws, the nature of which, many States already already have. In many States, should an otherwise responsible gun owner allow for a child to gain access to a gun and someone is harmed by that gun owner’s weapon, that gun owner is subject to severe prosecution. I don’t think even the most rabid NRA supporter is opposed to that kind of legislation any more so than laws that prevent upstanding citizens from keeping guns should they choose to live with convicted felons under the same roof. The nut-job that killed all those little kids should never have had access to operable weapons any more so than a toddler, and I know it might sound harsh, but his dead Mother is to blame. Passing other laws which place otherwise responsible sportsmen at risk of arrest when they transport sporting equipment in a responsible manner won’t do anything to prevent another of these tragedies but placing stronger restrictions on people who live with the mentally deficient as is done with people who live with children or felons might.

January 12, 2013 | 2:58 AM

“men” ? I think not. Scared, pea brained (among other diminutive organs) little boys trapped in aging, overweight adult bodies.

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