Regarding those gun-totin' guys coming to Walnut Creek: the police chief responds and a member explains why they're holding it in a certain downtown restaurant
In response to my post about a planned exhibition in Walnut Creek next month by gun owners who support the open display of handguns, some readers asked how the City of Walnut Creek or the police plan to respond. Members of this loosely organized group, who call themselves Bay Open Carry, plan to be at downtown's California Pizza Kitchen on February 6, with their unloaded weapons in full display.
Police response to such an open display of handguns became something of an issue in Livermore earlier this week. This was when one member was giving an interview to an ABC7 TV reporter. Walter Stanley, who carries an unloaded pistol on his right hip and two full ammunition clips on his left, raised alarm when someone called in a report to police of a man with a gun seen in downtown. Officers pulled up, just as Stanley was talking to the reporter, ordered him up against a wall and to raise his hands. The officers checked to see that his weapon was indeed unloaded.
Open Carry members say that it is legal to carry a weapon as long as it is out in the open and unloaded. The gun carrier also has to be at least 1,000 feet from a school.
Okay, so I'm assuming that Open Carry members plan to act within the law if they do make it to Walnut Creek. However, they will be gathering in CPK, which is centrally located in Broadway Plaza. Talk about trying to get attention! Also, as some readers pointed out, CPK is known as a family restaurant.
So, would the presence of guys (or gals?) walking around with guns openly displayed--even if they are unloaded--be upsetting to the clientele? And do the police have any plans to intervene, respond to calls of concern, or to be present.
Here is what Chief Joel Bryden had to say in response:
"Our officers will respond to any calls for service relating to this issue and take appropriate action based on what we find at the scene. Appropriate action could include checking a weapon to make sure it is unloaded."
And, here are some views an Open Carry member, writing on the organization's message board, about why he participates, about the planned event, and about the choice of California Pizza Kitchen for their display::
--About why he participates:
For me, it's to remind people that we live under the Constitution and we all have rights that cannot be taken away from us. I think here, in California, a lot of people dismiss the second amendment as being antiquated and rather useless in today's society. I can understand how somebody can come to that conclusion, but I feel that if more law abiding citizens owned and carried firearms, we would have far less crime and criminals would be afraid of committing crimes.
--Would CPK have a right to ask these gun-totin' guys to leave?
Businesses absolutely have a right to ask us to leave, and sometimes they do. I'm unaware of any case where an open carrier has refused to leave after being asked. We respect business' property rights and we comply with their wishes. If a place of business such as CPK doesn't want our money, someplace else will.
--As for whether the presence of Open Carry members, with their weapons, would upset other CPK diners:
I've eaten at restaurants where uniformed police officers came in and ate there, I wasn't afraid of anything bad happening. I've been in a restaurant where a group of non-uniformed police officers came in to eat too. At least, I thought they were police officers. But how could I tell? I wasn't going to ask them for ID if they were behaving perfectly normal. Why should the presence of a uniform make any difference?
Quite simply, criminals do not walk around with guns in openly displayed holsters. If somebody is open carrying, then they are on the up and up. When I open carry, I'm especially on the up and up because I'm trying to paint gun owners in a good light and be a "model citizen."
Another member is warning that there will be a strong LE (as in law enforcement) interest in the Walnut Creek Meetup. That being the case, the member has some strong advise for making sure their weapons are secure. He suggests the acquisition of "a retention type holster (Blackhawk or similar) for your rig prior to the Walnut Creek Meetup if at all possible."
"I know these can be a bit pricey for some ($35-$60),," he continues, "but are great for that extra little bit of insurance that your gear cannot be easily removed or fall out."