SAN LEANDRO -- Disappointed with a new law that will soon bar them from bearing unloaded, unconcealed pistols in public, open carry advocates are bringing out the big guns for an event outside Bayfair Center on Saturday.
Make that long guns, as in shotguns and rifles, which are not included in the ban on openly carrying pistols that was signed by the governor this month.
The law goes into effect in January, but a group of Second Amendment supporters organized two long-gun events to show people what remaining recourse is available once handguns are off the table because of AB 144.
"I carry a handgun on a daily basis, not to scare people but for protection," said group member Adnan Shahab, a Fremont resident. "I think it's possible that carrying long guns will scare more people, but it's out of my control. I'm reacting to what the government is doing to me -- I was happy to carry a handgun that no one noticed."
Shahab and other open carry advocates said they expect legislators to react with an attempt to also ban carrying long guns.
There was an attempt to modify AB 144 to include rifles and shotguns, said Yih-Chau Chang, of Dublin, another member of the advocacy group. But he said it's a tougher sell politically because long guns are more routinely carried in rural areas of the state.
Chang, who plans to bring a pump-action shotgun to Saturday's event, said it's imperative for them to actively practice their rights
"Look, this is a Second Amendment right, a core civil right," Chang said. "It's in the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights. If we're afraid to exercise that right, was it ever our right to begin with?"
Saturday's event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at Hesperian Boulevard and Bayfair Drive in San Leandro. The group also organized a simultaneous rally in San Diego and said it will be the first joint effort involving the open carry of long guns.
Shahab said they are also looking at legal avenues to retain or regain their rights, but Saturday's event serves as a fast reaction to the passage of AB 144, one that will show civilians and law enforcement that there is still a way to carry a firearm in public for personal protection.
"There are many other gun rights groups around, and I can guarantee that in the next possible weeks there's going to be a powwow between these groups," he said. "But this is the quickest, easiest thing to do."