Here is the opening speech that I gave at our very first South Bay Open Carry meet-up where we performed community service cleaning up garbage along the streets of Hermosa Beach, CA.
Good morning, thank you for coming today.
My name is Harley Green. I am the founder of South Bay Open Carry, a community-based movement to promote public awareness of self-defense and 2nd amendment rights. South Bay Open Carry is made up of good, law-abiding concerned citizens who will achieve these goals through positive community education and interaction. Over the last 50 years Californians have continually lost the ability to defend themselves. Californians have also been bombarded by inaccurate negative imagery of firearms. South Bay Open Carry seeks to reverse these counterproductive trends by showing the public that 2nd amendment supporters, like most Californians, represent safety and community values. South Bay Open Carry will achieve these goals through public outreach, education, and community service events.
Let me explain what Open Carry means. In California, Open Carry means carrying a firearm which is plainly visible, such as a handgun in a belt holster, for the purpose of self-defense. Open Carry has always been legal everywhere in California, except for a few restricted areas, such as school zones and government buildings; no permit is required. Ammunition may legally be carried on the person. Firearms were required to be unloaded as a result of politicians’ unthinking overreaction to an extremist militant organization’s ill-conceived actions during the late 1960’s. However, the recent Supreme Court ruling may lead to the unloaded requirement being thrown out.
South Bay Open Carry was founded in response to the efforts by California politicians to restrict the rights of citizens to defend themselves in public. California currently is suffering from record budget deficits, unemployment, education shortages, and social injustices. Despite these overwhelming problems California politicians, such as Lori Saldana, try to cover up the real problems by introducing legislation that seeks to restrict citizens’ abilities to defend themselves. These current efforts are being done in outright defiance of the United States Supreme Court. Many of these efforts to disarm Californians are openly acknowledged by their supporters to have no basis in public safety.
Many scientific studies have shown that measures to disarm citizens, also known as gun control, increase violent crime, by shifting the balance of power to favor violent criminals, while disarming helpless victims. Deceptive efforts like Saldana’s, with the claimed excuse of reducing violent crime, actually only serve to handicap citizens’ abilities to defend themselves while providing self-serving PR for a few cynically manipulative politicians.
Restrictions on gun ownership have proven to increase the number of law-abiding citizens who become victims of crime. While, increased gun ownership and right-to-carry laws have resulted in significant decreases in crime. This has been shown to be true in every state which has restored the right of the people to carry guns in self-defense.
One does not have to be a quote “gun” person to see the need for actively supporting 2ndamendment rights. Like the other rights that all citizens enjoy, the 2nd amendment recognizes and protects a fundamental natural right. Anyone can choose for themselves whether they wish to exercise that right or not. The danger is that if the right is not exercised, it can become lost, as seen here in California. If citizens sit idly by and allow politicians to strip away their 2nd amendment rights, their other rights could soon be taken away.
An example of some of the problems with California’s current gun control laws are the discriminatory conceal and carry permit issuance policies. The 40 states where the government is required to issue conceal and carry permits enjoy some of the lowest crime rates. Conceal and carry permits can be very difficult for the average citizen to obtain in California, especially in Los Angeles County and other urban areas where the need is greatest. As a result, Open Carry is the only option many Californians have to legally defend themselves in public.
California is one of just a few states that severely restricts citizens’ abilities to defend themselves in public, while simultaneously stating that the police have no liability for failure to protect (California Government Code Sec. 845, et al). Not surprisingly, despite all these gun control measures, California still suffers one of the highest per-capita instances of violent crime.
Gun control laws have a sinister and disreputable history. The original restrictions on gun ownership were designed to disarm newly freed slaves. Right up to the present, gun control laws continue to be developed with the intent to disarm quote “dangerous, scary” minorities and the poor. Many California gun control laws, such as those eliminating the sale of affordable handguns, were designed specifically to keep law-abiding minorities and the poor from being able to defend themselves.
Recently the US Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment, which reaffirms citizens’ right to bear arms, applies directly to state and local municipalities. As a result many, if not all, of the gun control laws in California are now unconstitutional. Those cities and counties that continue to enforce these laws will soon be challenged and brought into compliance with the 2nd amendment, at a great cost to taxpayers.
This Supreme Court ruling reaffirms the rights we all share to defend ourselves and gives us hope that all citizens in California can soon enjoy equal protection under the law to legally defend themselves.
As I mentioned, one result of the recent US Supreme Court decision is that many city ordinances that restrict firearms will soon have their constitutionality challenged. South Bay Open Carry realizes that cities and states have severe budget deficits, so we are offering to work closely with city leaders to revise their municipal codes and police manuals to come into accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision, without ruinously expensive legal action. However, for those who wish to defy the Supreme Court, legal action is inevitable. South Bay Open Carry believes that through constructive collaboration public safety can be improved without costing taxpayers untold millions in legal fees defending unconstitutional laws, or spending even more on police protection than we already do.
I urge everyone to put down their stereotypes and prejudices regarding the 2nd amendment and spend a few moments researching the facts. I am confident that anyone who honestly investigates the history and results of gun control will agree that standing up for the constitutional right to bear arms is in everyone’s best interest. To learn more about our 2ndamendment rights, the truth about gun control, and South Bay Open Carry, visit our website www.SouthBayOpenCarry.org.