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Gun control protest heats up in Pasadena

April 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Supporters of open carry gathered at coffee shops and restaurants in California with their guns clearly displayed. Some of those locations were in Southern California, including Pasadena.

The proponents of controversial open carry laws focused their efforts on a lawmaker who wants to ban that practice in California.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino said he was acting of the request of law enforcement when he authored a bill to ban people from carrying unloaded guns in public.

Portantino said he was trying to close a loophole in current California law which states carrying a loaded gun or concealed gun is a misdemeanor.

But supporters of open carry say they need to be able to protect themselves.

"It is critical during states of emergency that people have the ability to defend themselves when police are not available," said Alany Herman Toller of Gun Owners of California.

"I believe the open carry movement is very intimidating," said Suzanne Verge of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "I think as a citizen I should be able to go along Colorado Boulevard and shop where I want to shop and not have to worry about running into somebody with a loaded weapon."