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South Bay Open Carry in Manhattan Beach

The gun rights group's Manhattan Beach meetings and activities have sparked outcry.

Protesters and picket signs may have been missing from South Bay Open Carry's re-located monthly Third Thursday meeting in February, but the topic hasn't left the city of Manhattan Beach.

At the Tuesday, March 1 City Council meeting, Esther Besbris of the Manhattan Beach Residents Association waited until 2 a.m to stand at the podium to ask that council address the group's presence in the city in its council 2011-2012 work plan.

Earlier in the evening, before trash talk took over, resident Maggie Movius asked that council look into creating and passing an ordinance that would make the open carry of unloaded weapons illegal in city parks. She said that Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach have such laws.

The local gun-rights advocacy group, South Bay Open Carry, surfaced in September when they announced plans to attend the 38th Annual Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair. The group attended the October 2010 fair, with weapons openly carried, causing quite a stir before, during and after the event.

On Thursday, Feb. 17 the group held its Third Thursday monthly meeting at China Grill in Manhattan Beach, after protesters showed up at their January meeting at Brooklyn Brick Oven Pizza. This time the protesters didn't picket outside the restaurant located in the Manhattan Village shopping center.

Suzanne Verge, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence who organized the January protest, said the group had gotten another Manhattan Beach restaurant, Big Wok Mongolian BBQ, to not host the group's February meeting and believed that the same had happened after speaking with China Grill owner Fernando Chong prior to the group's monthly dinner event.

“We called Fernando. He said he was going to cancel the reservation, but he called [South Bay Open Carry] and they didn’t answer, but I still thought he would do the right thing and say, ‘You can come in and not bring your guns.’”

Chong told Patch that he learned about the group’s reservation for 40 people at the last minute after it had already been made with an assistant manager. After hearing from Verge’s husband the night before, he decided he didn’t need the bad publicity he might get from hosting the Open Carry group.

“I’m just a businessman. In this frail economy, I didn’t want any protests,” he told Patch.

But when the members showed up, Chong relented and seated them in the patio. “They promised they would keep it as hush-hush as possible and wouldn’t create problems.”

Some of the members brought children and some had jackets over their guns, while others wore guns openly on their hips, he said. “Of course it bothered me,” Chong said. “That was the first time I had seen anything like that.”

Ironically, Chong is a Jehovah’s Witness and is apolitical. “Because of our religion, we don’t vote, salute the flag or participate in war.”

The South Bay Open Carry website, http://southbayopencarry.org/, called the dinner “a tremendous success,” stating that it attracted about 60 people and characterizing the Brady Organization’s attempts to persuade Chong not to allow the group to gather there as “an aggressive yet unsuccessful effort to frighten the restaurant owner into canceling our reservation” and “reprehensible and unworthy of a group with federal nonprofit status,” while adding that South Bay Open Carry did “respect the U.S. Constitution and their First Amendment right to free speech.”

Verge said her organization is not trying to hurt anyone’s business, but it feels that restaurants often are unaware that they have the right to say no to a group if they don’t want to host them, just as they can turn away customers dressed or behaving inappropriately.

“Even Fernando didn’t know that 60 people were coming in with guns on. I don’t think [South Bay Open Carry] does a good job of informing the restaurant of the reality that 40 to 60 people will be showing up with weapons on their hips, with ammunition that apparently can be loaded in two seconds.”

Verge, whose 18-year-old brother was shot and killed by someone he knew when Verge was only 15, said she feels the public has a right to know when a place is serving people who are openly carrying guns.

The California Brady Campaign publishes a list http://www.bradycampaign.org/chapters/ca/ of what it calls “Family Friendly Restaurants and Businesses” that have established gun-free policies and a second list labeled “Name & Shame – Socially Irresponsible Businesses” that have allowed members of open carry organizations to dine with pistols holstered in their belts.

South Bay Open Carry founder and president Harley Green said that one of his group’s objectives is to change the negative stereotypes of gun ownership by displaying their weapons openly. “When we go out in public and people see law-abiding citizens wearing firearms, the reaction I get is overwhelming interest and excitement,” he said.

But why openly carry firearms in such a relatively low-crime area as Manhattan Beach and other South Bay cities?

Green, a 25-year-old Hermosa Beach resident and a computer engineer at Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, said that even if there’s less crime here than in other places, crimes do occur, and when they do, he wants to be prepared—and so might others.

“How awful would I feel if I’m at a restaurant with my wife and I happen to leave my firearm at home and some criminal starts shooting and there’s no police around?” The benefit of openly carrying a gun is a visible deterrent, he said.

Carrying firearms in California, as long as they’re not concealed, loaded or in restricted areas (near schools, post offices or government buildings) is generally permitted, although cities and counties can restrict open carry in parks and other areas.

A new bill to end the practice of openly carrying firearms in California was introduced in the California Assembly in January. AB 144 would replace a similar bill that died without a final vote last fall, helped to its demise by vigorous gun-rights advocates.

Many members of South Bay Open Carry, which Green told Patch has a mailing list of about 300, live and work in the South Bay and intend to continue holding their monthly dinner meetings in the local restaurants they like to frequent, Green said.

Their March meeting will take place at an unnamed location on the Palos Verdes Peninsula Green told Patch. Green won’t reveal the location until the week of the event because “we want to do our best to shield hard-working businesses from (the Brady Campaign’s) harassment.” 

It’s not harassment, Verge said, to inform businesses that their customers may arrive wearing guns in their belts.

When delivered to Big Wok Mongolian BBQ owner Pendar Hsu that message proved effective in persuading him not to welcome the South Bay group for dinner on Feb. 17.

After receiving calls and letters from both sides, Hsu made his decision. “This is a family restaurant. We really don’t think it’s appropriate to bring in guns. I think it might scare my customers.”

Catch A Wave March 09, 2011 at 04:26 AM
Wow, the lack of intellect is absolutely mind boggling. Look what Chang just posted to explain why crime is higher in urban high population density areas. "Let me give you a hint. It's not because there's any difference between the two categories but rather because the urban areas of California have restrictive gun control laws." This gun fanatic would have reasonable persons believe that the crime rates in inner cities would go down if there were more guns. MORE GUNS FOR SOUTH CENTRAL AND HARBOR CITY! CAN YOU IMAGINE! You can't make this stuff up.
Yih-Chau Chang March 09, 2011 at 04:31 AM
Oh, you know, Catch A Wave, you should always believe the cops. That's why Internal Affairs departments are so busy investigating what must be petty complaints from the public. Cops never break the law or abuse their authority. Which is why stories like this never happen. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=7998237 While most cops are law-abiding, those in higher level positions do have to tow the political line of their bureaucrat masters in order to keep their jobs. And those in public positions of authority rarely like to see their force monopoly compromised. But I suppose this is a consideration that only critical thinkers would be able to appreciate. Those who mindlessly follow the flock shouldn't be able to reach conclusions like this all on their own.
Yih-Chau Chang March 09, 2011 at 04:35 AM
For once, Catch A Wave, you are absolutely correct. You can't make this stuff up, which is why my statement is backed by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. “Whether gun availability be viewed as a cause or as a mere coincidence, the long term macrocosmic evidence is that gun ownership spread widely throughout societies consistently correlates with stable or declining murder rates. This pattern simply cannot be squared with the mantra that more guns = more death and fewer guns = less. Whether causative or not, the consistent international pattern is that more guns = less murder and other violent crime.” (Page 33) “As of 2006, 40 states have adopted laws under which guns became vastly more available to law abiding, responsible adults, i.e., 3.5 million Americans are legally entitled not just to keep guns in their homes but to carry concealed handguns with them wherever they go. But this has not resulted in more murder or violent crime in these states. Rather adoption of these statutes has been followed by very significant reduction in murder and violence in those states.” (Pages 14-15) http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7212&context=expresso The Mauser-Kates Study, "Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International Evidence", was academically peer reviewed and then published on Volume 30, Number 2 of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (pp. 649-694).
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 04:45 AM
Oh, now you have GOT to be kidding me?????? California - URBAN? Florida has more ppl per mile and a lower crime rate. You're not even in the top ten populated states. Look, you won't do it but I dare you. Now, be honest, use the statistics from the FBI, not the fake ones that the Brady Bunch uses. Take your United States Map, and write in the murders total per state. Now, put a big X over states that allow open carry without a license. See it yet? Now, take away the border states with a high population of illegals. Now do you see it? The higher the Brady safety rating... the more you are likely to die. The higher the gun freedom rating, the more likely you are to survive. Now, overlay the crime statistics for home invasions, rapes, robberies... Do you see that? Yes, the higher the Brady Safety Rating, the more likely you are to be raped, robbed and killed. Now try one more. Look at three years of crime data after Concealed Carry is approved for a state. See the drop? Now, look after open carry is approved. See THAT drop? So you are telling me that you are making me safer... but the data says you kill us with your policies. So, if you are for a total gun ban, and need to make guns look really bad, then the Brady Bunch would NEED the murder rate to go sky high to get rid of all guns. So I personally think you do it on purpose. After all, what are a few thousand deaths when you are trying to do something so good.
Paul Wedeking March 09, 2011 at 04:48 AM
As a Buisness owner, an avid collector of military weapons, and a responsible gun owner. I have to say that I believe the Buisness owners have a right to refuse / accept any group they want to. I for one would gladly welcome a group of Legal gun owners who are open carrying, into my buisness. for no other reason than to show a willingness to extend a welcoming hand to any group. As for any of Catch A Waves comments as I do not know if he/ she is a buisness owner I believe it is an example in the way the anti-gun folks think and react to being told they are actually in the minority through out the United States .
Peter March 09, 2011 at 05:00 AM
Paul, the members of South Bay Open Carry are very loyal to business owners that support our Second Amendment rights. Please shoot me an email at info@SouthBayOpenCarry.org and I will be happy to have your business included on our business page. Please put "For Peter" in the subject line.
Paul Wedeking March 09, 2011 at 05:05 AM
Peter, I am not in the South Bay Area. Actually I am not even in California as Chang can attest to, But I feel obligated as a legal gun- owner and as a buisness owner to keep abreast of the situation in regards to open carry and buisness. I have a security company ( Worldwide market) and a small Pub in Northeast Iowa.
Peter March 09, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Paul, Thanks for the update and the support.
Charles E. Nichols March 09, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Paul, unlike most states, California has 40 years of case law stemming from a 1970 California Supreme Court ruling which held that so long as a person does not interfere or obstruct the activities of a business they cannot be removed from the premise or be arrested for trespass. The only significant subsequent qualifications to the decision pertain to signature gathering at stand alone businesses and the solicitation of immediate contributions. Not surprisingly, the South Bay Open Carry movement have not forced themselves upon businesses who do not want them. Of course, it is my hope that a somewhat more activist contingent of Open Carry advocates will.
Bruce D March 09, 2011 at 06:00 AM
CW, the 2nd Amendment states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." Note the word NECESSARY. That means that an armed population is necessary to the security of a FREE state. CW, you have a moral obligation to own and carry a firearm. You are shirking your obligation to society by not doing your part. Instead, you are trying to deprive society of the much needed protection of arms. Just because the current political situation prevents people from carrying loaded does not make it right. CW, it's time to change your position and support open carry and to support loaded open carry. There is no reason to fail to support it.
Charles E. Nichols March 09, 2011 at 06:08 AM
From 1792 until 1903 the law required men to keep a military grade rifle and ammunition as well as to regularly meet with their fellow citizens to practice the art of war. We need a Militia Act of 2011 - It would certainly drive a lot of the undesirables out of the country.
Contra Costa Open Carry March 09, 2011 at 06:18 AM
Wow, I leave for a day and have to spend a couple hours catching up. Looks like everyones been busy. CAW, I do have any doubt that you believe the garbage stats that the Brady campaign release. To many people, for far to long have believed it. What disappoints me, is that I had hoped that you were just a little bit smarter then a 5th grader. I had my doubts before, but after you posting their crap, and calling it gospel, you removed any I had. Look into any of the studies and/or stats that the Brady Campaign release. Follow the money. You will see that they fund the studies they promote. They do not have Government studies. They do not use academically pier- reviewed and excepted studies like the ones that I, and Chau have provided. Did you know, that these same federal studies were challenged by President Clinton? He did not believe them, and had them checked by his own people. They even had to admit that they could not find fault in the studies. They went into their overview, being told to find anything that they could to discredit the studies. Nothing was found. CAW, you really should learn to read and think for yourself. The more you post the lower you slip.
Catch A Wave March 09, 2011 at 06:26 AM
Welcome to the real Charles Nichols. "Practice the art of war". I believe people like him are a despicable, blemish on this great country. Can you imagine any decent human being lauding the "art of war"? And make no mistake what he means by "drive a lot of the undesirables out of the country", that's racist, anti-immigrant hate in my opinion, pure and simple.
Catch A Wave March 09, 2011 at 06:35 AM
Taking the night shift Contra Costa? Why do you not tell the truth when you say this? "Look into any of the studies and/or stats that the Brady Campaign release. Follow the money. You will see that they fund the studies they promote." I am wondering why you lie? Are these studies from Brady? * Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization, 2009, Table 9, October 2010, NCJ 231327 *Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, 2009, Tables 1, 7, 8, 15 and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15)
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 01:55 PM
No comment needed. You've accused yourself, tried yourself and convicted yourrself with that last comment. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 01:55 PM
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I copied and pasted your references, and guess what? They do NOT agree with what you posted. I guess you just counted on people believing what you say because you posted a reference, adn that no one would actually go look them up. You lied to us to prove your point. I got one for you from the references YOU posted. Of all violent crime reported, a firearm was used in only 7.9% of the cases - and most of these are black on black and/or gang incidents. So if you carry a firearm, you are almost always going to be better armed than the criminal making gun ownership safer. A knife or other weapon was used in 15% of reported incidents. White folks were responsible for 15% of crime. Black folks 26%, and hispanic and hispanic origin 35.1%. But you are never going to listen or even read your OWN statistics, are you?
Catch A Wave March 09, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Your reading and comprehension skills appear to be lacking: In United States in one year, there are: * 12,632 gun homicides. * 44,466 gun injuries from assaults treated in emergency rooms. * 326,090 firearm victimization's reported in crime surveys. * 146,650 gun assaults reported to police. * 149,493 gun robberies reported to police. * 215 legal self-defense killings by private citizens with a firearm. * A gun in the home is 7 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault or homicide than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense. * Guns are used to intimidate and threaten 4 to 6 times more often than they are used to thwart crime. h/t Brady
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Now, that you repeated the numbers I've said are lies, would you like to explain where you got them? Let's look at just two of them. A gun is seven times more likely... who's rear-end did you pull that dripping bit of fantasy from? and Guns are used to intimidate and threaten... Yeah, like someone actually keeps this kind of data lying around. Let me see the raw data. Post it here. Lets' see what agency is collecting it. No? That's because you are drinking the cool-aid. As to the rest of the numbers, I can easily argue that those are the victims you disarmed - and as a result of your involvement, many of them died that would have lived had they had a handgun with them and were trained to use it. I can easily argue that the Brady Campaign could be implicated in the murders of all 12,000 people killed. Should have to pay restitution for the injuries that ended up in the ER, and should face civil charges for the 149,000 robberies, 146,000 assaults, and 326,000 victims. See what damage and destruction you are doing to people? LET THEM LIVE! Give them their guns back.
Pat Riot March 09, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Folks, Catch a Wave and I will always disagree because we look at the one set of data and come to different conclusions. I conclude that disarming people makes them more likely to be victims, and he seems to contend that even one gun is too dangerous. So I agree to disagree. I see the murder rates drop every time a gun ban style law is removed and cheer. He seems to cheer when a new law is passed and more people die. I don't understand his logic, but to each his own. There is a quote that applies... “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” In other words. We are going to get open carry. We will get it nationwide. We will get concealed carry laws standardized nationwide. We will lower the age to purchase a firearm to 18 year old, and we will prosecute and damand the heads of anyone that abuses thier rights. We will train our children to shoot and teach them to never allow themselves to be victims. You? You get a choice. You can stand in our way, be our enemy - and get run over... or join with us and help put some limits in place that will actually do some good. Your choice, but you will not win, because too many good people die when you do.
Catch A Wave March 21, 2011 at 08:43 PM
No you won't. We will stand in your way and we will win.
Charles E. Nichols March 21, 2011 at 08:56 PM
"Catch A Wave" keeps ranting and raving about how he is going to stop us. He even alluded to a secret plan he won't reveal. Fact is, he'll keep on ranting and raving and we'll keep on openly carrying our firearms. See you at the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair.
Yih-Chau Chang March 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Catch A Wave's secret plan is obviously going to work because 2nd Amendment supporters broadcast all of their intentions publicly. That is why the sophisticated political maneuvering that RCC/GOA/NRA/CRPA employed at the last possible moment at the California State Legislature last year to defeat AB 1934 was so effective that the Brady Campaign lobbyists actually popped their champagne, celebrated their victory, and then left the Capitol believing they had won. Imagine the rude awakening that greeted them once they woke up the next morning. What I wouldn't have given to be there at that exact moment with a camera when they came to the shocking realization that they had actually lost. To this day, those in the Brady Campaign's leadership still don't realize how far in advance we war- gamed this out and how utterly predicatable each and every move the gun control lobby has actually is. But, yes, Catch A Wave's secret plan has us shaking in our boots. Yet, I digress... What Catch a Wave and his anti-gun ilk do not realize is that their problem in losing touch with the American public is actually a systemic issue that runs rampant on a national level. I've even done the gun control lobby a favor by identifying this shortcoming publicly for them. http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-oakland/the-timeless-legacy-of-the-gun-control-lobby
Catch A Wave March 22, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Yawn. The same old tired repetitive rhetoric.
Yih-Chau Chang March 22, 2011 at 09:38 AM
Here we go again with Catch A Wave and his problem with Freudian projection. Catch A Wave, you might want to take up Dr. R. T.'s offer and see about getting that straightened out. After all, his assessment regarding your psychological health is corroborated by Dr. Sarah Thompson, M. D. http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/Raging-Against-Self-Defense And confirmed by Dr. Bruce Eimerk, Ph.D. http://www.gunlaws.com/GunHate.htm#Eimer And of course by the one who started the whole field of modern psychoanalysis: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity” - Dr. Sigmund Freud Hopefully, the opinion of these doctors are factual enough to extend beyond the realm of rhetoric. However, if it's cold, hard facts you want, I am more than happy to provide those too. http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-oakland/defensive-gun-use-is-far-more-common-than-you-think
David Carson March 22, 2011 at 06:15 PM
jose--there is a major difference between carrying for self defense and choosing to be a cop/security guard
Catch A Wave March 22, 2011 at 06:38 PM
I am not afraid of guns and am certainly not afraid of the impotent thugs who want to carry them. What I am along with millions of other American citizens is an advocate of sensible gun laws and restricting the number and types of firearms and where they are allowed. Legality is a fluid reality. Slavery was legal too at one time, as was denying women the right to vote. Unfortunately, seeking redress of grievances takes time. In the end common sense and decency will prevail.
Pat Riot March 23, 2011 at 02:57 AM
The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It really is a simple concept. The government shall not deny someone the right to own a gun or carry a gun, in any place they have a legal right to be. The second grants no rights. It grants no rights. It does not give ANYONE the right to bear arms. It does not give anyone the right to carry a gun. It does not give anyone the right to buy a gun. It gives no rights to anyone. What it does, catch-a-wave, is prevent federal, state or local governments from making any gun laws that tell anyone that retains full citizenship that they cannot buy, keep or carry a gun in any place they have a right to be. It really is that simple. You are trying to force the government to pass laws that are illegal, unconstitutional, and wrong. Laws that get people killed. Laws that kill children, teenagers and adults alike.
Catch A Wave March 23, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Here's your simple concept: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." And a reactionary, right-wing activist, over reaching SCOTUS decided to ignore the militia portion of the amendment. Interesting isn't it that the founding fathers spelled it out in one sentence rather than two? If their intent was not to connect the right to bear arms to a militia, a fifth grader knows that the amendment would have been written this way. "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Period. Eventually, when a court majority is seated that actually allows the constitution to speak for itself rather than interpret it according to their beliefs, things will change. Just like slavery. Just like a woman's right to vote. Patience is a virtue.
Catch A Wave March 23, 2011 at 04:16 AM
By the way, I saw this article and was wondering if any Open Carry members were there marching? Anyone who posts here in the photo? http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me--skinhead-20110320,0,5783098.story

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