Governor vetoed a unanimously passed "Kirpan bill"
Los Angeles, Oct. 14, 2009
About 100,000 Sikhs in the Bay Area and about
700,000 nationwide were disappointed when California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a unanimously passed Bill
504. The California Senate Sept. 1 passed a bill that would mandate
kirpan (the ceremonial knives Sikhs wear) training for all police
officers in the state.
Warren Furutani assemblyman (Democrat ) Long Beach,
Politician introduced the "Kirpan bill" in California
assembly in Feb. 2009. Assembly Bill 504 would require law enforcement
agencies to offer training to their officers about the importance
of the small blades faithful Sikhs carry to remind them of their
religious duty to defend the weak and oppressed.
He said, "I am committed to carrying this legislation again
until this or any other governor signs it. I urge the Sikh community
to stand with me as we continue this fight."
He will re-introduce the bill at the earliest.
Many Sikhs carry A small sword or dagger, is an article of faith
for practicing members. It is often confused for a weapon by those
unaware of its religious significance. We know that 80- 90% of
police officers don't even know who Sikhs are.
On September 18, 2006 The New York Times reported, "Sikhism,
the world’s fifth-largest organized religion, has more than
20 million followers.
Los Angeles, OCT. 11, 2009
- LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 10/11/2009
LAST HIST. ACTION : Vetoed
COMM. LOCATION : SEN APPROPRIATIONS
COMM. ACTION DATE : 08/17/2009
COMM. ACTION : Senate Rule 28.8.
- Author: Warren Furutani (Democrat )
- TITLE : An act to add Section 13515.45 to the Penal Code,
relating to peace officer
Politician introduced "Kirpan bill" in California assembly
Los Angeles, Feb. 08, 2009
Karen/ Gary Singh, LA
Warren Furutani assemblyman of 55th District introduced a Assembly
Bill 504 that would educate police officers on how to properly deal
with Sikh people who carry "Kirpan" (blade). It is the
legislature's goal to promote education and awareness of the carrying
of the kirpan by Sikhs in California.
He would like see all Sikhs to be allowed to enjoy the same religious
freedoms as everyone else. This has nothing to do with a weapon
and it is a religious practice
After Sep. 11, arrests of Sikhs have gone up because of misunderstandings
- Baptized Sikhs are obligated by faith to carry a kirpan, a ceremonial
sword or dagger at all times
- They are required by faith to carry the sword and other religious
items, including a wooden comb and an iron bracelet. They also
do not cut their hair.
- "It's ceremonial, its decorative, but at one time it was
used to protect the faith, so to speak."
- It's part of their basic religious beliefs
- The Sikh community should not live in fear of arrest by law
enforcement for carrying the kirpan.
- The Sikhs are a vibrant, peaceful and law abiding part of our
His goal is to educate Police officers, not make it legal for Sikhs
- or anyone else - to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
They would require all peace officers statewide to be educated about
practitioners of the religion during basic training.
According to Zora Sing from Los Angeles, 20 sikhs have been charged
for carrying kirpan (small sword) but later on Judges dismissed
the case because of religious beliefs.
Warren Furutani is fourth-generation Japanese American and felt
that all Sikhs shall be allowed to enjoy the religious freedoms.
California has one of the largest Sikh populations in the country.
BILL NUMBER: AB 504 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Furutani
FEBRUARY 24, 2009
An act to add Section 13515.45 to the Penal Code, relating to
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 504, as introduced, Furutani. Peace officers: training.
Existing law establishes the Commission on Peace Officer Standards
and Training within the Department of Justice. Under existing law,
the commission is required to develop and implement trainings for
peace officers relative to certain areas of criminal law or
This bill would require the commission to create and make
available to all law enforcement agencies as part of basic training
training component on how to recognize and interact with persons
carrying a kirpan, as specified. This bill would define a kirpan
blade that resembles a sword and is required to be carried as an
integral part of the practice of the Sikh faith.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) The United States was founded on the core principles of
religious freedom, diversity, and equality for all.
(b) Sikh Americans form a vibrant, peaceful, and law-abiding part
of the United States community. California was one of the first
places that Sikhs settled in this country over 100 years ago. Today,
California is home to a large number of the nation's 500,000 Sikhs.
(c) Sikhs are mandated by their religion to keep five articles of
faith on or as part of their person at all times. These articles
faith are physical manifestations and reminders of core Sikh
spiritual values which include honesty, remembering God, and
providing service to humanity.
(d) The five Sikh articles of faith include the kirpan. A kirpan
is a religious article resembling a sword, which is integral to
practice of the Sikh faith. The kirpan is carried in a shoulder
known as a gatra, as mandated by the Sikh Code of Conduct. The
kirpan acts as a constant reminder to its bearer of a Sikh's solemn
duty to protect the weak and promote justice for all. The kirpan
also an allusion to spiritual knowledge that cuts through ignorance
(e) In the years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, Sikhs
have experienced an unprecedented increase in prosecutions for
carrying the kirpan.
(f) It is the responsibility of the Legislature to protect
religious freedoms, while ensuring public safety. Keeping those
obligations in mind, it is the Legislature's goal to promote
education and awareness of the carrying of the kirpan by Sikhs in
California when its possession is in accordance with an integral
of the recognized religious practice of the person carrying it and
there is a benign intent in carrying it.
SEC. 2. Section 13515.45 is added to the Penal Code, to read:
13515.45. (a) The commission shall, upon the next regularly
scheduled review of a training module relating to weapons violations
and cultural diversity, create and make available training content
how to recognize and interact with persons carrying a kirpan. The
training content shall be designed for, and made available, as part
of its mandatory basic training, to peace officers employed by law
enforcement agencies that participate in, and comply with, training
standards set forth by the commission.
(b) For purposes of this section, "kirpan" means a blade
resembles a sword and is required to be carried as an integral part
of the practice of the Sikh faith.
(c) The training course shall be developed by the commission in
consultation with appropriate subject matter experts. The commission
shall make the course available, as part of its mandatory basic
training, to California law enforcement agencies that participate
and comply with, training standards set forth by the commission.
(d) In addition to the duties contained in subdivisions (a) and
(c), the commission shall electronically distribute, as necessary,
training bulletin to law enforcement agencies participating in the
commission's program on the topic of the kirpan.