There are no gun shops in Redwood City, California at the moment, and city council members want to keep it that way even if that means enacting a complete ban on their operation inside the city limits.
This week council members invoked the nuclear option after a pair of businesses applied to open up gun shops in the city, voting unanimously to impose a 45-day ban on gun shops while city attorneys investigate whether the city can make that ban permanent; a tactic that other anti-gun locales are likely to adopt… at least until courts step in.
One of the proposed gun shop locations is at Roosevelt Plaza, which is near Roosevelt Elementary School.
Katie Gaets, a parent who serves as Pastor of Woodside Road United Methodist Church in Redwood City, was among those who spoke in support of the ordinance at Monday’s council meeting.
“Just today a teenager was convicted of killing four people in a school shooting and two more people died in a school shooting in St. Louis,” Gaets said.
“One of the ways we can take a clear and definitive stance of no against such violence, is by taking a clear and definitive step away from firearms dealers in our local community.”
You don’t send an anti-violence message by making it harder for legal gun owners to protect themselves, which is exactly what this gun store ban does. California law already requires every would-be gun owner to go through a background check and twiddle their thumbs for ten business days before they’re allowed to take possession of their newly-purchased firearm, and every time they go and purchase ammunition they’re subjected to additional background checks.
If criminals obeyed the law, these restrictions might actually make a difference. Instead, according to the FBI California had the most active shooter incidents of any state in the Union last year. The real message that Redwood City’s proposed gun store ban sends is that city council members are willing to bend the knee to anti-gun activists at the expense of the rights of the law-abiding.
Unfortunately, as we discuss on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Redwood City isn’t alone in trying to curtail gun purchases. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is also considering a laundry list of new restrictions on current and future gun owners and gun store proprietors, and other communities across the state are taking aim at gun shops that are already in existence. In Torrance, for instance, the owner of Red Rifle Ltd. was originally given approval to move his shop from an industrial part of town to Torrance’s upscale Old Town neighborhood before activists complained and convinced the city’s Planning Commission to rescind the permit they issued to the store.
Now store owner Jack Brandhorst is appealing that decision, arguing that the city’s claim the shop is “incompatible” with the other businesses in Old Town doesn’t fly, and that there’s no reason in state or local law to prohibit the move to a better location.
“Red Rifle is a legal, reputable, long standing business that is not prohibited from opening in Downtown Torrance by any law, statute or rule,” Brandhorst wrote in his appeal, which was filed with a $750 fee on Oct. 11. “Thus, legally we should be allowed to move our boutique to Downtown Torrance.”
Brandhorst said in an interview that his store will only serve to elevate the area, with its high end products, personable customer service and smithing services. He said he takes stringent safety precautions, including all mandatory background checks, requiring customers complete a 30-minute gun safety lesson, requiring customers with children to purchase a safe, and securing all ammunition in store.
Former Councilwoman Maureen O’Donnell, one of the four residents who filed the initial appeals, said she remains steadfast in her belief that Old Town Torrance is not a safe location for a gun store.
“The gentleman is within his rights to appeal and we will go again and present our case before the council as we did before the (Planning) Commission,” she said.
“I think that the commission’s decision is the correct one,” she added. “I hope that the City Council will see the reasonableness of that decision and our position.”
O’Donnell also said that there are already 12 licensed firearms dealers in Torrance and that regardless of the safety precautions taken by the store, the owner cannot know a person’s true intent in purchasing a weapon.
If that’s her argument then I don’t know how O’Donnell would be okay with any gun being sold anywhere in Torrance, whether in the tony Old Town neighborhood or the grimiest part of town. Regardless of her hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms, it is a right that we’re talking about here, and one that by necessity includes the right to acquire a firearm as well as the right to keep and carry it for self-defense.
As many gun control restrictions are ruled unconstitutional in the wake of the Bruen decision, look for more anti-gun locales to set up as many hurdles as possible for new and existing gun store owners to navigate.
It might be restrictive zoning ordinances limiting gun stores to just a few acres of land in undesirable locations, as we’ve seen in Torrance, or it could be an outright ban on gun stores like the one Redwood City council members are hoping to permanently impose, but either way we have some major legal fights brewing over buying and selling the arms we have the right to keep and bear.