Proposed Scotts Valley Firearm Retailer Ordinances
What follows is the Odd Stuffing article I intended to post Monday morning. I decided to delay it out of respect for the victims of the horrific attack in Las Vegas. I also decided to posted it today as I refuse to allow a psychopath dictate my or anyone else’s agenda.
Some will no doubt say that arguing against gun control following a mass shooting is insensitive to those who perished. But as we’ve already seen, while the victims were STILL BLEEDING, the anti-gun elitists are already calling for increased gun control measures, using this incident as the their justification.
I present this edition in its unedited form and have added a supplement as the circumstances have changed due to the events in Las Vegas.
At this Wednesday’s (October 4, 2017) Scotts Valley City Council meeting, the Council will be asked for guidance on new firearm retailer ordinances for the City of Scotts Valley. The police department is presenting three options, one of which is already in place. I am stating my opposition to the two new options as currently presented.
A little history on Scotts Valley’s firearm retailer ordinances:
The original Urgency Ordinance was passed on September 2, 2015, establishing a temporary 45-day moratorium for new firearm business licenses. It was the result of concerned citizens discovering there were four firearms retailers in the city and a fifth was in the process of being established. An initial attempt to regulate current and future retailers with a wide-ranging licensing ordinance, which in effect zoned the entire city out of bounds, appropriately failed. A much simpler local licensing proposal, in addition to requiring video and alarm systems, was successfully implemented and the zoning requirements were pushed over to the Planning Department. Extensions to the Urgency Ordinance moratorium put the end date out to September 1, 2017.
With no notice or fanfare, the Urgency Ordinance has come and gone. Also gone are three of the four firearm retailers and one ammunition manufacturer/retailer, also subject to the new ordinance. It should be noted that the much-hyped fear of mayhem and anarchy on the streets of Scotts Valley as a result of four firearm retailers did not come to pass. I am only aware of one incident, an attempted break-in to one of the retailers, thwarted by the owner’s alarm system.
Three proposals are now being presented for guidance by the police department. A link to the City Council agenda item is below.
1) Maintain Existing Ordinance (Ordinance №190), Enforcing Additional Firearm Dealer Security Measures
2) Amend Existing Ordinance (Ordinance №190) Requiring a Police Department Safety Inspection to Impose Recommended Safety Measures as Necessary
3) Implement a Conditional Use Permit
Option 1 continues with the current ordinance of enforcing additional security requirements, namely alarm and video systems. While this is a requirement of the City, all of the four firearm retailers at the time already had these installed. In fact, most businesses have these systems and I don’t know a single firearm retailer of all I have seen across the country who doesn’t. 30 years ago this might have been a huge requirement, these days this ordinance basically states what has long been an industry standard practice.
Option 2 begins to selectively add some of the local discretionary standards to firearms retailers. The police chief, or his designee, can impose any amount of recommendations, which must be complied with. As with the Senate Bill 464 (Firearms dealers: storage and security), currently sitting on the California Governor’s desk, the additional measures could be extraordinarily expensive for small business owners.
I’ve never spoken to Chief Walpole and that is clearly my own fault. As such I have no idea how he feels about the Second Amendment or firearms retailers in Scotts Valley. We also have no idea what standards he is planning on applying to his inspections. It’s possible he could mandate hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars of security improvements, some of which may not even be possible for those who do not own their property, essentially pricing small business owners out of business.
Any responsible firearm retailer is going to fully cooperate with their local law enforcement officials and actively seek their advise on local criminal activity and methods to make their property less of a target. However, allowing the City to write a blank check on the retailers account is not an effective way to run a business. Even when wielded with discretion, unlimited authority is a dangerous thing.
Option 3 introduces significant bureaucratic and cost overhead to any potential new firearm retailers. By imposing a conditional use permit application, the City has unlimited discretion to approve or deny a new firearm retailer’s application based on ‘fit’ to the community and perceived impact to the surrounding properties. The notification portion of the process also ensures the NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) will present a popularity contest to the Planning Commission to determine if a legally responsible retailer should be allowed to operate, simply because they do not like firearms and don’t believe they should be allowed in the community.
Subjecting a potential firearm retailer to the conditional use permit application process, for no other reason than the product the retailer is selling is objectionable to some in the community is nothing short of discriminatory. What other types of retailers are required to go through this process because of personal objections to the products they sell?
While the proposal is presented to the City as having no direct costs to the City as the additional expenses will be covered by fees paid by retailers, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The additional costs to small businesses, which are already paying significant Federal, State and local fees, security and insurance costs to operate their firearms business, could be substantial. The City cannot ignore the impact to this business community.
As with most cities, Scotts Valley puts out its City Council agenda items with the trash on Friday at 5 pm, as the City offices close, meeting the legal requirements for public notification but allowing minimal time for constituents to question city officials or prepare a response.
Over the weekend I sent urgent requests for assistance to the CRPA (California Rifle & Pistol Association), NRA ILA (National Rifle Association — Institute for Legislative Action), the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) and Michel & Associates. Due to the extremely short time frame, it is unlikely any of these organizations will be able to help in advance of the City Council meeting… So this leaves me.
As a resident and business owner in Scotts Valley, I diligently monitor the City Council agenda items. With the sunset of the Urgency Ordinance, this was expected. I personally take this very seriously as it impacts the ability of people to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And as someone who operates a firearm related business in this city, I cannot ignore the systematic increase in restrictions and regulations of an industry that operates legally, yet is consistently blamed for unlawful activity.
In what will most assuredly lead to a significant you-owe-me debt, I convinced my wife to speak on my behalf at the City Council meeting as I am out of town for training. For three minutes, she will be standing alone reading my statement to object to singling out firearm retailers for discriminatory scrutiny and regulation.
I don’t ask for things very often and then it is just to be a responsible firearm owner and good example to your family and the community, but this is a special occasion.
If anyone who cares about the Second Amendment and their ability to purchase firearms in Scotts Valley — or in California generally — is available to attend the Scotts Valley City Council meeting this Wednesday, my wife could certainly use the support.
Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and the horrific loss of life in Las Vegas, there is the possibility this may cause emotions to run rather high against someone arguing against gun control. As such, my wife does not feel comfortable going into this meeting alone and delivering her testimony to the City Council.
Sadly, I concur. In an age when the so-called non-violent are known to be exceedingly violent towards anyone who doesn’t think the way they do, I don’t wish to put my wife in a position were she will deliver an anti-gun control message and have to leave by herself in the dark.
In lieu of her speaking in person, we will be sending what I wrote for her to the City Council, City Manager and Police Chief via email. I will post what I am sending on Wednesday in advance of the meeting.
I still strongly encourage anyone to either attend in person or send in his or her comments to the City Council. This is too important of an issue to keep to ourselves.
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