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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Council Holsters Firearms Dealers; 'Gun Nuts' Outgunned by Vocal Emeryville Citizens

A duel over proposed gun regulations Tuesday ended in victory for proponents of regulation.
Rules keeping children out of a proposed firearms store, and requiring the owner to bar felons and those with mental health issues from employment were tentatively approved Tuesday after a tense and well attended meeting. A final vote is scheduled to occur next month.
The ordinance was approved after language regulating the sale of ammunition was stripped from the proposal. Officials were told that such language could expose the city to a lawsuit.

More than 50 out-of-town gun zealots stormed the meeting Tuesday night intending to foil the proposal through force of reason and numbers. But they were countered and disarmed by a wall of unified Emeryville residents arguing in favor of the modest regulations. The issue rose to prominence after a proposal to open a firearms and ammunition retailer on San Pablo Avenue---next to Emery High School---emerged.

In all, 50 people from out of town thundered against the ordinance while 27 mostly Emeryville residents, spoke in favor. One Emeryville resident was against the ordinance. Gun law opponents argued that federal and state laws already regulate firearms and thus municipalities can't add their own restrictions. Yet, many in the group acknowledged that other businesses are regulated in Emeryville. Proponents insisted that the proposed ordinance went no further than ordinary rules binding other types of businesses. Gun rights advocates meanwhile insisted that gun stores must not be regulated in any way.

Verbal tactics employed by those opposed to the regulations mainly centered on threats of litigation peppered with many disrespectful insults directed at the council and residents. In a bizarre moment, charges of racism appeared; one gun enthusiast noted that the council is "white" and admonished them for taking guns away from "black people".

The thrust of the pro-gun argument was that the ordinance prohibits gun stores in Emeryville and that infringes on the second amendment to the Constitution.

City Attorney Michael Biddle, who has been chided in the past for his low caliber legal work that has repeatedly ricocheted into costly verdicts against the city, reminded attendees that the proposed ordinance does not prohibit any gun stores from opening. Mr. Biddle maintained that the proposal is a limited and reasonable set of guidelines gun store owners must abide by. Police Chief Ken James has likened the proposed gun store regulations rules already applied to other businesses such as catering trucks and massage parlors.

Gun lobbyists were partially successful with warnings of an impending lawsuit. The council ultimately approved parts of the ordinance pertaining to guns sellers but removed language regulating ammunition sales. Mr Biddle cited a letter from an attorney representing the gunners that made reference to a pending high level case in another jurisdiction as reason to postpone the ammo part of the new ordinance. The council agreed that exposure to lawsuits from pro-gun groups was not something to trifle with. The meat and potatoes of the ordinance however remained intact.

Heat and Light
The gun enthusiasts pre-meeting web based conspiracies to intimidate residents and others amenable to the ordinance failed. Their expectations of cowering and outnumbered proponents seems to have been the gunner's Waterloo. They expressed dismay at the large resident turnout and the heavy police presence at the meeting. They had planned a program of highly visible up close photo taking of speakers as a means of further intimidation but were met with residents with their own cameras. No one it seems was intimidated.

The council is slated to resolve this issue at the meeting on April 6 at City Hall with a second and final vote. The gunners have proclaimed their intentions to ramp up their presence at that meeting.


  1. So does it seem likely that the person who wanted to open a gun store on San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville will still do so, and comply with these regulations? Or do we think he is going to look for greener (less limited) pastures elsewhere?

    Because I wouldn't see it as a great victory for Emeryville residents if the former is the case. That's still mighty close to our school children, even if there are some protections.

  2. 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. Shouldn't these right to bear arms people also be part of a militia, and if so be in Afghanistan or Iraq right now? Out of our harm's way.

  3. Yeah.. The proposed gun store is defeated because they can no longer employ mentally unstable convicted felons to sell guns to children.. way to blow their business model out of the water.

  4. I don't think these meager regulations on a gun store will be enough to stop such a store from opening on San Pablo. Can't we just ban them outright? I mean we ban certain other establishments we don't want so why not gun stores?

  5. This blog is hilarious! It looks like the 'gun kooks' have run away.

  6. Ahh... Always nice to see someone who lives in fear of being responsible for himself projecting his own fears and inadequacies on others.

  7. I didn't see any documentation that anyone did actually apply for a business license for a gun store. the staff report was kinda vague on that. I don't think that a specialized store like that in that area makes much sense just from a business standpoint. But if it is just a hypothetical gun store then I don't see any upside to passing a ordinance that doesn't have any practical effect, since there aren't any gun stores in town now that it would apply to. Seems like the city is caught in a battle between two ideological opponents, one pushing the city to pass these ordinances and the other promising to sue it they do pass it. If nobody actually applied for a gun business license why get into a big expensive legal hassle for nothing? Of course some politician might score some political points over it but I don't see anything in it for the city. Kick this can down the road!

  8. Well, there's that but also maybe it's a good idea to not knuckle under when somebody threatens you. Maybe public policy shouldn't be held hostage to threats of litigation, after all anybody can threaten that. Maybe we shouldn't give special privileges to gun stores by virtue of the fact that they're gun stores. Maybe we should hold them to the same standards as we do other businesses. Just a thought.

  9. It looks like not ALL of the gun kooks have run away.

  10. FYI somebody recently approached the Planning Department and expressed interest in opening a gun store on San Pablo Avenue and wanted to know about the city's regulations about it. That caused an emergency halt to an approval until the council could make regulation decisions. So to have 'kicked the can down the road' would have resulted in the gun store being approved (so long as other incidental regulations were abided by).

  11. Who, specifically, approached the Planning Department? Any documentation?

  12. I think we need to again show up on April 6 to support the council. The gun nuts are going to put heavy pressure on them to scrap the ordinance.

  13. Brian, maybe blogs are 'supposed' to be 'agendized.' If not, however, when I read about things in your blog that I do know something about and I read your exaggerations about the topic, it makes me worry that I cannot trust your reporting on things I know little about, but have til now trusted your reporting on those subjects. I think I'll stop reading the Tattler.

  14. To Mr Anon-
    You were directed by your controllers at Calguns to not respond to this blog. Why are you disobeying your controller at Calguns? The Tattler has been forbidden by the controller. You're not even supposed to be reading the Tattler. I really think you should stop reading the Tattler before you get into trouble. Your controller knows what's best for you.

  15. 1. I am a veteran of the United states Air Force.

    2.Roadrunner was my call sign

    3. No, I won't tell you what I did, it's still classified.

    I've been exposed to countries that have some pretty crappy governments that care more about their control over their people and less about their citizens freedoms. One of the many ways they control their people is by taking their subjects means of resistance from them, that being private ownership of firearms.

    I'm going to make this short and sweet, I challenge you to Google "Gary Mauser" and "Simon Fraser University". Once you do that, search through the research and read these published studies regarding crime and firearms in countries like England, Canada, Australia, and the United States. I won't give away the findings, if you really think you are so open minded and so intelligent, find the reports and read them. I'm tossing down the gauntlet and daring you to pick it up. Do you have the courage to discover the truth, or are you one of those that is of the mind, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up." Maybe you are one of those that let someone else make your mind up for you. Perhaps the people of Emeryville are just sheep that follow the leader without thought. Perhaps the people of Emeryville are just lemmings. Surprise me and read the studies.