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Friday, March 12, 2010

Special Interest Gun Zealots Barrage Emeryville City Hall

Full Scale Assault In Campaign To Kill Local Rule

News Analysis

It's gone viral; gun toters are waging war on our town. So far it's just been a war of words fortunately. What's at stake is Emeryville's ability to orderly plan and regulate how business is conducted, a crucial task at City Hall since Emeryville began, in the nineteenth century.

Gun enthusiasts, alerted by the NRA and other gun groups from all over the state are threatening to inundate our town with lawsuits if the council votes to regulate gun shops like they regulate all manner of other business in town. The council will discuss the issue on Tuesday night at City Hall.

The council members have been hit with a blizzard of letters and e-mails ranging from outright threats to pleading. Many of the e-mails, directed from a firearm friendly Internet site have taken a hostile tone. "I've been barraged" Council member Jennifer West exclaimed. Council member Nora Davis has chagrined some of these gun enthusiasts by simply asking if they reside in Emeryville. Aware of this vulnerability, the pro-gun is pouring over records to see if they can get any actual Emeryville residents to join the fray.

Chief of Police Ken James questioned the logic of the anti-regulation side, "We regulate every business in some form or another in Emeryville. Their point is that we are unduly regulating them (the gun dealers), but the proposed regulation is not any more onerous than the regulation we currently have on card rooms, cabarets, massage parlors, catering trucks or taxi cabs" he said.

This campaign, if successful will limit our town's ability to regulate other businesses like adult bookstores and even fast food restaurants. This goes right to the heart of the sovereignty of our town; should we be able to regulate businesses who's unfettered practice we deem detrimental to our vision we hold for our own city? If the city council gives in to an angry mob of outsiders here, it's easy to see how other businesses will make arguments for questioning our ability to regulate them as well. They would have a point.


  1. Great photo! Pretty much sums it up.

  2. Learn the facts. This is LCAV's attempt to keep firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

  3. Do the big firm lawyers from LCAV who authored this ordinance live in Emeryville? My bet is they live in places like Mill Valley, Piedmont, and Lafayette.

    Those big firm lawyers work for LCAV for free. Will their big firms defend Emeryville for free if Emeryville gets sued because this ordinance passes? The Emeryville budget allocates ~$450,000 a year for litigation. San Francisco is on the hook for about that much for tangling with NRA lawyers over LCAV supported nonsense. Can Emeryville afford such a fight? Considering Emeryville is running somewhere around a one million dollar deficit before engaging in an unnecessary court fight I'd say letting this ordinance die is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

  4. Yes, more regulation please, comrade.

  5. Yeah sure Brian, you sure sound like a gun owner all right! You probably have as many guns as I have Abrams Tanks. Keep keepin it real Brian!

    Back to your point, "regulating" of an entire industry to make it so prohibitive that they have no chance of success in your city is not mere "regulation", it's prohibition in disguise.

    I would love to find out exactly what you think is wrong with California State and Federal regulations of firearms dealers that you feel the need to add to them with LCAV's "regulation"...cough...prohibition model. California already regulates it's firearms dealers more than any other state in the country.

    And for you and your ignorant police chief to compare a gun dealer to massage parlors, gambling establishments, fast food restaurants, etc is total slap in the face to our Bill of Rights and Constitution, the one he was allegedly sworn to protect (before he apparently sold out)

    There is no guaranteed right to "happy endings", poker games, or cheeseburgers in this country.

    A much more comparable, and less disgusting, analogy would be if the City of Emeryville took out an ordinance that virtually made it impossible for attorneys to open law firms in the city or a newspaper to conduct business there.

    I'm sure that would go over real well, wouldn't it?

  6. I can take a lot, but it's hard to take some Bush/McCain backing republican telling us we gotta deregulate, now after Bush got finished with us. " It's gunna work sooner or later, trust us". Jesus these gun guys are frickin' idiots.

  7. Hey! Isn't that the photo from the movie "Young Frankenstien??? Guns are Great! Regulations Suck!

  8. Mr 'Comrade' is spouting off the same old republican mantra that "government is bad". This is designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. Sorry there guy, I'm middle're advocating public policy (or lack of it) that's not in my interests. I want the government to protect me and my family.

    The saddest thing about this though is that the republicans don't actually believe it. They're believers in crony capitalism. Bush doubled the deficit. Those guys are into pay to play corruption and stick it to the American taxpayers.

  9. How will the proposed ordinance protect anyone? The only people it will inconvenience are the guy who wants to open a gun store and add to Emeryville's tax base and the law abiding gunowner who wants to shop at a gun store in Emeryville. Criminals, by definition, don't obey the law. They don't buy their guns and ammo legally. They don't use them legally.

    The proposed ordinance isn't about public safety. It's about a bunch of wealthy out of town lawyers pushing their anti gun agenda on Emeryville in a misguided effort to keep a small businessman from opening shop.

    Can Emeryville afford costly litigation?

  10. You're being mighty presumptuous there bud. How do you know it's criminals that we're trying to keep away? Ever stop and think maybe it's gun buyers that we might not like?

  11. These are the guns I own:
    -Browning 22-250
    -Springfield .30-06
    -Winchester .30-30

    Oh, and the .30-30 lever action carbine is a pre '64 know without those cheesy rolled pins. It's worth quite a bit of money.

    These gun zealots, readying themselves to descend on our town with their threats and intimidation, are so deluded and filled with hubris they can't even imagine how someone that is a gun owner might not agree with their overwrought fanaticism. They see two types of people; human trash and gun owners. Because I disagree with them, there's no way possible I might own guns since that would cause them to question their whole dogma.

  12. Real Americans are sick and tired of being told that they're sick and tired. We need to stand up for what's American and what's a load of rubbish.

  13. "What's American" is to speak truth to power and to stand up against bullies.

  14. How about "real Americans" being for local rule...States Rights and all instead of out-of-town special interests groups ramming their issues down the throats of the people? These gun guys are into 'activist judges' if the judges are ruling their way. They love the idea of powerful central control imposing its will on local municipalities as long as they're in control, otherwise its all fake platitudes about Jefersonian democracy. These gun people are true phonies.

  15. Anon -

    Would this "real Americans for local rule/States rights" thing also allow municipalities to restrict the voting rights of disfavored minorities?

    - or did you not REALLY mean to advocate that?

    -oops.... ;-)

  16. I just don't like my rights infringed.

  17. Brian D. Just because you own guns does not give your opinion any credence. Many noted and proclaimed gun-haters also own them. Just because someone owns a gavel, does not qualify as a Judge.

    Just to set the facts straight, it is not the policy of our city counsel these "gun nuts" are attacking. It is the OUT OF TOWN special interest serving lawyers they are after.

    Just because they take on a fancy peaceful name, their actions speak for themselves. LCAV does not respect our laws and are pushing an agenda that is foreign. They need to be booted out of town, covered in tar and feathers.

    Emeryville should not be another test case/lab study for LCAV. ABAG has a potential of doing some good things, but they are letting LCAV spread and embed its tanticles deep into ABAG's core.

    Facts above are undisputed. Proof is provided in an e-mail from the City Attorney/Michael G Biddle to Chief of Police/Ken James - Dated 02/22/10 at 1:11PM where they are discussing a model ordnance from LCAV. Why is Emeryville even associating with any organization associated with LCAV. Why is MICHAEL G BIDDLE, the city attorney wasting tax payers money (by spending his time) going over "proposed model ordnance" from a special interest / political group? How is this serving Emeryville Citizens?

  18. The only special interest involved here is LCAV.

    How many of LCAV's supporting firms have offices in Emeryville? How many of LCAV's directors live in Emeryville? LCAV wrote the ordinance in question. LCAV spoon fed it to Emeryville.

    The City Council is meeting in closed session Tuesday to discuss the threat of litigation posed by the LCAV ordinance. Will LCAV staff be present?

  19. I looked into the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) after reading this blog. The pro-gun people here are saying Emeryville shouldn't pass this ordinance because it is derived from LCAV, an out-of-town group. I don't think this is a cogent argument. Virtually every ordinance we pass is derived from other ordinances that other cities and group have done previously. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, in fact it is preferred since taxpayers don't have to pay to reinvent the wheel with each ordinance. These out-of-town gun people are trying to conflate two mutually exclusive concepts. There doesn't seem to be intellectual honest going on here.

  20. "If the city council gives in to an angry mob of outsiders here, it's easy to see how other businesses will make arguments for questioning our ability to regulate them as well. They would have a point."

    Interesting point that you made in the quote above about the outsiders influencing the city council.

    Emeryville: A Great Place to Work, but I Wouldn't Want to Live There

  21. Anon - The objection to the LCAV ordinances isn't that they're an "out of town" group. It's that the ordinances are (1) stupid, (2) likely unconstitutional, (3) going to cost the City a bunch of money in litigation costs.

    LCAV has a losing record regarding litigation. They lost in Heller, they lost on Incorporation in Nordyke, they lost in Fiscal. They're going to lose in McDonald, too. Every one of these cases costs the governments trying to uphold these ordinances tons of money. And when they lose, they have to pay the Plaintiff's fees, too!

    So - you really have to ask why. Emeryville has a very low violent crime rate, especially compared to the cities on its borders.

    Gun-rights law is particulary dynamic at this time. What's the harm in waiting until McDonald is decided in June? Why is there such a rush?

    There's only one thing that's for sure in this case - If Emeryville enacts these measures, they're going to get sued, and lawsuits are expensive.

  22. To Fareed-

    FYI, the only reason I gave an accounting of my guns (in the e-mail above) is because some people are stating in this comment section categorically that I'm against any regulating of gun dealers in Emeryville because I'm not a gun owner and that I wouldn't understand.

  23. Also, I'm not a 'gun hater' as you say. Nor am I a 'gun lover'. Guns are tools, like hammers. I'm not a 'hammer hater' either.

    If someone wanted to open a hammer shop in Emeryville, I'd want to make sure thought that they were regulated like other stores. I defer to the Chief of Police in this and the elected officials...there should be regulation, but not onerous regulation.

  24. Do you mean the Chief of Police who doesn't live in Emeryville?

    The one who says that gun stores should be regulated like taco trucks? (clearly implying that every burrito is only delivered after an FBI background check)

    That Chief of Police?

  25. "Chief of Police Ken James questioned the logic of the anti-regulation side, "We regulate every business in some form or another in Emeryville. Their point is that we are unduly regulating them (the gun dealers), but the proposed regulation is not any more onerous than the regulation we currently have on card rooms, cabarets, massage parlors, catering trucks or taxi cabs"

    Mr. Donahue,
    Something for you to consider, when was the last time you had to submit a fingerprint to use any of the above quoted services? The last time you bought a hammer,which arguably could be considered a lethal weapon, were you required to give out your drivers license, home address and a finger print?

    Would you not consider it an invasion of privacy to have to submit all of that personal data for something you have described as a "tool"?

  26. To the readers-
    Th fingerprinting requirement the commenter refers to (above) is NOT a part of the ordinance that is on the agenda on Tuesday night. The fingerprinting requirement for gun purchasing already exists and is required statewide.

  27. So, it seems that the anti-gun outsiders are basically just threatening a bunch of frivolous lawsuits as a means of blackmailing the City Council into doing what they want. Sounds like 21st Century Democracy to me!

    Here's hoping the Emeryville Council listens to their constituents, not the special interests.

  28. The people of Emeryville think common sense regulation is warranted for gun dealers in our town. Police Chief Ken James has never been considered a radical, he's seen as reasonable. The fact that Ken James supports this will work against the gun kooks. You outsider gun guys have an uphill battle in front of you; you've got to make the people think Ken James is some kind of radical.

  29. I have to laugh at the comments that refer to us civil rights activists as republicans. In fact, we mostly identify as libertarians. We value liberty above all. The NRA is not trucking us in from Kentucky. We live in the Bay Area. I majored in US History at UC Berkeley. You cannot choose pick and choose from people's civil rights that your morals may or may not agree with. Would I ever encourage anyone to kill a child in their womb? No. Would I defend your right to choose to do so, to my death? Abso-frickin-lutely.

  30. I live in Emeryville and will be at the Council Meeting this evening to speak up as a constituent for this regulation...wearing something nice enough that I don't break someone's camera. Not intimidated.

  31. The March 15, 12:40 PM commenter was spot on! The pro-gun people are using the fact that the LCAV organization is from out-of-town to blunt the points made about how they, the gun people are from out-of-town. This is just a tactic. The whole thing is immaterial. What's material is that this ordinance is reasonable and proper. It's precisely what government ought to be doing.

  32. What fools the anti-gunners are! They think the Police will protect them. Oh wait, the Police are getting laid off and the prisoners are getting released early. When seconds count the Police are MINUTES away. Every City and State that has passed laws to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns has had an immediate reduction in crime! The punks aren't so tough when they have to worry about armed citizens. Don't listen to the Brady's or the LCAV, check the figures with the Dept. of Justice, etc.

  33. Barbara Boxer had a CCW and guns. Do you?

  34. Hope the City passes the ordinance, so that the NRA can take it to court and further build legal precedent in defense of the 2nd Amendment. Emeryville(and SF before it) is working right into their hands.

  35. This is not just about Emeryville, it's about draconian laws being concocted by LCAV and incrementally shoved down the throats of gunowners outside of Emeryville. It's about Emeryville being used like lab rats so that LCAV can show examples of cities that have enacted these idiotic laws. If every individual in Emeryville was a hoplophobic nut job that was insanely afraid of firearms, and this ordinanace only effected you, I'd ignore you and let you exist in your own ignorance. You want to live in a gun free zone, where only criminals and cops have guns, that's your choice. I couldn't care less about whether your raped robbed or murdered. If you have no regard for your own safety, then why should I.

    But It's not just about Emeryville. It's about things like your antigun Chief of Police going to Sacramento and supporting even more restrictive gun laws. It's about changing the mindset of Californian's and show them that the propaganda that antigun politicians and their lap dogs like Ken James spew are lies. It's about showing Californian's that 80% of the United States have right to carry laws that don't infringe on their citizens rights to carry a firearm for self defense. It's about showing Californian's that a majority of states allow open carry of firearms that are LOADED, yet no one is injured.

    Face it Emeryville, you are being lied to by your public officials so that they can retain power over you. You are the sheep and they are the wolves. If you're raped, robbed, or murdered, publicly they will mourn your death until they are tired of it. Then it will be business as usual. They have no responsibility to protect you, and I guarantee, that none of them will be there while you are being attacked.

    So, listen up Emeryville, to me, you're not that important. If LCAV was doing this in another city, we would be there. I'm fighting for my rights. If you have any dignity in you, you would be fighting for your rights as well. Beyond that, if you want to be like sheep to the slaughter, be my guest.