Gun retail ban in Redwood City faces controversy

A gun owners arsenal consists of an M&P 15 and a stubnosed pistol.

Skylar Le

A gun owner’s arsenal consists of an M&P 15 and a stubnosed pistol.

Redwood City’s gun restrictions are forcing gun retailers to bite the bullet.

On Oct. 24, the Redwood City council decided to temporarily ban gun retail for 45 days, with the option of extending it for two years. 

“My customers and I have a right to bear arms,” said gun retailer Christopher Collins.

The gun ban resulted from public outcry when gun retailer Dumpling Defense applied to move into Roosevelt Plaza, 2135 Roosevelt Ave. 

This form, now closed, allowed concerned people to petition the city, urging them to pass the ordinance.

Some concerned parents pointed out that the gun store would be within walking distance of schools, putting the safety of their kids at risk.

“Near a school, that shouldn’t happen,” said resident Fabian Valencia.

The gun store would have been less than 1,000 feet away from schools.

Parents with students in K-12 expressed their level of concern regarding school shootings happening at their children’s schools. (Pew Research Center)

“We practice lockdown drills several times each year. What message would it send for us to do lockdown drills when guns are being sold almost right across the street?” said Principal Tina Mercer.

Roosevelt Elementary and Kennedy Middle School are not the only places close to the plaza. The city’s library, music academy, church, ice cream shop, and other kid-friendly areas surround the plaza. 

The effect of gun retail on other local businesses also concerned councilors. 

“Families have many choices for where they might go for ice cream and pizza. It would be unfortunate if they chose to take their business elsewhere,” said Vice Mayor Diana Reddy.

The council is considering restricting gun store locations as well as creating health and safety standards, specialized treatment for gun stores, and employee background checks.

“We’re not here to debate the Second Amendment,” said Mayor Giselle Hale. “We’re here to talk about where we want [gun retail] to take place.”

Although the decision ultimately concerned “land use,” gun owners like Roosevelt Plaza owner Maria Rutenberg argue that it violates the Second Amendment.

“This is going to be a national case. This is a big deal, and we’re not letting it go,” Rutenberg said.

Whether or not people are entitled to close gun access and the net benefit of gun retail is subjective; what isn’t subjective is that Redwood City is making headway into combating gun retail.

“There are definitely limits to where gun stores should be placed,” Valencia said.