San Carlos City Council strives to make better gun regulations


Audrey Boyce

The planning commission presents their recommendations.

Audrey Boyce, Scot Scoop Editor

A brand new City Council took on the timely issue of firearm regulations in San Carlos on Jan. 14.

The topic of guns has caught the attention of many San Carlos citizens, especially since a chain store that sells guns, Turner’s Outdoorsman, applied to open a store in San Carlos. In November of 2017, a City Council meeting was held to discuss the proposed gun store; over 50 speakers attended the meeting.

After the meeting, the Council voted to impose a moratorium on permits for gun stores until May of 2019. Now, over a year later, the discussion of gun regulations is back on the docket.

“This is a significant issue for the community. It’s engendered more interaction between residents and the Council than I saw in on my 18 years on the school board; it’s good that we’re having that kind of discussion,” Mayor and Chair of the Council Mark Olbert said.

The study session kicked off with a presentation by the planning commission that shared their findings and recommendations.

They suggested taking actions such as requiring a conditional use and law enforcement permit for prospective gun stores. In addition, the commission recommended adopting zoning ordinance regulations to limit locations of firearm retail establishments.

“What I’ve been hearing is that there is an interest among many people to limit gun stores, so what I want to understand is, with this detailed proposal in terms of the different requirements, how confident are we that this goes far enough in order to ensure the community’s safety,”  Council Member Laura Parmer-Lohan said.

Vice Mayor Ron Collins asked if limiting the number of gun stores to two would lead to costly legal challenges.

“You could lose, you would be writing on a blank slate though.  I am not aware of any other communities that have gone down this path,” Attorney Peter Pierce said.

The next steps in the process are for the planning commission to draft an ordinance based on its study and feedback from the public and the Council. Members of the public at the meeting voiced support for the Council’s commitment to drafting a new ordinance in the coming months. A community survey conducted the City in 2018 showed that most residents support stronger local gun regulations.

“We don’t have to look back very far to see the tragedy of gun violence very close to our community. A high school student was gunned down in Belmont and left to die on elementary school property. I feel we currently don’t have the power to make changes at a federal level; I appreciate that our community and our residents are standing up at the local level,” said Natasha Melly, a community member.