San Carlos community debates new gun store


Molly Donaldson

Guns on display at Imbert and Smithers.

Molly Donaldson, Staff Writer

The potential opening of a new gun store in San Carlos has become a point of controversy within the community.

Turner’s Outdoorsman, a hunting and fishing chain store, was set to open in November of 2017 in eastern San Carlos. However, the opening of the store has been delayed due to concerned feedback from citizens.

“The announcement of a new gun store coming to San Carlos prompted a number of residents to petition the [San Carlos City] Council to do something to stop the store from opening. At the same time, other residents have come forward asking the council to allow the store to open,” said San Carlos Councilman Mark Olbert.

The tension surrounding the opening of Turner’s Outdoorsman has prompted the San Carlos City Council to debate a possible moratorium on the store’s opening, meaning that the store would not be able to open until further notice.

“If the moratorium is enacted by majority vote of the Council (at least 3 council members voting in favor), no new gun store would be allowed to open in San Carlos until the moratorium expires. The moratorium can be extended by a majority vote of the Council, I believe, for a maximum duration of two years,” said Olbert.

Moratoriums have been used before to delay the opening of certain establishments.

“This particular store falls under ‘permitted uses’ under our business permit ordinances, which means they only have to have a business license to open their doors. There is no Planning Commission or City Council approval required,” said San Carlos Councilman Ron Collins.    “However, there is precedent for the council deciding whether certain kinds of business are appropriate. At one time many years ago the council imposed a moratorium on new beauty salons in the downtown area as there seemed to be a proliferation of them.” 

Citizens have presented concerns about having two open gun stores in the city, the first being Imbert and Smithers on El Camino.  People debate whether it’s prudent for a small town to have two gun stores.

“I don’t think it’s good or bad because I think that it’s ok to own guns but there’s no need for two gun shops in one small city,” said Logan Meadow, a sophomore.

Imbert and Smithers is not intimidated by the prospect of another store opening. While both establishments sell guns, Imbert and Smithers takes pride in being a local shop where one can buy collector’s items or receive personal service.

“We’re not here just to put weapons out on the street,” said an Imbert and Smithers employee. “I would pay the extra money to buy [a gun] at the store that has knowledge and can help you. That’s the difference: the people.”

Many, including those at local gun stores, acknowledge the balance between the right to own guns and the necessity for safety around guns.

“I believe in the 2nd amendment. It’s a right,” said the Imbert and Smithers employee. “But it’s also a privilege.”

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