Moratorium proposed to stop new gun store

Turner's Outdoorsman's plans to open a store in San Carlos were stopped by fierce public opposition and a City Council moratorium.

Above is from the website of Turner’s Outdoorsman.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The debate over gun control, which has heightened after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, is playing out in San Carlos with the City Council considering a 45-day moratorium that would stop a new gun store from opening.

The moratorium, if approved by council tonight (Nov. 13), would give City Manager Jeff Maltbie more time to research what regulations the city could impose on gun stores, according to a report to council from City Attorney Greg Rubens, Community Development Director Al Savay and Maltbie.

About a dozen residents asked the council at its Oct. 23 meeting to impose a ban on gun stores after they learned that Turner’s Outdoorsman, a chain store with mostly Southern California locations, is planning to open at the end of November at 1123 Industrial Road.

“San Carlos is a family town, and adding a second gun store is worth a discussion,” San Carlos resident C. Erin Friday said at the Oct. 23 meeting.

Turner’s Outdoorsman, which sells other gear aside from firearms, would be less than a mile away from the two other businesses that sell guns in San Carlos — Imbert and Smithers, at 1144 El Camino Real, and a private seller, Equity Arms, which meets with customers by appointment only at 1100 Industrial Road.

Vice Mayor Matt Grocott said both he and Mayor Bob Grassilli have met with representatives of Turner’s Outdoorsman, who have emphasized the company’s safety program. Grocott said he was told by Turner’s representatives the company goes “above and beyond” what’s required for gun stores in terms of safety and surveilling customers.

The Turner’s representatives also said they cater their stores to demand in the community, and if not many guns are sold, they scale back their inventory, Grocott said.

Residents sound off

Both Grocott and fellow Councilman Mark Olbert have said their email inboxes have been flooded with emails from residents. Some who have written to the council aren’t even San Carlos residents. A handful of Menlo Park residents sent their thoughts on the matter.

“I simply cannot believe that you want this store in our community. The mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, and Newtown were all carried out with assault rifles like the ones on Turner’s website. Soon these weapons of mass destruction will be available for sale in San Carlos,” wrote Menlo Park resident Nick Taylor.

But some have written in support of the gun store:

“While I’m far from being a conservative or gun enthusiast, I believe in the rights provided to all Americans by ALL of the amendments in our great constitution. We do in fact have the RIGHT to bear arms. While we live in a very liberal area of the nation that believes in strict gun laws, I believe we should focus on enforcing those regulations rather than prohibiting people the opportunity to purchase a perfectly legal item,” wrote resident Kate Fayngersh.

‘Last minute attack’

The California arm of the NRA, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, issued a statement calling the moratorium discussion a “last minute attack” on Turner’s Outdoorsman, after the company has worked with the sheriff’s office and the city’s planning department to open a store.

“NRA and CRPA will be submitting letters of opposition soon in regard to this arbitrary and discriminatory attempt to keep a legitimate retailer from opening in the city of San Carlos,” CRPA’s statement said.

Other moratoriums

However, this moratorium, is not a unique response by a local government in California. Both Santa Cruz County and Los Gatos placed restrictions on gun stores in 2013.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight (Nov. 13) at City Hall, 600 Elm St.