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Santa Clara, California Gun Ban Ordinance Defeated

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, the Santa Clara City Council was scheduled to adopt Ordinance No. 1863, which would prohibit the possession of firearms in city parks (with the only exception being for “peace officers,” no exception for unloaded open carry or for CCW holders).

But the item was withdrawn from consideration by unanimous vote of the City Council when Santa Clara City Manager Jennifer Sparacino raised legal concerns brought up by a letter received from National Rifle Association (“NRA”) and California Rifle and Pistol Association (“CRPA”) attorneys.  The City Attorney needed more time to review the case law mentioned in the letter. Until then at least, the item is off the agenda. But the city might bring the ordinance back. (The Agenda Report and Opposition Letter are posted at www.calgunlaws.com.

Seventeen years ago the NRA and CRPA joined forces to fight local gun bans being written and pushed in California by the gun ban lobby. Their coordinated efforts became the NRA/CRPA “Local Ordinance Project” (LOP) - a statewide campaign to fight ill conceived local efforts at gun control. The pre-litigation demand letter sent to the City of Santa Clara is the latest example of LOP’s efforts.

In recent years cities in California, and now in other states as well, have been bombarded with gun ban lobby anti-gun proposals, including proposed complete bans on the possession of “assault weapons” (where that term is defined far more broadly than under the state law) and “sniper rifles,” bans on magazines that hold over ten rounds, one-gun-per-month restrictions, ammo sales registration bureaucracies, “trigger lock” laws that prohibit many guns from being sold because no trigger lock exists that fits the gun, “safe” storage laws that would make criminals of those who keep a gun ready to use for self-defense, ultra restrictive zoning laws that put gun dealers out of business, gun show bans, oppressive gun and ammo taxes, and most recently, pending proposals to ban ammo sales entirely and to ban “ultra-compact” handguns (any gun under 6 3/4 inches long or under 4 ½ inches tall). (Several lawsuits challenging some of these ordinances are pending.). LOP has had tremendous success in beating back most of these anti-self-defense-civil-rights proposals.

In addition to fighting local gun bans, for decades the NRA has been litigating in California courts on behalf of its members and to promote the right to self-defense and the 2nd Amendment. In the post Heller legal environment, NRA and CRPA Foundation have formed the NRA/CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP). LAP is a joint venture between the NRA and the CRPA Foundation to advance the rights of firearms owners in California. Through LAP, NRA/CRPA attorneys fight in court against ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, and educate state and local officials about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Sometimes the chances of success are greater when LAP's litigation efforts are kept low profile, so the details of every lawsuit are not always released. But to see a partial list of the Legal Action Project's recent accomplishments, or to contribute to the NRA / CRPAF LAP and support this and similar Second Amendment cases, visit www.crpafoundation.org.

Finally, if you live in the City of Santa Clara, please consider calling your council members and thank them for making the right decision in pulling Ordinance No. 1863!

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.