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California: Pleasant Hill City Council to Consider Stringent Requirements on Firearm Sales

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Pleasant Hill City Council is scheduled to consider an ordinance at a public hearing this Monday, September 30, that would require all firearms dealers to obtain a police-issued permit from the City of Pleasant Hill in order to lawfully sell firearms and ammunition in the City.  Drafted by Mayor Michael Harris and Councilmember David Durant, this proposed ordinance seeks to formalize the procedure and requirements for obtaining such permits.

                                 

This proposed ordinance requires that, in addition to providing proof of compliance with all applicable federal and state licensing laws, permit applicants submit comprehensive information regarding the location and attributes of the physical property on which firearms sales will be conducted and extensive background information regarding the applicant and each employee of the proposed firearms business.  The Police Chief also would be given broad discretion to require additional biographical information as “is reasonably necessary for implementation” of the law.

 

This proposal introduces a set of at least 28 conditions to which permittees would be subject, including a requirement that any dealer engaged in the business of firearms sales must maintain an approved insurance policy.  Specifically, this ordinance would mandate that minimum insurance liability limits must not be less than $1,000,000 for each occurrence involving property damage, personal injury or death.

 

This ordinance also includes strict zoning laws mandating that the firearms businesses operate only in locations sufficiently far from residences, day cares, public or private schools, public parks, other firearms retailers, massage parlors and adult entertainment establishments.  Often times, such requirements zone the affected businesses out of existence or leave exceedingly few spaces for them to open and operate.  Outrageously, the development of new disqualifying residences or businesses may require existing businesses to shut down.

 

Most troubling, however, is that even those applicants that can meet these stringent requirements are not guaranteed approval of the required permit.  This proposed ordinance explicitly gives the Police Chief discretion to grant the permit – or not to.  Any member of the public can appeal the Police Chief’s decision regarding the issuance of a firearms sales permit.  And the City Manager or any Councilman may call for review.  As a practical matter, that gives anyone a voice to urge a veto and, ultimately, prevent any permits from being issued.

               

This proposal is a solution in search of a problem.  The City Council members who drafted this ordinance stated that they seek to “ ‘do no harm’‘ to the City’s existing firearms dealers, all of whom our Police Department previously reported to have operated without creating problems for the City.”  The net result of this proposal is that it will be extremely costly and difficult, if not impossible, for many otherwise responsible and law-abiding firearms dealers to obtain the required permit.  Ultimately, regulating firearms retailers out of existence in Pleasant Hill will burden your right to obtain a firearm.

 

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) submitted a letter to the Pleasant Hill City Council on August 19, 2013, opposing these proposed regulations.  The letter details the legal and policy issues with this proposed ordinance and explains that various provisions of the proposal unlawfully burden business, are preempted by state law and/or violate constitutional protections, such as the right to keep and bear arms.

 

The Pleasant Hill City Council needs to hear from you.  Please, call all Councilmembers TODAY at (925) 671-5267 and e-mail them at http://www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us/forms.aspx?FID=74 to let them know that you oppose this attack on your rights!

 

Michael G. Harris, Mayor

Jack Weir, Vice Mayor

Ken Carlson, Councilmember

David E. Durant, Councilmember

Timothy M. Flaherty, Councilmember

 

You can submit written opposition prior to this hearing by sending your letters and comments to 100 Gregory Lane; Pleasant Hill, California 94523 and you can voice your opposition at the public hearing on Monday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall.

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