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How Legitimate Are Los Gatos' Anti-Gun Shop Petitions?

At least one petition has more than 830 signatures, but critics say initiative's original language said gun retailer would sell automatic, assault weapons, which are banned in the state.

On the Change.org website, a petition with 19 signatures asks the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce to: "Remove the Gun Store in Los Gatos."

The petition, started by Los Gatos resident Max Swisher, states that gun retailer Templar Sports "is endangering to the nearby neighborhoods and gives youth access to firearms."

It then encourages signees to ask the Chamber "to revoke the license of the new Gun Shop in downtown Los Gatos at 611 University Ave. The shop will give youth the access to firearms and will endanger surrounding neighborhoods."

It is illegal for minors to purchase firearms in the state.

On the gopetition.com website, a similar effort began Jan. 12 and had more than 830 signatures as of Tuesday evening. Its main language: "I do not support a gun shop in the town of Los Gatos."

The petition's target is Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector. It states that , less than two weeks after the Dec. 14, 2012 tragic shootings in Newtown, CT.

The petition's creator is Shannon Susick, who lives in unincorporated Santa Clara County.

"In addition to the poor timing and lack of community knowledge or public hearing, the zoning and licensing permits for this gun shop selling weapons and ammunition were approved without due process," the petition language states.

"We are requesting full public disclosure, hearing and review by the Planning Commission. Please help in stopping the gun violence in our nation by action here in our home town," the petition continues. "It is the very least we can do to honor & support so many who have lost their lives or loved ones and to ensure safety and peace in our community."

Critics say both petitions show the ignorance, misinformation, and manipulation behind the anti-gun shop contingency in and out of Los Gatos. They say the gopetition.com effort wording originally read: "I am opposed to selling automatic weapons in Los Gatos."

State law, however, has restricted the sale of automatic or assault weapons for 20 years, just as it requires all gun purchasers to undergo fingerprinted California Department of Justice and FBI background checks. In addition, purchasers must take a written test and demonstrate safe firearm handling. Minors are prohibited from purchasing any weapons and California has the longest wait periods in the country—10 days—to obtain a weapon.

There's been a lot of criticism of non-Los Gatos residents who support Templar Sports. However, opposition to the gun store is now coming from non-Los Gatos residents as well.

One of the signees and promoter is Saratoga resident Rishi Kumar, a former member of the Saratoga Planning Commission and founder of the Saratoga Cares Foundation. He also runs an annual Bay Area talent competition “Saratoga’s Got Talent.”

On Feb. 7 he sent a email to his friends explaining the gun retail controversy in Los Gatos, telling them that the shop had opened "right on the route to schools and Vasona and Oak Meadow parks, near the bocce ball restaurant, an area frequented by kids and families."

Many of the supporters of guns at the first Los Gatos Town Council hearing about the issue on Feb. 4, Kumar wrote, were "imported" from other areas around the state.

"We need more local people to speak out against having a gun shop in our midst. The shop is NOT a sporting goods store, as they implied in their permit application. They sell only guns, ammunition, and a few fishing rods," he wrote.

Critics also say there's no way to determine if one person signed the petition a dozen times due to the inability to track the authenticity of each signature.

Hundreds of gun shop supporters have also petitioned the Los Gatos Town Council members and the town itself in support of Templar Sports through a one-paragraph letter that was copied and then signed by Los Gatos residents.

—For comprehensive coverage of Los Gatos gun retailer Templar Sports' opening in town, please see our topic page by clicking here.

Tia February 22, 2013 at 07:33 AM
Anyone with knowledge history to educate us lesser mortals, due to our lack of 2nd amendment and gun knowledge, please provide input. 1) What does it cost a town, if any, to service an event stemming from gun violence? Single, couple, multiple… wounds, death. 2) Does a town have to bear/ share any cost for any major devastating event stemming due to, guns, parts and accessories, sold from its town? 3) Is a town required / recommended to carry any liability policy to that effect? 4) If yes, what would be the summed cost to the town? For the benefit of 2nd amendment and guns, I sincerely hope the answer to all these questions are in the negative. So towns need not have to contemplate between current cost and future costs. As per Los Gatos weekly, “retroactive action against Templar could lead to litigation, a staff memo warned”.
Phillip Salfen February 22, 2013 at 08:44 AM
Tia, Buy a shotgun! Would Biden's statement make MORE sense, to you, if stated by Obama? Buy a shotgun, and if the recoil is too much for you, your partner, your husband, your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your son OR your daughter....blame the VP. It was HIS idea. Or, don't buy a shotgun and complain when you have a home invasion and the police don't show up for 12 minutes..........or so. LE is NOT there to protect you. Protecting yourself, and your family, is YOUR job. Not theirs.
CJ Butcher March 01, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Yeah, Buy a shotgun: http://thegunwire.com/blog/youtube-video-buy-a-shotgun-joe-biden-lying-ar-15/
justsomeguy April 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM
You know, someone handed me a petition to sign to get the jews out of the neighborhood, being that they drink the blood of gentile infants on holy days. Seriously, when are the lies and histrionics going to stop? It is a legitimate business, selling legitimate merchandise (and guns ARE sporting goods by the way) to peaceful, law-abiding, adults and following all the laws and procedures on background checks. I think some of these people would be a lot happier if a NAMBLA store front and kiddie porn shop opened up.
D. Walker April 16, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Justsomeguy, You do make a point! :)

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