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Los Gatos Gun Store Opponents Protest Saturday

Small demonstration took place this weekend outside Templar Sports, 611 University Ave.

Several opponents of the new gun store, Templar Sports, that opened in December at 611 University Ave., protested peacefully Saturday against its operation.

A Los Gatos police dispatcher confirmed that "more than a handful" of protesters picketed along University Avenue this weekend, but no police patrols were sent to the area.

"They're not breaking the law," the dispatcher said. "Protesters, as with anybody else, have a right to voice their opinion on something and so they can be out there as long as they are keeping the peace. They're allowed to be out there. They're not in violation of any law."

She continued: "They have a First Amendment right to be there."

This was the third organized protest against the business. and Dec. 29.

Residents are upset that the business was allowed to open in town without a conditional-use permit and they don't like its location being close to a thoroughfare heavily used by youth, across from a ballet studio, 100 yards from Oak Meadow Park and the main path for kids going to and from Daves Avenue Elementary and Fisher Middle schools.

Los Gatos Town manager Greg Larson has explained that retail enterprises are allowed as a matter of legal right under existing zoning at that location, which is not in the central business district (i.e., downtown) nor a residentially zoned property.

"There are no existing requirements in the town code for a conditional-use permit or any other discretionary approval for this retailer at that location. Consequently, there is no existing authority by which town staff, the Planning Commission and/or the Town Council could deny the operation of this retailer at this location. Future retailers could possibly face additional restrictions or processing requirements if the Town Council so amends the town code, but those changes could not be applied retroactively to this existing establishment," Larson said in a statement issued last month.

Proponents and opponents showed up in equal numbers at a Dec. 17 Council meeting to discuss the issue with government officials.

Michelle McNutt January 14, 2013 at 04:47 PM
And I don't know what photos these are, but they are certainly not photos of the protest on Saturday. What's going on here????
Michelle McNutt January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM
And finally, I work on University and have for 8 years. I almost NEVER see children walking along the street in this area. Certainly not going to or from school. "Heavily used by youth". No, that is simply wrong. I encourage the editors of Patch to do a little research and get the facts right. I am disappointed.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Hi Michelle, they're file photos of the Dec. 22 protest. Thanks!
Michelle McNutt January 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM
We learned that there was a "gun show" going on in San Francisco this weekend. We learned that even at gun shows in California, it is against the law (felony) to do what is called a private sale. So on federally licensed dealers are allowed to sell at the shows and even then, in California, they must follow the same detailed procedures. It is also a felony for someone from California to buy ANY gun in another state and bring it to California without the same background checks, fingerprint, waiting, etc. Again, I feel manipulated. Ms. Sanchez, why hasn't all of this been reported? Only stories about protests, and protests for things that are already in place? I want to believe you are not supporting a particular perspective and that you are doing "fair and balanced" (and not FOX news style) reporting, but honestly, it is difficult to see if that is true.
AR January 14, 2013 at 06:01 PM
to be fair, many people opposed to this store are fully aware of the assault weapons ban that began in california in 1989, as well as the longstanding use of background checks. why do you think that becoming aware of these issues somehow nullifies opposition?
AR January 14, 2013 at 06:03 PM
you weren't manipulated, you were uninformed. most everyone else interested in this issue is well aware of existing laws
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Michelle, Los Gatos Patch supports the open exchange of views, even views I may not agree with. I strive to distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. I've been "reporting" on this issue as it develops. Haven't had a chance to write a story explaining gun laws in the state of California, although it's a great idea.
Michelle McNutt January 14, 2013 at 07:05 PM
That certainly was not true for those of out there Saturday. The majority had no idea these strict laws were in place. Like I said, half even left after the meeting with the manager. None of the people at my work down the road knew this.
Michelle McNutt January 14, 2013 at 07:07 PM
I don't just think it is a good idea. I think is a bit irresponsible that you have not had a chance to do it considering how many stories you have written about this. Please don't get me wrong. I want to trust a local news source. I hope in the long term Patch is able to be a reasonable source of local news, not sensationalism.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 07:17 PM
We also strive for balance and objectivity. We don't editorialize on these issues. We are neutral and are trying super hard to be fair to both sides. I met with the owner of Templar Sports on Friday and he declined an interview then. I think he may reconsider and I will definitely try to explain gun laws in the state of California in the next story. Thanks for reading!
Jess B. Guy January 14, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Sheila, If you recall I invited you, several weeks ago, to sit down with me and go over the federal and state laws relating to firearms and ammunition. I also made this offer to one of the protest writers. Neither of you took me up on the offer. Jess B. Guy
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 14, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Thanks for the invite, Jess B. Guy! Much appreciated. Trying to figure out the right sources for this info.
GARY PRICE January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM
If you dont think you need a gun in life then you better watch a couple of shows on TV called I SURVIVED or PANIC 911. Or dont and hope you are not next for an attacker or home invasion. Keep the blinders on and waste you time protesting. Good luck on a battle you will never win.
barbara ferry January 14, 2013 at 09:09 PM
I went in to Templar Sports to buy fishing line. Fishing line appeared to be pretty much the ONLY non-gun related item for sale. I am fairly certain that the owners were saying it was a sporting goods store, but I don't think it qualifies as one, really just a gun store.
AR January 14, 2013 at 11:11 PM
paradoxically, everyone here using their real names to establish their credentials as a gun owner is probably increasing their chance of being burgled...guns are one of the most commonly stolen items for obvious reasons.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz January 15, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I don't think that the problem is the gun. It's what the People decide to do with it.
Brian Hickman January 15, 2013 at 01:06 AM
The fact that a large percentage of the protesters were ignorant of the actual facts should not surprise anyone. That seems to be par for the course in most protests. It takes far less effort to get emotionally caught up in a cause than to establish an educated opinion as to its merits. That being said, I respect the rights of both sides of any issue to peacefully protest, whether or not based on a sound understanding of the underlying facts. I'm glad that some education took place in this situation.
Michelle McNutt January 15, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Not true at all. I walked in. Immediately inside the front door were dozens of fishing poles. The wall to the right was covered with nets, lures, and fishing supplies. This is why I used the word manipulation earlier. First it was a store that was doing "bail bonds" "check cashing" and "massages" and "only selling assault rifles." There is a calculated, deliberate campaign of untruths going on and the people behind it are capitalizing on the emotion under assumed names.
Esmée St James January 15, 2013 at 06:16 AM
I don't like guns, period. They have a way of getting into the wrong hands and people get shot to death no matter what the regulations and restrictions are for purchasing them. I've been at the wrong end of a gun and I'm pretty sure the persons in possession of the guns didn't fill out any forms or take safety lessons. It's not about the gun shop in Los Gatos, it's about the fact that guns have become such a huge part of America's culture.
GARY PRICE January 15, 2013 at 06:29 AM
Guns are here to stay so find a gun friend if youre not into guns, buy yourself a small caliber .22 or .380 and learn how to shoot, lock your gun up, and have a good accessible combo safe. If you don't ever have a gun or can carry a gun you will never ever be in a gun fight, you would just be in a shooting. Fortunately I left California and can own every gun ever made and can legally carry a concealed weapon. In Calif criminals must love it knowing that 99% of their victims will be unarmed. How criminal friendly Calif is. In other states, there is a good chance others next to the criminal are packing a weapon. Silencers and automatic weapons are legal if you pay a $200 ATF tax and wait 6-9 mths for approval. Life is good outside Calif. 151 people died in 2011 by AR Rifle type shootings while 196,000 died by medical malpractice. It is a better return on investment working to ban medical practices killing people.
Esmée St James January 15, 2013 at 06:44 AM
It is fortunate you left California.
Amie Sue January 15, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Thanks for the info Gary! Ouch Ms.St. James?
Doug Hamilton January 16, 2013 at 02:21 AM
No true Assault weapons, OK but Assault STYLE weapons are legal in direct contradiction to the statement above. See the "AR-15" that is CA legal below BUSHMASTER PATROLMAN AR15 A3 .223/5.56 , CA LEGAL, 16" W/A3 CARRY HANDLE, BULLET BUTTON 10 ROUND CA MAG MANUFACTURER NO: 90880 ITEM #: 604206908803 More Items From: Bushmaster 0 REVIEWS | WRITE A REVIEW DETAILS SPECIFICATIONS AR-15 Patrolman A3 .223/5.56 16", Black Finish, A3 Carry Handle, Bullet Button, 10 Round Mag, California Legal! CA Compliant BFC-15 Patrolman''s A3 - CA Compliant Bullet button configuration. Features chrome lined barrel. Fitted bird cage style suppressor. A3 type removable carry handle. Picatinny type rail base. Flat-top upper receiver. Non-reflective mil spec hard anodized aluminum receiver. Shipped in lockable, clamshell hard plastic case and instruction manual. 10 round CA approved magazine.
Michelle McNutt January 16, 2013 at 05:03 PM
So labeling by the way something looks? There is a reason that assault weapons are banned. Because of the way they operate. What they do. Who would decide what things are banned by the way the look, not operate? Why are people not putting energy, passion, emotion into illegal firearms? Illegal possession of firearms? Keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals? Creating laws to severely punish those who continuously use firearms. Funding mental health programs to protect those with mental health issues and thus protecting ourselves? Keeping guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence? Every day CRIMINALS and the mentally ill use firearms in senseless acts of violence. The FIRST task of our society is to keep us and our children safe. We can't put this off any longer. We must put the focus on where the problem really is.
Esmée St James January 16, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Yes, keep guns away from criminals. Is more severe punishment effective? See Amnesty USA stats on death penalty and deterrence: http://bit.ly/W0AcSZ "The threat of execution at some future date is unlikely to enter the minds of those acting under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, those who are in the grip of fear or rage, those who are panicking while committing another crime (such as a robbery), or those who suffer from mental illness or mental retardation and do not fully understand the gravity of their crime." - http://www.amnestyusa.org Statistics from Smart Gun Laws on gun deaths and injuries in the US: http://bit.ly/10cwngS "1) Where guns are prevalent, there are significantly more homicides, particularly gun homicides. 2) A federal government study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six. 3) On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels." - http://smartgunlaws.org/ Could we: 1) Reduce the number of guns in our country. 2) Use more restorative justice http://bit.ly/S3X83l to effectively lower repeat offenses rather than more severe punishment. What we have been doing to prevent gun deaths & injuries is not working. The solution is to make big changes in how we approach the issue. Else we will never see different results.
Michelle McNutt January 16, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I am disgusted that an online petition was altered after being signed by 90 people The original text stated that it was to stop a store from selling automatic weapons. Machine guns! More manipulation. The text has now been changed to say not supporting this store. Vandalism. lies, and scheming. Petition author Shannon Susick, you should be ashamed. Talk to your elected representative, Mike Wassreman. Living in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County, you're not even a voting resident of Los Gatos.
Esmée St James January 16, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I used the death penalty only as an illustration of the severest punishment for crimes, not to discuss the death penally. My apologies to have confused you. Educating gun owners on gun safety and proper storage is a great idea. Doing and enforcing this successfully in a nation where 88.8 out of every 100 owns a firearm is an even more daunting, if not impossible task. We are the most heavily armed society in the world... per the Washington Post http://wapo.st/SLiRPc. Starting at the source by reducing the number of guns in the US would be common sense. Change is frightening to all but this change could make a real difference.
KMD January 18, 2013 at 06:15 AM
This much ado about nothing. Last check we still have the right to bear arms and stores have a right to sell them.
Tia January 29, 2013 at 04:43 PM
The Los Gatos patch, quoted the town representatives statement with regards to Templar sports, which would be selling guns. "There are no existing requirements in the town code for a conditional-use permit or any other discretionary approval for this retailer at that location.” Firstly, this raises the question was a loophole created by using some creative zoning manipulations. Secondly, this indicates that a loophole was very calculatedly exploited, in 5 ways: 1) Requesting/ selecting a location 2) In which town staff, the Planning Commission and/or the Town Council had no existing authority to deny the operation of this retailer. 3) It did not require adequate public notice and approval procedures 4) Cannot be granted restrictive or conditional license 5) Lastly cannot be touched retroactively though otherwise brown act provides provision for it. Begs the question who and what can be trusted?
lovelafayette February 19, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Years ago in Lafayette, Ca Payless Drugs rented a small building next to the main store to an "antique" gun dealer. It was a legal use but residents were pissed. We took photos of gun customers (they HATE that!), we picketed, BUT the most effective action was a threatened boycott of the landlord Payless! No more gun store! Does the gun dealer own the building? If not consider pressure on the landlord. Watch carefully and photo document criminal activity. Lafayette then went on to pass an ordinance that Danville may want to adopt: http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16435 Lafayette had an infestation of brothels (19) euphimistically called "Asian Massage," with customers coming from all over! We had no ordinance regulating massage. Now new 2012 ordinance requires state massage license, legit businesses are licensed, police stings and pimps and hos arrests continue. LPD arrested johns for parole violations, child molester in wrong neighborhood, but most johns unfortunately not charged. Danville must decide what kind of businesses fit, and outlaw the ones you don't want, BEFORE they move in. If you decide you don't need brothels then you could borrow our new massage ordinance as well!

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