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.