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.