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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.

Michelle McNutt February 20, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Thank you Ms. Sanchez for bringing this up. It was clear at both council meetings that supporters outnumbered protesters by a margin of at least 5 to 1. It is nice to see that you are pointing out the hypocrisy of the protesters and their methods of trying to falsely appear to be a larger group than they in fact are and that many of the protest leader organizers and promoters are not Los Gatos residents.
KMD February 20, 2013 at 05:39 PM
It is also true many non supporters are outside the community. Did you miss that part of the story?
KMD February 20, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Biden's solution hahaha http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-buy-shotgun-buy-shotgun_702989.html
Florian Andrade February 20, 2013 at 08:04 PM
In community supporters, like myself, also outnumber prohibitionists. Irregardless of that fact its hardly hypocritical sense the gun owning community in the Bay Area and California at large are a very tight nit community that supports one another. It was hardly hypocritical of the Freedom Riders from all over the nation to support civil rights in the south.
Phillip Salfen February 20, 2013 at 09:04 PM
"Critics say both petitions show the ignorance, misinformation, and manipulation behind the anti-gun shop contingency in and out of Los Gatos." AMEN!
KMD February 20, 2013 at 10:41 PM
amen amen! :-)
Mckenna Smith February 20, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Need to do this the old fashion way with paper signatures with names, addresses that can be verified. Online petitions are not credible. Put this to a vote of the people, or redo with e-signatures with typed names and DOB's & personal information.
Don Wolf February 20, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Sale of automatic weapons to civilians has been essentially illegal since 1934. That is by federal law! The continued misinformation and/or ignorance of the anti-gun people is not just present in Los Gatos, but even Obama used the term automatic weapons in his speeches. Unfortunately, I do not believe his use was out of ignorance, but rather consistent with his policy of misinformation and outright untruths. I saw many of my friends who live in Los Gatos, where I live, at the 2nd hearing and about 90% carried signs saying, "I support Templar Sports."
Jo Webb February 20, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Simply can't believe that dogs being allowed off leash was such a controversy but guns can be sold here legally! I'm a guest in your country but, seriously, some of your ideas are very strange indeed to us foreigners!
Tim February 21, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Congratulations to the Patch! Some real journalism demonstrated in Ms Sanchez's article. Looking for the truth rather than pushing an agenda. This is more than can be said for the conventinal media. Keep Up the Good work!!
FedUP February 21, 2013 at 04:08 AM
I am a 25-year resident of Monte Sereno, and I was at the Council meeting in which the Council members discussed their response to Templar Sports. What astonished me was that it was abundantly clear that each and every one of those Council members had made up their minds before the meeting even began. They were determined to do everything they could think of to harrass Templar Sports and make certain that no one ever again had the audicity to try to do anything with guns in Los Gatos. Particularly despicable was that Jensen woman. After they had delighted themselves by coming up with half a dozen ways they could attack firearms owners in Los Gatos, those arrogant, self-righteous morons felt they could lecture us on how wonderful this process was, how much they respected our 2nd Amendment rights, and how certain they were that we would all come together to support them. At that point I had to leave to avoid vomiting all over their nice carpets. If anyone wants to organize a recall of these statists, I'd be eager to help fund it.
Hans Johsens February 21, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Firearms sales are arguably if not factually the most heavily regulated and highly scrutinized item that can be sold by a small business in the United States. All of those children walking by the store on their way to school cannot even enter the store without an adult, let alone purchase a gun. Those very same kids can walk on over to Fisher Middle School and buy illegal drugs or alcohol on campus, it is no different than when I was that age decades ago. Remember shoulder tapping for beer in high school? Kids successfully employ this every day at liquor stores all over town. That is flat out not going to happen with a gun store,no matter where it is located. Having a gun store open in LG is no different than having a new newspaper, radio station or even place of worship open in town. If you disagree with what they are "selling", then don't buy their products. You have the freedom to make that choice.
Michelle McNutt February 21, 2013 at 05:30 AM
I believe this is only true of Steve Leonardis and Marcia Jensen. They are the ones to keep a close eye on and hold accountable.
briancaminada February 21, 2013 at 07:32 AM
What needs to be examined is the self- righteous Steve Leonardis. He had an agenda at the meetings, and was not professional enough to address his perceived/questioned conflict of interest with Templar Sports. He is an embarrassment to this town, and the hard working members of Town staff. His scolding of the staff leads me to believe that he must be a real joy to work with, if anything, these meetings have ignited my attention to attend and watch/listen to him speak. He appears nervous, mumbles, and has a hard time concentrating on the issue at hand, Heard he sells Real Estate. Oh That explains…His treatment of the Police Chief and Town Manager were uncalled for, and emarassing. Hope we dont see his clown suit at many more meetings. I have confidences in Mayor Spector. She is bright, Fun, Articulate and extremely intelligent, Barbara was a neighbor of many years, and I would never questions her work ethic, or commitment, and she is so smart, what she does not know she will learn the issues, Jenson.... the jurors out,,, Lots of baggage not sure about her thoughts. Trying to like her but not sure at this point, Just my thoughts, By the was I am one of those Evil gun Owners... I hunt, Trap, Fish, stalk wild animals. Process the meet in Los Gatos and give the meat to others in Los gatos, Sorry, I am not as refined as Sandy, but I do live in a big house in Los Gatos and Support Templar sports....
Phillip Salfen February 21, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I missed your question, "What are your thoughts on these types of petitions?", the first time I read this, So: I do not have any problems with on-line petitions, if they are factual. Which neither of these are. 1) Both referenced petitions are based on emotions and personal views, not facts. Mr. Swisher states that the Templar Sports location is "downtown". That would be the first time I've ever heard that area considered as "down town". The rest is nonsensical falsehoods, as are some of the reasons signers gave for signing. At least one signer signed it, for no other reason than, to state his profanity laced (In my opinion, not a way to be taken seriously.) rebuttal. One of the reasons, from a Santa Clara resident, is so full of......false statements and emotions it would be laughable, if not for the fact that people will/do actually believe her statements. "stop the gun shop", second petitioner, states “opened for business on 12/27/2012 less than 2 weeks after the tragic shootings in Newtown Ct.”. As if Templar Sports had a waited until after the tragedy in CT to apply for a business license and open its doors. And yes, there was "due process". Due process as was on the Town books at this time. 2) I also do not have any problems with them because they are totally meaningless and, without the ability to verify signatures, invalid.
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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