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Permit Granted For Los Gatos Gun Retailer Templar Sports

An opponent and a proponent of Los Gatos gun retailer Templar Sports during a Council meeting. Patch file photo
An opponent and a proponent of Los Gatos gun retailer Templar Sports during a Council meeting. Patch file photo
By a unanimous vote, the Los Gatos Town Council gave gun retailer Templar Sports, 611 University Ave., its one-year dealer permit, but not before imposing a financial penalty and other requirements that the business must comply with to continue operating in town. 

After about 20 speakers addressed the Council, including owner Robert Chang and his attorney Donald Kilmer, the Council voted to give the business the permit but asked for a $100 daily payment fee for the 32 days that the application was late in being filed.

It also imposed the following conditions for approval: 

  • A cracked window at the business must be replaced within 30 days, or earlier for public safety
  • The business must file its renewal application each year by Nov. 1
  • An indemnification agreement that holds the town harmless from and against claims, losses, costs, damages and liabilities related to the operation of the business 
  • A late $1,000 per day fee will be imposed next year if application for permit is not submitted on time
  • No employee with a marijuana conviction within the past two years may work at the store

The business' one-year dealer permit was required after the Council in February 2013 unanimously required it in response to public concerns regarding Templar Sports after it opened in December of 2012. 

The ordinance mandating the permit went into effect Sept. 5, 2013 and Templar Sports was required to file its permit application by Nov. 4, 2013. However, the business filed its permit application 32 days late on Dec. 6, 2013.

Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman and Los Gatos Director of Community Development Sandy L. Baily recommended that the permit be approved after they conducted their own business reviews.

Los Gatos Vice Mayor Marcia Jensen said: "Having heard the motion and the discussion and the assurances from the [town attorney] with respect to our indemnification agreement and adding a condition with respect to the replacement of the window and the comments from this Council as to the timing of the filing of the application and the inclusion of a penalty makes me believe I can be comfortable in supporting it because I think we've done enough to make sure that the ordinance that we worked so hard to put in place is going to get followed." 

Chang told the Council the business must safeguard its security measures for safety reasons. The comment came due to increasing questions from the public and town officials about its inside operations and weapons' sales.
 
"These are things a bank does not disclose. Any other type of business doesn't disclose. It's a public safety issue," he said. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has inspected the business three times and so has the California Department of Justice, Chang said, and no issues have been found. 

Also, a crack on the exterior safety glass of one of its windows is triple-laminated and is backed by high-grade steel bars stronger than what's required by local, state and federal law, making it difficult to penetrate, Chang explained.

The window's replacement will cost the business between $5,000 and $8,000, he said.

About concerns that the business sold a firearm to someone whom the town had obtained a restraining order against, Chang said the business didn't know the circumstances surrounding the issue. 

Chang said he was approached by the town and Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman to contact the customer to have her surrender the weapon. He said he gave the woman a refund and suffered a financial burden because of it. 

Chang blamed the lateness of the application filing to having taken a leave of absence due to a family medical emergency. 

He said in his absence, the store is run by two managers and Los Gatos/Monte Sereno police officer Todd Fleming, who's allowed to work there and is a partner when he's off-duty from the local law-enforcement department. 

The employees' names are being kept confidential due to privacy of personnel records. 

The business was also inspected by the LGMSPD on Jan. 15, town staff said.

A man from Morgan Hill, who spoke in support of the store, said he had visited the facility and was impressed with how well it was run and the friendliness and professionalism of its employees. "I made a purchase there ... I appeal to the Town Council to allow this business to thrive," he said.

Another speaker said he was disappointed by the opposition the store had received from town residents. "I always thought Los Gatos was better," he said.

Los Gatos resident Howard Spinner said although he was not a gun owner, he respected those who owned firearms. "As a business owner myself ... I know how hard it is in this economic environment to keep a company going, keep payroll happening," he said.

Michael Glow said he thought the business had misrepresented itself as a sporting goods store, when in reality it's a gun shop. "They are and always intended to be a gun shop. To try and cast themselves off as a sporting goods store is as ludicrous as calling themselves a women's accessory store just because they offer colored guns for sale," he said. 

A woman complained that the business has had the broken window for more than four months and that the security breach should have been addressed earlier. "How is the oversight of future sales being handled not only to protect town employees ... but other community members?" she asked. 

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Bob Rosenthal January 22, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Congratulations Templar. I hope you will be in business in Los Gatos for many more years.
Jillm January 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Congratulations Templar - even though it seems the city still imposed a ridiculous amount of penalties & requirements for you to do business. Best of luck & I too hope you will be around a long time!
Bob Rosenthal January 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Yes, it appeared to me that the council was scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for a reason to deny the permit. Just my opinion. Even after all responsible agencies recommended approval.
Dave M January 24, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Michael Glow apparently doesn't understand his own analogy. Guns are used in shooting 'sports'. You know, like, in the Olympics and stuff. Gun stores are then 'sporting goods stores', by definition. Stores that sell a single commodity: purses, or earrings, or scarves, or shoes, or whatever commodity (ooh, even pink, or evil black guns) are all women's accessory stores. Stores with multiple commodities (departments) that cater to women under one roof are called department stores, but they're STILL women's accessory stores. Some 'sporting goods stores' are also 'department stores', but that isn't a requirement, is it? And even if it is, Templar complies with that logic by also selling camping and fishing gear. Now, if supply / demand for products other than firearms and firearm accessories does not exist, who could blame them for discontinuing those products? You don't expect Sports Authority or Big 5 to continue to sell products that don't turn over regularly, do you? That's a bad business model in any industry.

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