Fresno Mayor Wants City Hall To Be A Gun-Free Zone

Fresno, California Mayor Lee Brand thinks that legal gun owners should be disarmed before entering City Hall, and is proposing an ordinance that would make the building a gun-free zone. As the Fresno Bee reports, Brand’s proposal is getting pushback from some city council members and Second Amendment supporters.

New security measures including metal detectors went up at the entrance of City Hall in December, but state law still allows CCW holders to carry guns in the building. The proposed ordinance would add the legally concealed guns to the items not allowed through the front door, which includes pepper spray, pocket knives, multi-tools and stun guns, among others.

The proposed measure is ill-conceived, according to Councilmember Garry Bredefeld. “It creates an illusion that the building is secure. It is not,” he said on Wednesday. “It erodes the constitutional, God-given right for people to protect themselves.”

He’s got that right. I’m not aware of a single case where someone intent on doing harm was thwarted by a sign that said “no guns allowed.” Unfortunately, we’re all aware of cases where individuals have brought firearms into a gun-free zone and murdered innocent victims.

Bredefeld said the proposed rule would create a “gun-free zone” inside City Hall, making the building less safe. “Law enforcement can’t be everywhere,” he said. “They know that. We know that. Maniacs who want to cause harm know that.”

Brand said City Hall will be anything but a “gun-free zone” because security guards are armed, and the proposed plan calls for a number of armed officers to be on-site during business. The council paid for a study last year.

The mayor stressed he is a supporter of CCWs and introduced legislation in 2011 to allow more people in the city to legally carry guns. He said his new proposed law and other recent changes would help secure the building.

I appreciate the fact that Mayor Brand wrote the change to the city code back in 2011 that moved the city to more of a “shall issue” process for concealed carry licenses. It just seems odd to me that the mayor wants concealed carry holders to be disarmed before entering City Hall  when he himself has carried his concealed firearm while on the job, as the Fresno Bee noted in a 2017 editorial.

Brand, like Dyer, is a strong Second Amendment supporter. In fact, Brand, as a city councilman, wrote the 2011 change to the municipal code that loosened the rules for concealed weapons permits that had been in place for 16 years.

The new requirements gave the police chief the latitude to allow any citizens who are concerned about their safety to get permits as long as they are over 21 years old, reside in the city and have no criminal record. These rules also enabled the city to mirror Fresno County’s longstanding policy.

For the record, Brand, a concealed-weapon permit holder, on occasion carries his gun while conducting city business. He does so legally, having received permission from then City Manager Mark Scott in 2008.

The city council will meet on January 16th to discuss Brand’s proposal. Expect a huge turnout by gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, as well as opposition from at least two of the city’s council members.