California Mayor Wants To Use Zoning Laws To Ban Gun Stores

Carson, California Mayor Albert Robles has a bold idea to protect the citizens of the community in Los Angeles County: ban gun stores.

There are eight gun stores currently in the city; Robles said they would “eventually be shut down.” His resolution is before the City Council Tuesday evening.

If you’re going to claim that you can ban gun stores because state law allows cities to “prohibit… all things injurious to the public welfare”, why not go all out and try to ban gun ownership? Of course you’re bound to lose, but think of all of the sweet, sweet press attention you could get in the meantime.

While Robles doesn’t go quite as far as banning gun ownership, his resolution does take aim at legal gun owners as well as federally licensed firearm retailers by attempting to restrict where they could carry.

Prohibit the sale and possession of firearms on all City-owned property, including City Hall and other City-owned buildings and all City parks and recreation facilities, subject to exceptions for possession of firearms by law enforcement officers;

Given that there are only a few hundred concealed carry licenses in all of Los Angeles County, it would probably be easier if Mayor Robles tried barring the few concealed carry holders by name. “Bob can’t carry at City Hall” doesn’t have the appropriate amount of legalese, I suppose.

As for gun stores, Robles has big plans. He wants the city to look into what it would take to impose several new requirements on the existing gun stores in town.

  • Confine gun dealers to commercial zones, and require issuance of a conditional use permit for such uses;
  • Impose reasonable minimum separation distance requirements, preferably of a radius of one mile, between gun dealers and the following: schools, churches, day-care centers, recreation facilities, bars, liquor stores, and residential zones;
  • Provide for reasonable amortization of existing gun dealer land uses which are rendered nonconforming by the foregoing restrictions.

In other words, pass new zoning laws that would prohibit any gun stores from operating inside the city. I doubt there’s any one location in Carson, much less eight, that’s in a commercial zone and is more than a mile away from a school, a church, a daycare center, a recreation facility, a bar, a liquor store, or a residential area. If there are no locations that meet the zoning requirements for gun stores, then the gun stores go away. That’s the plan, anyway.

If Carson does approve this resolution at tonight’s City Council meeting and gun stores in the city are soon left homeless, I’m almost certain there’ll be litigation challenging the zoning laws. Unfortunately the 9th Circuit has allowed several other odious and onerous zoning restrictions to stand, and after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of Alameda County, California’s zoning restrictions, anti-gun mayors and city council members throughout the state are feeling emboldened to push the envelope even further. Carson may be the next California city to try to regulate gun stores out of existence, but I doubt it’s the last.