The powers that be in Redwood City, California are going to extraordinary lengths to keep gun stores from opening for business in their community, but while their anti-gun efforts may be making it more difficult for residents to legally acquire a firearm the prohibitionist policy is doing nothing to prevent minors from illegally accessing or using guns.
City council members in the Bay Area town first imposed a blanket ban on any and all gun shops last fall after two individuals submitted plans to open up federally licensed firearms retail establishments, and in the months since city officials have tweaked the original moratorium to make it less susceptible to a legal challenge while still preventing gun shops from opening almost everywhere inside the city limits. A proposal that would ban stores from operating within 300 feet of “sensitive places” is currently under consideration, and opponents of the gun store ban have repeatedly cited their concerns about kids walking past the stores on their way to school as a primary reason for their objections.
“It’s crazy talk. This is not DeSantis territory. This is where people who care about their children, and if you care about your children, you don’t want guns anywhere near your schools,” said Suzanne Fouché, a Redwood City resident who attended the Mother’s Day protest on Saturday.
Redwood City established a moratorium on gun and ammunition retailers last October after two prospective gun retailers applied for business licenses last year. One of the retailers, Dumpling Defense, applied for a permit to operate in Redwood City’s Roosevelt Plaza, which is within walking distance of Roosevelt Elementary and Kennedy Middle schools.
Many activists said they find the logo, which is a cartoon photo of a dumpling holding a firearm, objectionable. Ruth Robertson is a Palo Alto resident but regularly stops by Roosevelt Plaza to go to the gym and go shopping.
“I see the kids when they come out of school and that’s where they go to get their pizza and sodas… so they would be passing right by this gun store that has a symbol that is a cartoon character,” Robertson said.
Would they prefer a photorealistic dumpling holding a rifle instead? I’m struggling to understand why a logo is so upsetting to these activists, given that none of the kids they’re supposedly so concerned about can legally buy a firearm anyway.
It’s a moot point because as of right now, Redwood City doesn’t have any gun stores operating inside the city limits, including Dumpling Defense. What’s clear, however, is that the abstinence-based approach to gun sales isn’t doing much at all to actually keep kids away from guns. As the Palo Alto Daily Post reported on Monday:
A teenager put a gun in his waistband and accidentally shot himself, Redwood City police said.
Police were called to the area near the Marshall Street Garage, not far from the old courthouse, on Sunday night at 8:10 p.m. and found two teenagers in the area with “serious” but ultimately not life-threatening injuries, police said.
The first teenager, who is 15, suffered from a gunshot wound to his upper leg. Police suspect the gun fired when the boy put it in his waistband. However, the gun was not found. A friend of the teenager took it and left the area, according to police. What was found was a 9 mm casing.
A 14-year-old was found nearby with a stab wound to his upper back. Police currently believe that injury occurred in a separate incident from the accidental shooting.
Both teens were taken to the hospital.
This incident comes less than a month after four men and a 16-year-old boy were shot on May 7 while sitting on the curb drinking on the 400 block of Redwood Avenue. In that case, an unidentified man walked up to the group and began firing. All five were taken to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Not only did Redwood City’s policy on gun stores fail to prevent this teen from getting ahold of a gun and accidentally shooting himself in the leg, none of the dozens of gun control laws in place at the state level stopped him either.
The Second Amendment Foundation has been keeping an eye on Redwood City’s actions since the city council first imposed their moratorium on gun stores last fall, and executive director Adam Kraut told the Redwood City Pulse that litigation remains on the table if the city’s final ordinance goes too far in restricting the location of FFLs.
“It’s not that we don’t believe the city might have the authority to regulate where within city limits firearms can be sold…but a flat out ban would be unconstitutional,” Second Amendment Foundation Executive Director Adam Kraut told the Redwood City Pulse. “We’re moving to monitor what the council ultimately decides to do here and if they continue the moratorium or they implemented an outright ban, you know, we’ll go back to the drawing board here and evaluate our legal options.”
Regardless of what the Redwood City Council ultimately approves, restricting the rights of law-abiding adults to keep, bear, and acquire arms isn’t going to stop teens from illegally getting their hands on a gun. If that’s the goal of the proposed gun store ordinance it’s already failed, and it’s time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a solution that doesn’t involve chilling the exercise of a fundamental civil right or ignoring the repeated failures of existing gun control laws.