California has an interesting relationship with firearms to put it lightly. Since the Supreme Court of the United States turned down a challenge to California’s “may issue” permitting scheme/scam, declining to hear Peruta v San Diego, a lot has actually changed. Through activism and working with Sheriff Gore, some of the landscape in San Diego has changed, with more concealed carry weapons licenses being issued. That is not to say that Peruta would absolutely get the relief he sought when he challenged the law in the present day, but many law abiding citizens in San Diego County are now being issued permits, when in the past they would not.
As reported in a press release from San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), some interesting things are going on. At a recent city council meeting on April 6, 2021, the council voted on an ordinance concerning “Police-Regulated Occupations and Businesses.” The ordinance is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses either not paying or not able to pay the fees associated with business inspections. From the text of the ordinance:
Introduce and adopt an emergency Ordinance pursuant to Charter Section 295 enacting a temporary deferral of fees and the extension of permit renewals for police-regulated occupations and businesses, due to the state of emergency resulting from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Fair enough, the council not only sees the fiscal burden placed on these businesses, but they are addressing it. But before we start singing our praises for the council’s actions, members of SDCGO quickly identified an amendment that was added to the ordinance during the meeting:
Motion to amend the ordinance by interlineation to include, “That this ordinance does not include fees and permit renewals associated with firearms dealers regulated under Article 3, Chapter 3, Division 42.”
From the press release, SDCGO has some commentary for the councilmembers at large:
The San Diego City Council surprised everyone with a vote to raise fees on gun shops and ranges, but exempt everyone else. The City of San Diego forces the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) to run a money-grab scam. The SDPD is forced to inspect certain types of businesses like massage parlors, strip bars, and gun shops.
Is San Diego City Council playing favorites among industries? Yes, it can be argued that business such as massage parlors and strip bars have suffered to a greater extent during the pandemic, while gun shops have flourished. If that is the motivation behind not exempting gun shops from the raise in fees/deferral, the council should address that, and do so very publicly. Further, this should act as a clue to not only San Diego, but the rest of California, that firearms are very much so in demand and perhaps their policies towards the right to keep and bear arms should be adjusted to be more freedom oriented.
The fact that gun shops are even subject to such inspections by the city of San Diego should be called into question in the first place. As pointed out, our takeaway is this:
The SDPD isn’t doing anything of any substance, and gun shops are already thoroughly inspected by the California’s Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This inspection by the SDPD adds nothing but fees. Most cities in San Diego County, most cities in California, and most cities across the country have no requirement, process, or procedure for local police departments to inspect gun shops.
With firearm related industries already being so closely scrutinized by both the state and federal government, I’d have to agree, this scheme is just another “money-grab scam”. The council’s amendment to exclude the firearm industry from the same relief that a go-go bar would get certainly makes this clear, or at least should raise some eyebrows on their motivations. Beyond treating firearm related business as second class industry in this particular instance, these added inspections and fees should be scrutinized, in particular the constitutionality by the further restriction of the Second Amendment via bureaucratic fees.
I reached out to Michael Schwartz, the Executive Director of SDCGO and this is what he had to say:
The San Diego City Council has gotten so extreme that they don’t even hide how anti-gun they are. They truly do not reflect the people in their district, but, unfortunately, they reflect those who showed up to vote
How did they flesh out the amendment? According to SDCGO the council voted:
…8 to 1 to waive those fees for every type of business except gun shops. This was proposed by newly elected, anti-gun Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera (District 9). The lone vote against targeting gun shops was from Councilman Chris Cate (District 6). Thank you Councilman Cate for your vote and for keeping SDCGO informed.
San Diego County has grown since Peruta and a lot of really good work has been done to educate those in power about the importance of the right to keep and bear arms. Suspect actions like this one must be called out. As 2021 continues to forge on, with the Second Amendment being attacked from several angles, I don’t think the policy makers that are pushing for more restrictions are going to have the outcome they want (besides restricting rights and usurping the 2nd Amendment)…After the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 1994, which then Senator Joe Biden drafted, was enacted, the anti-freedom crowd did not do very well in the midterms. I suspect the upcoming midterms are going to have a similar outcome. American citizens are becoming more freedom minded by the day, and the woke cancel-culture needs to come to terms with that.