Anti-gun city buys gun store

Anti-gun city buys gun store
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

There are a lot of communities out there that are pretty anti-gun. Most are large, urban areas but many others are smaller communities that surround the large cities. Places like Culver City, California. Located in Los Angeles County, they aren’t fond of guns or gun stores.


In fact, Culver City has restrictions on where gun stores can be located, somehow thinking that gun store locations lead to school shootings.

One store, however, was grandfathered in because they were already close to an elementary school. The city didn’t like it, but what could they do?

Recently the store went up for sale and the city took an interesting step to deal with it. They bought it.

It seemed like an unlikely, but effective, resolution: To keep another gun store from opening up in Culver City and replacing one that was shutting down, city officials decided to buy the controversial shop itself.

The Martin B. Retting gun store along Washington Boulevard, emblazoned with a huge mural of a rifle and the word “GUNS” painted in oversize letters, had operated in the city for 65 years. In recent years, it drew mounting objections from some parents and residents in light of a spate of school shootings across the country and its proximity to an elementary school, even after the city clamped down on firearms dealers near schools. Grandfathered in and allowed to continue operating, it could have transferred those rights to a new owner.

With a $6.5-million price tag, the cost was “on the high end” of commercial real estate in the area, city staffers said during the Sept. 11 meeting where the City Council voted to buy the store, but parents and gun control advocates argued the price was worth it to stop another gun store from taking its place.

“It’s high, but it is an investment in the safety of this community and our kids,” said Megan Oddsen, a member of Culver 878, a group of residents and parents who advocate for local gun safety measures.


While it’s not explicitly spelled out, the city doesn’t intend to keep the store in operation. They just want to make sure no other store can go in that location and be grandfathered in because they bought an existing business.

Not everyone is thrilled with the move, though the LA Times doesn’t quote anyone with a pro-gun argument against the purchase. That’s hardly surprising, though.

Some figure the city overpaid for the property, which they may well have. Many aren’t concerned, figuring it’s a small price to pay to prevent kids from getting guns or something–as if kids can walk into a gun store and walk out with a firearm like it’s a soda from a curb store.

City officials have tried to claim this is really an investment, that the city bought an asset. That only works if they can sell it for more than they paid for it, which might not be possible if the price was too inflated.

Either way, the idea of an anti-gun city buying a gun store struck me as amusing, even if their goal is still horribly misguided.


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