Here is the text of what I said last night before casting my vote to impose a moratorium on the opening of any new store in San Carlos selling firearms or ammunition. FWIW, I did a bit of ad-libbing at certain points, because I don’t care to just read speeches.
Thank you, Mayor Grassilli.
And thank you, too, to all the people and organizations, both from San Carlos and outside it, who took the time to share their concerns, perspectives, ideas and thoughts on this topic.
Decisions involving firearms are always challenging, and always generate discussion and debate. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s quintessentially American. We are, after all, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Part of what makes firearm discussions complex is that guns, to my knowledge, are the only good or service specifically mentioned in our Constitution. That great guiding document does not protect the right to own a horse or a plow or an axe, even though each of those was as important as a firearm to the people who lived at the time the Constitution was ratified.
But that very uniqueness demonstrates that the Founders expected government to play a role in how guns are owned, used, bought and sold. Because otherwise they would not have mentioned them. Firearms are in a special category, not to make them immune to community regulation, but simply to require that government of the people take great care when designing laws and regulations involving guns.
This means it is perfectly reasonable, and Constitutional, for San Carlos to draft local rules and regulations involving firearms, subject to Constitutional constraints, and the limitations imposed by state and federal law.
But an important question is whether this Council should engage in such discussions.
For me, the clearest answer to that question is contained in the sheer volume of emails, phone calls, letters and personal outreach which have occurred, in a very short time, about the proposed new gun store. Whether they want us to take steps to stop the store from opening, control its location, regulate its operations, or simply leave it alone, an awful lot of residents care about the issues raised by the opening of a new gun store in San Carlos. In fact, I’ve received more input on this topic than on any other issue that’s come before me, in 16 years as an elected official.
That alone argues, strongly, that this Council should undertake a review of our existing rules and regulations governing firearm stores.
But why impose a moratorium, if all we need is a review?
That’s simple: events can make decisions for us, preventing thoughtful review. By law, precedents greatly influence the rules and regulations which any government of the people can create. We need a moratorium to “stop the music”, and give us time to learn, discuss, reflect and decide.
Is there a degree of unfairness to Turner in this? Yes, of course. But one of the very first lessons I learned as an elected official is that none of the important decisions I’ve made on behalf of my community benefits everybody.
That’s not because elected officials have a perverse desire to cause problems for our constituents. It’s because the simplest things we do are complex, and inevitably create difficulties for somebody.
I fully support enacting this moratorium, and taking whatever time we need to thoroughly consider all the issues and factors involved in defining 21st century regulations covering gun stores in our community.