Gun rights activists have threatened to sue Los Gatos over its recent concealed carry ordinance, which prohibits guns in sensitive places like schools and places of worship.
Michel and Associates, law firm representing the California Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, recently sent a letter to the town saying the concealed carry ordinance approved this summer infringes on the constitutional rights of gun owners.
“Specifically, the ordinance makes it so that firearms are prohibited to be carried – even by those with a permit – in town property, public transit and places of worship,” the letter reads.
Town attorney Gabrielle Whelan said the council met in a closed session last week and voted to suspend enforcing the ordinance on those locations until anticipated litigation against the state is resolved.
“We’re taking it seriously,” Whelan said. “The town’s ordinance is modeled on pending state legislation.”
The ordinance was set to go into effect on Sept. 1. While the town is halting enforcement at places of worship, public transportation and some town property, the ordinance will be enforced at schools.
The town already took what Whelan called a conservative approach in defining sensitive places, naming only locations that have already been cited in existing case law to avoid litigation.
Whelan said the updates were meant to make the town’s ordinance more in line with the recent Supreme Court rulings and impending state legislation that would supersede local ordinances, banning concealed carry weapons in sensitive areas across California. Senate Bill 2 was approved by the state Senate and, if ratified, would go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
During the hearing for the ordinance, a resident spoke up about his experience obtaining a concealed carry permit in Santa Clara County and said he went through an FBI background check and an interview with the sheriff’s office, completed 16 hours of training and had to pass a psych test, background check and shooting proficiency test. He spent more than $1,000 on the whole process.
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Los Gatos resident Heidi Owens, a member of the gun reform group Moms Demand Action, said that after one of the 51 school shootings that occurred in the U.S. last school year, she and other parents were discussing whether or not to purchase bulletproof backpacks for their kids.
“It’s just sad that that’s the way it is in our country right now,” Owens said during the council meeting. “So with the lack of action at the federal level and slow progress at the state level, it makes local action even more influential.”