Forty-three people spoke regarding the proposed indoor gun range for Downtown Martinez at the July 23 Planning Commission meeting. Thirty-two were against, 10 were for, and one spoke on both sides. But, the packed, standing-room-only city chamber was overwhelmingly filled with those opposed to the proposed range.
Those in opposition to the proposed range have been characterized by its proponents as “cry babies.”
Two local teachers informed the audience that “active shooter drills” are taught at local schools. This chilling information was an eye-opener for many. What will be the emotional impact on our students walking down Main Street after school when they see people openly carrying rifles and firearms on the way to a gun range? Maybe we are just being “cry babies!”
Proponents of the proposed range thought nothing of the very close locations of schools (St. Catherine’s, Vincente Martinez High School, Martinez Jr. High, RES Success, and Creekside Montessori) within mere blocks of Main Street. Maybe we are just being “cry babies!”
Victims of gun violence spoke at both the June 20 Community Forum and the July 23 meeting. These citizens spoke openly about their personal trauma related to gun violence. PTSD would be a good descriptor for them. Or maybe they are just being “cry babies!”
What proponents of the proposed gun range don’t seem to understand is that the LOCATION is what is wrong. The open carrying of handguns and rifles on the streets of Downtown Martinez is wrong. Crime, both to persons (robbery, assault, or even death) and vehicles (targeted break-ins) may become a cruel reality, as gun range patrons are targeted by the more unsavory in Martinez. Safety is a very real issue due to the proposed location.
People who possess the necessary licenses to sell firearms can legally sell semi-automatic weapons in California. At the April 23 Planning Commission meeting, one of the Commissioners asked if assault-type weapons would be sold. The applicant answered that he would only sell what was on the “list approved for sale in California.” (At the June 20 Community Forum, the public learned that the applicant already has the requisite permits and licenses to sell guns.)
So, let me repeat: Semi-automatic weapons are legal for sale in California by a licensed gun dealer, i.e., the applicant could legally sell semi-automatic weapons…here…in Martinez. Martinez needs to take steps to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons by this applicant.
Will Saying It Make It So?
Why do proponents seem convinced that this retail store with gun range would be a good business for Martinez? Because the applicant tells us that.
Why do proponents believe the applicant can run a successful sporting goods store, sell guns and ammo, and run a safe gun range? Oh, because the applicant keeps telling us that he can!
Why do proponents believe the information the applicant keeps telling them?
The applicant has never run a successful retail sporting goods store.
The applicant has no experience selling guns and ammunition.
The applicant has never run a gun range, safe or otherwise.
Planning Commissioners, please do not consider zoning amendment approval.
We are at a turning point.
Handguns and rifles being carried openly on our streets is a fearful idea.
The safety of our community is truly at stake.
Ginger Ogden, Martinez, CA