Parks Are for Children—Not Guns—Council Decides

The San Juan Capistrano City Council shoots down proposal to allow the "open carry" of unloaded firearms in local parks.

San Juan Capistrano a Wild West city? No, it ain't, the City Council said Tuesday.

In a 3-1 vote, it shot down a proposal by councilman Derek Reeve to allow firearms in the city's 17 parks and hundreds of acres of open spaces.

"This is a family-friendly-oriented city, and that means no weapons in the parks," said City Councilman Larry Kramer, who called the proposal "ridiculous" and a "waste of time."

In his first year on the dais, Reeve said it is his responsibility to defend more lenient state and federal constitutions. "My concern is that this is a constitutional issue," he said.

Local ordinances, Reeve contended, should not preempt California law, which allows residents to openly carry guns in most places except government buildings, including schools.

Allowing individuals to protect themselves would also Reeve said.

His peers, however, predicted the opposite.

“I don’t think I’d feel safer in this town if everyone had a weapon. There’s some people in this town don’t like me!" Kramer joked. He qualified his remark by saying that at 10 years old he started hunting rabbits and squirrels on his family's farm, then later spent 30 years in the military handling big weapons.

Kathy Hooper, chairwoman of San Juan's Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Commission, said the advisory board decided Monday night to recommend a "no" vote. People enjoying their recreational time shouldn't be forced to worry about others toting guns.

"If someone walked around that park with a gun, it no longer becomes a safe place," she said.

Mayor Sam Allevato said there is "overwhelming" public opposition to Reeve's proposal, which drew support from open-carry advocates in neighboring cities.

Lake Forest resident Vincent Burke said he agrees with Reeve that citizens have a right to arm themselves, especially for self-defense purposes. "Police are only there for public protection, not personal protection," he said.

He and others debated whether a municipality can legally restrict where guns can be carried. San Juan Capistrano's attorney, Omar Sandoval, said that as long as the City Council is not prohibiting residents from carrying guns or "from playing with guns" it's in no position to be sued.

In his closing remarks, Reeve reminded a concerned local businessman that merchants can opt to ban guns on their premises.

Larry Thomas, the vice president of , said he didn't want to "live in the type of environment" where he'd have to worry about customers walking in for a transaction while carrying a handgun.

"We’re very sensitive to firearms," he said. "We're actually sensitive to sunglasses, hoods ... they really ring bells in my business. It worries me greatly."

Reeve's proposal pertained only to the open carry of unloaded weapons. Orange County residents who want to carry loaded, concealed weapons must obtain a special permit from the sheriff.

Last month, Reeve voted against a to provide police services in San Juan Capistrano as its done since 1961. He said he disagreed with Sheriff Sandra Hutchens' strict concealed-weapons policies.

Multiple posts on his Facebook page show Reeve's high regard for the right to bear arms.

"To keep it San Juan, I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make it drink," Reeve said in reaction to Tuesday's vote.

(Councilwoman Laura Freese was absent from Tuesday's meeting.)

Pat Riot July 22, 2011 at 02:48 AM
(part 2) Which is why they did not include gun control in the constitution. It was never granted to the federal government to regulate. The second amendment does not grant any rights, it just prevents the government from infringing on those rights. Infringing is a contract term. Ever noticed that? Look it up in Blacks and you will find that it is defined only as a contract term. Why did they choose such a term to relate to rights? Because the term means to enter into the realm of a right that they are not granted rights to enter into. Look at it this way. If you hire a maid, her contract clearly states the terms of her employment. If you did not include an exclusivity clause, and she gets a second job with a different company, you cannot fire her for THAT because the terms of her contract did not include the right to do that. The terms of the contract establishing the federal government did not grant them the right to regulate firearms. No state constitution (contract) granted any state the right to regulate firearms with some very minor exceptions. Some even went as far as to include a version of the second amendment to prevent the future representatives from regulating firearms. Which is what the Supreme court had a problem with with the Slaughterhouse Cases.
Pat Riot July 22, 2011 at 02:57 AM
(part 3) See, the SCOTUS noted that since the constitution did not grant the right to regulate firearms, it also did not grant the right to the courts to punish those who violated the individual right to own weapons! It did not have jurisdiction!
Pat Riot July 22, 2011 at 02:57 AM
(part 4) That is why the McDonald case was so important to everyone. By incorporating the right under the 4th amendment, the court granted itself some pretty awesome powers. Where before it was left up to the people to regulate themselves, now the court could do it. They stole the entire range of freedoms out of our laps, and we celebrated them doing it, not knowing that we had just been had. Now the courts can regulate who does and does not get to have a gun. Oh, they did that before, but only because SCOTUS refused to hear the case. States, cities, and individual banned guns everywhere, and no one fought back because the common knowledge was that the government could do that, when in fact whey didn't have that authority. So why is carrying a gun in a park important? Because it is a regulation that the government was not granted, and a right they have taken away on a large amount of property. How far will it go? Will the government say, "We don't have the right to regulate this, but are going to do it anyway because we are stronger than you are?" If they do, then we have devolved from a republic into a democracy and no one will be safe in his person or property. With that kind of power, how long do you think it will be before an elected official decides to retain office after his replacement is elected? Before you say that can't happen, it already has in our past. It will happen again. Bloomburg almost did it this last election.
Student July 22, 2011 at 04:44 AM
No, it's an opinion.
Student July 22, 2011 at 04:46 AM
Now, those are some facts.


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