Los Gatos Weekly Times

Concealed carry weapons banned in `sensitive places'

Updated ordinance prohibits guns at schools, on public transporta­tion and on town property

- By Hannah Kanik hkanik @bayareanew­sgroup.com

Concealed carry guns are now prohibited in “sensitive places” in Los Gatos like schools, places of worship, polling places, public transporta­tion and town property after the Town Council updated its local weapons ordinance last month.

The new law will go into effect by Sept. 1, and will make it illegal, even for those with valid concealed carry permits, to bring their guns to sensitive places around town.

Town attorney Gabrielle Whelan said the updates are meant to make the town's ordinance more in line with the recent Supreme Court rulings and impending state legislatio­n.

The town is taking a conservati­ve approach to defining the sensitive places, naming only locations that have already been cited in existing case law to avoid litigation, Whelan said. Glendale, a large city in Los Angeles County, is facing a lawsuit after it passed a more expansive ordinance with places that have not been upheld in other court decisions.

“I think this strikes a balance in terms of preserving people's rights but also preserving safety in our community,” said Mayor Maria Ristow. “Given where we are legally… we want to make sure we're doing the best vetting we can and allow people in sensitive places to feel like they understand whether there will be guns there or not.”

A resident who recently obtained a concealed carry permit through Santa Clara County spoke during the council meeting, sharing that 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.

Los Gatos-monte Sereno Police Chief Jamie Field said there has been lots of interest from residents who want to apply for a concealed carry permit in Los Gatos.

“Since we don't have the full process in place, I wouldn't say we have a specific number of applicatio­ns, ” Field said. “Until we have the ordinance approved and the internal administra­tive process (in place), we're not able to proceed with those applicatio­ns formally.”

The state is working on its own 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.

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.”

Councilmem­ber Rob Moore said he was supportive of the ordinance.

“There are so many really commonsens­e things we can do to improve gun safety in our community, and I think this is one of them,” Moore said.

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