gun store sales
The kind of business Redwood City, California's city fathers don't want. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)
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The right to keep and bear arms includes the right to acquire them. You can’t keep or bear guns if you can’t buy them. That’s a legal principle that the Redwood City, California seems determined to test.

Last month the Bay Area town, located between San Francisco and San Jose, enacted an “urgency” ordinance banning the retail sales of firearms for a period of 45 days while the city determines its options long term.

What dire “emergency” caused the city council to act? An interested party had applied for a business permit seeking to locate a gun store in the town and another had been sniffing around, apparently with the same intent.


As the mayor proclaimed . . .

“The city regulates where you can buy retail cannabis, where you can get gas for your car, where you can get a massage and even where you can build a home,” Mayor Giselle Hale said. “Why not explore where you can purchase a firearm?”

Naturally, their first inclination was to ban retail sales altogether until Redwood City’s biggest brains can come up with an appropriate solution to this nasty predicament. Monday night, the council voted unanimously to put the brakes on any permits or gun sales in town for at least 45 days.

That got the attention of the Second Amendment Foundation. SAF’s executive director, Adam Kraut, sent a love letter to the city, informing them that . . .

“By indefinitely preventing any firearms or ammunition retailers from opening within the city, Redwood City has directly impeded its residents from acquiring the means to protect themselves and their families, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”

While Kraut acknowledges there are examples of permissible regulations “that may be imposed on firearm and ammunition retailers that would comport with the Constitution,” he also had words of warning to Mayor Hale and the city.

“SAF has a storied history of suing municipalities, states, and the federal government for Second Amendment violations,” Kraut wrote. “Should Redwood City continue to deprive its residents of the ability to acquire arms and ammunition through an indeterminate moratorium on firearms and ammunition retailers from opening a business, SAF will examine all legal remedies available to it, its members, and those who may be affected by the City’s flagrant disregard of its citizens’ constitutional rights. It is my hope that Redwood’s City Council will promptly take action to remedy this situation to avoid unnecessary litigation.”

The manager of a retail plaza that had been the proposed location for one of the gun stores had this to say . . .

Others, like Roosevelt Plaza manager Maria Rutenburg, urged the council to vote no on the ordinance, citing the constitutional right to bear arms.

Describing the Second Amendment as “sacred to a lot of people,” Rutenburg warned the council that the ordinance would invite litigation. “This is going to be a national case. This is a big deal, and we’re not going to let it go.”

Neither will SAF. A little birdie tells TTAG that SAF is lining up a plaintiff as we write this. The question then becomes, how much of Redwood City’s tax dollars is the mayor and city council willing to spend to defend their ban?

Don’t look for SAF to blink. In a post-Bruen world, Redwood City’s ban — even a temporary one — has about as much chance of standing up to a challenge as Joe Manchin does if he runs for reelection. Even in the Ninth Circuit.

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  1. “The city regulates where you can buy retail cannabis, where you can get gas for your car, where you can get a massage and even where you can build a home,’ Mayor Giselle Hale said. “Why not explore where you can purchase a firearm?”


    cannabis, gas for your car, building a home, and a massage are not constitutional rights.

    Maybe you had one to many massages and sniffed too much car gas and used too much cannabis in that home you built. So here’s a clue stupid… its obvious this is basically an attempt at a de-facto ban on gun stores which is needed to exercise a constitutional right.

    • What I find amusing is he litterally enjoys the control over every aspect of your life. This is why the Founders were so bent on very limited Governement.

    • Exactly! Besides, besides, they say “the city regulates WHERE, not IF. They can certainly restrict where these gun stores may be located within the city but they cannot restrict it being in the city…although I for one could not think of where they should not put a gun store. Put it in the mall next to Target or Bed, Bath and Beyong so I have a place to hang out in while my wife shops.

  2. I hope the city runs up a massive legal bill on for both sides and then has to write a check to the plaintiffs for a few million dollars to cover their legal expenses.

      • Except its not just a California thing. Cities across the country are trying to do the same thing. How many states have laws banning cities from enacting stricter gun laws? Wouldn’t be happening if it was just a CA issue.

        • Yeah, but then we could tell them “See what happened to California? You might want to reconsider.”


      • Bend over and smile ca Gun Owners, it’s just Gun Control up to its usual bullying. Sorta like Gun Control was there to bully Blacks into nooses and Jews into concentration camps.

        Gun Control? Obviously it is what History says it is.

        • “to bully Blacks into nooses”

          now now. as I understand it the kkk lynched 4900 blacks – and 2700 whites.

    • Unfortunately, it is not their money that they’ll be spending but ours. This is why I oppose suing the government if you can help it. Even if you win, you lose. Maybe if it is set up like a class action. If we win, every gun owner gets a share of the reward. It’s not like they don’t know who the gun owners are…..

  3. I grew up in San Carlos, and Redwood City. Worked there until recently. Graduated high school in Redwood City. I am deeply disappointed in the city. They should know better.

  4. “The city regulates where you can (fill in the blank).”

    “how much of Redwood City’s tax dollars is the mayor and city council willing to spend to defend their ban?”

    (shrug) they don’t care, it’s not their money. this is what happens when leftists obtain the power to tax – they make you pay for their whims.

  5. The dems gained one in the house

    Dems at 206 – Rep at 217
    Dems need 12 – Rep need 1 (its coming up)

    13 races left to call.

      • If the democrats win the house, it will tank the economy, just like the last time they had full control of Congress, the only difference being that if it happens now, there will be NO recovery, only Sayonara USA.

  6. “The manager of a retail plaza” knows that retail is crumbling and is looking to find renters for their retail plaza purely for financial reasons.

    The rest is platitudes. In this instance we should *take* them but not forget that if the financial winds shift so will this type of person’s attitude towards the 2A. They’re not allies, they’re fair-weather friends.

      • The problem I have here is Conservatives’ historical reliance and misplaced trust in people who are, essentially, political mercenaries. This person is an example. They’re backing the 2A because their incentives currently align with that of a gun store.

        There’s nothing wrong with finding help where it presents itself but the GOP has a history of failing to recognize the real relationships they actually have and then getting screwed. The 2A community is not very different, see the NRA for an example.

  7. Once again, when city council members or county board members come up with ordinances that they know violate the 2nd amendment why, Oh Why, can’t they be sued personally for engaging in a conspiracy to violate citizens 2nd amendments rights? What am I missing here?.

      • Rant7,
        That’s impossible in some jurisdictions. I think it’s a fair question to say can we find a way to go after elected officials both criminally and financially when they know that they are violating the oath that they took to uphold the Constitution.

  8. One of the towns I lived in banned a titty bar and this town wont sale beer on sunday.
    Move or stay.
    Was Wyatt Earp really a hero?
    Take an oath, take a dollar, and nail up a sign?

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