[UPDATED with Ban Maintained:] Councilman Wants to Allow Guns in San Juan Capistrano Parks
UPDATE, JULY 20, HIGH NOON: A San Juan Capistrano city councilman's proposal to legalize the carrying of unloaded guns in city parks was . . . wait for it . . . shot down by his colleagues Tuesday night.
The City Council voted 3-1 to continue outlawing the firearms, with the lone dissent coming from the guns-for-parks sponsor, Councilman Derek Reeve. (A fifth council member was absent.)
Reeve . . . wait for it . . . blasted the vote.
Reeve claimed the council's reluctance to allow guns in parks leaves the city open to constitutional challenges under the Second Amendment. But Mayor Sam Allevato, who joined councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor in upholding the ban, said he feared allowing guns would ruin otherwise nice days at the park for parkgoers.
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The council voted after hearing from advocates for and against openly carrying weapons. The Orange County Register quotes Lt. John Meyer of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which patrols San Juan Capistrano, as saying those caught carrying weapons in city parks will be arrested, have their firearms confiscated and only be released if their records are clean.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 7, 3:48 P.M.: San Juan Capistrano's quaint downtown already looks like a throwback to the Old West.
Now, a city councilman would like the parks to be more that way, too.
But Derek Reeve is not talking about adding decorative cow skulls, wagon wheels or tumbling tumbleweeds to the Orange County mission city's parks. He wants to give visitors the right to pack guns.
Reeve is an advocate of open-carry laws, city ordinances that allow folks to strap unloaded weapons onto their persons. Groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) back open-carry, and Reeve loves him some NRA.
"Let's go the park, kids!"
What's interesting is Reeve on June 30 voted against renewing San Juan Capistrano's contract with the Orange County Sheriff's Department for police services because he dislikes Sheriff Sandra Hutchens' stance on issuing gun permits, which is more restrictive than that her predecessor, Sheriff-for-Sale-turned-felon Mike Carona.
The other council members, who ultimately approved the $280,000 contract for another year of sheriff's patrols of San Juan Capistrano, said at Tuesday night's meeting they need more time to think about Reeve's gun proposal. But some of their comments didn't sound as if they are sharing the same target with Reeve:
Mayor Sam Allevato: "I need to study this a little more, but initially I have concerns about it. People carrying firearms in public seems to be unnecessary in our town."
Councilman John Taylor: "I don't know that carrying an unloaded firearm protects anyone. If someone comes up to you and wants to rob you and puts a gun to your chest, I don't understand how an unloaded firearm protects you."
Councilwoman Laura Freese frets allowing guns in parks is "not something that would help encourage businesses to come to San Juan Capistrano."
Reeve, who says SJC would only be applying a law to city parks that already exists in state parks, plans to bring a formal proposal before the council on July 19. If he does not get the support of two other council members (Larry Kramer rounds out the panel), at least Reeve can still strap on a six-shooter during March's Hoos'gow Day, which has the city allowing townfolk dressed as Old West characters to openly carry guns filled with blanks in public places.
Just like Jesus intended.
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