SOLANA BEACH — Joining neighboring cities to the north and south, council members at the March 28 meeting adopted a resolution urging federal and state representatives to enact responsible, rational gun laws nationwide for the safe possession and use of guns.
Regulations should include raising the minimum age to own or buy a firearm to at least 21, banning the sale and possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges and prohibiting the sale and possession of military-style semiautomatic and automatic rifles and handguns.
The resolution also asks legislators to require universal background checks, safety training before purchasing a gun, a 10-day waiting period prior to taking possession of a purchased firearm and limits on the amount of ammunition that can be sold or bought in a given time period.
Many of those provisions are already required in California.
The resolution, similar to those adopted in Del Mar and Encinitas, asks Congress to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which does not allow funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be used to advocate or promote gun control.
It also states Solana Beach opposes the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows a qualified person to possess a concealed handgun in — or carry one into — another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
All of the more than 50 people who sent emails or spoke during public comment supported the resolution.
“I want to end gun violence through legislation, education and activism,” Cindi Clemons said.
“I don’t believe that a kid under 21 should ever be allowed to purchase a gun,” said Max Granholm, a seventh-grader at Earl Warren Middle School. “This raises the probability of an underaged shooter going onto a school campus unnoticed.
“This raises the probability of me or one of my friends getting shot or killed while they are simply attending school,” he added. “As a kid in a Solana Beach school, I am asking the council to keep me and my friends safe from gun violence to the best of their ability.”
“We … cannot normalize scenes of screaming teenagers crouching under flying bullets,” added another student, referencing mass shootings at schools. “We do not want history to repeat itself in any neighborhood, much less ours.”
“I don’t think any of us have any illusions that we control the federal or the state government, which really has its hands on the power over gun management,” Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said.
“But we can add our voice to the voices all over the country, from students to seniors, who are speaking up saying how we feel about this,” he added. “That kind of collective voicing and marching and speaking up is how you change culture.”
Nearly everyone who weighed in asked council to follow Del Mar’s action and add a provision to the resolution — which they did — asking the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds, to prohibit future gun shows there.
Most said the events, which are held about four or five times a year at the state-owned facility, don’t reflect the values of the community.
Some claimed they endanger the safety of the community, make it easier to purchase a firearm or don’t require buyers to undergo background checks.
Bob Templeton, owner of Crossroads of the West gun shows that take place at the fairgrounds, said those statements are not accurate.
“Some people watch national news but oftentimes what they hear is not the case in California,” he said. “Our legislators have addressed all the issues. We have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. There are no loopholes.”
Templeton said guns are “not really sold” during the shows.
“Orders can be taken but there is a required 10-day waiting period and background checks,” he said. “The buyer can then pick up the firearm at the dealer’s shop.”
He said a claim made by a resident who went to the show that AR-15s were on display was also inaccurate.
“AR-15s as we know them may not be on display,” he said. “But semiautomatic weapons that are California legal may be. Everything on display at the guns shows is legal. We have retired California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms agents monitoring all tables to ensure nothing is illegal.”
Templeton said they also roam the floor and reunite minors who may have separated from adults because attendees under 18 must be in direct control of the adult who brought them.
He said anyone who believes a violation has occurred should report it so he can follow up with the vendor.
Some speakers said they believe the fairgrounds will consider ending the gun shows because the board of directors canceled a marijuana event in response to public opposition.
“The fairgrounds are supposed to be used with a conception of what the people in the community want,” Councilman Dave Zito said. “They’ve already exercised that right with respect to the cannabis,” he added. “This is a pattern that they’ve established, that they will go ahead and allow things that they feel are appropriate to the community versus not.”
Fairgrounds officials said public outcry over the marijuana festival is not what drove their action.
“I voted to terminate the cannabis festival contract last year because possession, use and sale of marijuana violate federal law, the proposed festival promoter had no plan for complying with all laws, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture had not yet issued its guidelines for DAAs to consider if they wanted to host shows,” Director David Watson said.
“Now that California has prepared regulations and CDFA has issued its guidelines, we are working to prepare a policy for cannabis events consistent with all the new state rules and guidelines,” he added. “The board will consider a policy later this year.
“On the other hand, possession of firearms is protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Watson said. “Gun shows implicate freedom of speech and freedom of assembly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and such shows are themselves heavily regulated.
“As a result, not only are the gun shows legal and regulated under federal and state law, many aspects of the shows enjoy First and Second Amendment Constitutional protections,” he added. “The cannabis festival proposed last year was not consistent with applicable federal and state laws. The gun shows are.
“The 22nd DAA is a government agency responsible for managing a public venue open to all members of the public,” Watson continued. “We must be extremely careful not to discriminate for or against any particular political viewpoint or legal activity just because one political viewpoint or activity may be more or less popular with some segments of the community.
“Finally, the 22nd District Agricultural Association includes the entire county of San Diego,” he said. “Although gun shows may be unpopular with some citizens of the county, the shows are extremely popular with other citizens of the county. As a district board member, I have a responsibility to consider the opinions and viewpoints of all county citizens when voting on issues related to the fairgrounds.”
Solana Beach council members received a standing ovation after the 3-1 vote to adopt the resolution.
“I must be the only Second Amendment person in the room,” Mayor Ginger Marshall said. “But I also do appreciate the First Amendment. … If you don’t want to go to a gun show, don’t go to a gun show. If you don’t want to go to the horse races because horses die and break their legs, don’t go to the horse races.”
“I, too, support the Second Amendment to our Constitution,” Councilwoman Jewel Edson said. “I grew up among a family of hunters. My grandfathers and uncles all hunted … birds, elk and deer and other assorted creatures.
“They hunted those creatures with shotguns, rifles and bows, not with semiautomatic weapons,” she added.
“Trust me, I’m not promoting gun violence,” Marshall said to a resident who came to the dais when council took a short break. “I think we need more background checks. We need to ban bump stocks.”