On Tuesday, July 26th, Burbank City Council held a meeting. All members were present except for councilmember Bob Frutos.
Prior to getting into the thick of the agenda, the council reviewed and passed the consent calendar unanimously. The consent calendar is a collection of agenda items that are voted on at once. This week’s consent calendar included approval for a classroom training program that supports racial equity as well as approval of salaries for certain city workers.
After passing the consent calendar, the council moved onto the most important agenda item of the night: a possible urgency ordinance imposing a mortarium on new firearms retailers setting up their businesses in Burbank. Following the increased national attention given to mass shootings and the role guns play in them, the council decided it was time to discuss an ordinance of this type.
Staff from the Burbank Police Department delivered a presentation on statistics and facts related to firearm retailers and firearms in general within the city of Burbank.
Compared to the nearby communities of Pasadena and Glendale, Burbank has a high amount of firearm retailers. Burbank has 14 firearm retailers currently operating in Burbank, while both Pasadena and Glendale each have 3 operating within their city boundaries.
The main reason that Burbank has such a high concentration of gun stores is that Burbank’s current zoning regulations allow firearm retailers in all commercial zones that allow general retail uses.
Despite the high concentration of gun stores, Burbank has a lower gun crime rate per capita then both Pasadena and Glendale. In Burbank, there were 6 reported gun crimes for every 10,000 people in 2021. In comparison, there were 7 gun crimes per 10,000 people in Pasadena and 8 per 10,000 people in Glendale during the same year.
BPD staff concluded their presentation by pointing out that, even though the presence of firearm retailers don’t increase gun crime or create an inordinate demand for public services, the high concentration of gun shops in Burbank could create a perception of Burbank as a one-stop-shop for guns in the region.
Prior to discussing the potential ordinance, the council heard comments from the public on the topic. Despite there being much support for the urgency ordinance, there were some that saw this ordinance as a possible infringement to their Second Amendment rights.
Following the public comment period, city council discussed the ordinance.
Addressing the members of the public skeptical that this urgency ordinance would deprive people of their civil liberty of gun ownership, Councilmember Nick Schultz pointed out that, with the passage of this ordinance, “[Burbank’s 14 firearm retailers] would continue to operate and continue to provide a product and training.”
“There would still be ample opportunity for folks to acquire a firearm and exercise their second amendment right,” added Councilmember Schultz.
Commenting on the role that other localities play in this, Councilmember Sharon Springer stated, “maybe we should reach out to neighboring communities and get them to take their fair share and take more gun stores…[14 gun stores] is plenty.”
Following the period of council discussion, the urgency ordinance to approve the moratorium was voted on. Due to the nature and urgency of the ordinance, it required the approval of four out of five of the councilmembers. The ordinance passed 4-0, with Councilmember Frutos absent.
After the passage of the ordinance, there was support among the council to advance other gun safety measures. The council decided to ask city staff to bring next-step reports regarding two possible measures: an ordinance banning and creating penalties for so-called “ghost guns” (guns that are untraceable) and a voluntary gun buyback program.
Discussing his support for further investigating these possible measures, Vice Mayor Konstantine Anthony stated, “because we have such a high concentration of [firearms retailers]…these kinds of regulations in Burbank have an out-sized impact on illegal activities.”
City council voted 4-0 (Frutos absent) in order to bring back next step reports for a possible ghost gun ordinance and a possible voluntary gun buyback program.
A copy of this meeting’s agenda and a video recording of the meeting can be found here.