City Council Election Question #3 – Gun Stores

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As part of myBurbank’s Election 2022 coverage, we have asked all of the candidates in the three races some tough questions to help voters decide who deserves their vote.

In the race for City Council, there are seven candidates, and we asked ten tough questions. We told the candidates they could write as much as they wanted, and we did not edit their responses in any way. We rotated the order after every question.

Today is question 3 of 10 – Gun Stores: The gun store moratorium will expire next year, and while we cannot close any of the existing 14 gun retailers, what are your thoughts about what should be done?

Nikki Perez

The top priority of any elected official should be the safety and wellbeing of residents. 

The surge in gun violence comes as firearm purchases rose to record levels in 2020 and 2021, with more than 43 million guns estimated to have been purchased during that period, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal data on gun background checks. At the same time, the rate of gun deaths in those years hit the highest level since 1995, with more than 45,000 fatalities each year.

I think it’s important to note that we don’t just focus on existing gun violence in our community, but on the potential risk – our primary goal should be to stop horrific tragedies before they happen, and that includes reducing the factors that can lead to gun violence. Working with residents, Council, and staff, we can explore a number of policies that other municipalities have successfully put in place to reduce and prevent gun violence. Such policies include: assessing the permitting processes of and community risks posed by gun stores, limiting the sales of ammunition and handguns, making the moratorium on new gun stores permanent, working with state partners to establish a city safe storage information campaign, building off of the state’s safe storage policies to further protect our community, and requiring that gun owners pay a yearly fee and carry liability insurance. I’m proud to be recommended as a gun sense candidate by Moms Demand Action because of my previous work on gun legislation at the state level and my thoughtful approach to common gun sense laws that protect our community! 

Sharon Springer

From the beginning of my time on Council I have opposed the number and concentration of gun stores.  I’ve discussed with the City Attorney throughout my tenure about capping and reducing the number.  The Council voted unanimously for a moratorium. 

Burbank, with 14 current operating gun stores, ranks second in the country for gun stores per capita. A disturbing statistic for a relatively small residential friendly city like Burbank.

Clearly, there must be a cap on gun stores so that the current total of 14 stores can never be exceeded. To that end the Council has approved a 14 month moratorium that caps the current number of 14 stores. During this 14 month period, City Planning and Council will review and change existing zoning laws pertaining to gun stores. Among the changes will be, but not limited to, minimum distances from schools and residential neighborhoods, make permanent the 14 cap, review and tighten all regulations and filings to insure that those purchasing guns are legally allowed to do so.

My goal is to reduce the number of shops by attrition and other available means.    When/if a store relocates or ceases to exist no new gun store will be allowed to replace it. Therefore, the current total of 14 will be reduced by attrition and potentially other available means, which will be identified in the Staff Report.

Tamala Takahashi

According to the American Public Health Association, gun injury is the leading cause for premature death in the United States. (https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/gunviolence)

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, women and children are far more likely to die by gun injury in the home, while men are more likely to be fatally injured by a gun outside the home. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/offthe-cuff-what-dont-we-know-about-the-causes-of-gun-violence-almost-everything/

And according to Nationwide Children’s Research center, 1 in 3 homes with children have at least one gun, adolescents in homes with guns are more likely to die by suicide, 75% of children who live in a home with a gun know where they are stored, and most parents do not believe their children know where the gun is located. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/research/areas-of-research/center-for-injuryresearch-and-policy/injury-topics/general/gun-safety

We see mass shootings in the news and that brings our attention to gun violence. However, more and more organizations are recognizing the proliferation of gun ownership as a national health crisis not because of mass shootings, but because of the higher and higher number of suicide by gun, accidental shootings of children and family members, and domestic violence with guns. So I have asked our community, do we want to be a city that turns a blind eye to this health crisis with such a large footprint in the gun sales market?

When I ask this, the vast majority of our community’s answer is “no”. And I agree.

• I support the moratorium on more gun store licenses.

• I support the city’s partnership with the Brady organization to identify the best way to address our local gun and supply sales in an appropriate way for our city. I do not want to punish the current gun store owners.

• I am advocating for Point of Sale requirements to distribute information on prevention of suicide by gun as well as safe gun storage information

• I am advocating to require that our local gun stores are inspected every 1-2 years to ensure they are abiding by the gun retail rules as well as distributing this important information to be partners in our community for gun safety

• Our city’s gun store zoning is outdated, and needs to be equalized with the rest of the county.

• I support a gun and ammunition tax, and hope that we can use it to fund school safety and mental health programs.

• I do NOT support taking away guns from law abiding individuals.

• I do NOT support taking away licenses from law abiding gun stores

Carmenita Helligar

We need to find a way to make a longer lasting moratorium. Then pass new zoning laws that only allows gun shops in industrial areas and non-residential areas. Next Burbank needs to help the existing stores move to those industrial non residential areas. I certainly would support a city excise tax. Since our hotels pay a special tax then gun shops should have a special tax.

Zizette Mullins

I am in support of council action and staff’s recommendation to do the following:

Considering the establishment of buffer zones that would prohibit firearm retailers in close proximity to sensitive-uses.  Limiting the number of firearms retailers in the City by suspending the issuance of new licenses and evaluating other municipalities discretionary review processes for similar retailers.  Reviewing the Giffords Law Center Model Ordinance so that the City can consider the recommended best practices aimed at addressing local concerns.  Amending the business license process governed by BMC Section 3-4-111 to establish additional requirements for firearms retailers