Letter to the Editor: Resident Gives His Viewpoint on Gun Stores in Burbank

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Letter to the Editor:

Its shocking to realize that this month marks already the 6th anniversary of when young Burbank area students of all ages came together for a solemn week of activities to protest the Feb. 14, 2018 shootings at Parkland High School in Fla., including local school walkouts, which culminated in a march and rally of 4,000 of them and their supporters participating in the March 24 March For Our Lives rally along the Chandler Bike Path, as they joined the national student protests all over America where millions marched for sane gun control. The rally was held at the east end of the bike path near the corner of Mariposa St., followed by a series of speakers that included Burbank’s Congressman Adam Schiff, who had everyone in the crowd cheering wildly with his emotional gun control speech.
 
On my way home from the rally one block south of the Chandler ceremony on Magnolia Blvd., however, I passed a gun store with a placard at the entrance advertising the same AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by the 19 year old Parkland shooter one month before to kill 17 people and wound 17 others. The adult organizers of the Burbank student anti-gun rally when asked why none of the 14 gun shops located in Burbank’s city limits were being protested they replied uncomfortably, “we don’t want our students involved in controversies”.
 
So as we observe the 6th anniversary of the Parkland shootings and the Burbank student protests against gun violence we see that the same 14 gun stores that were in business in 2018 still remaining open today, despite Burbank’s reputation as an uber-liberal town. In 2022 our city leaders were reportedly “studying the problem of gun stores operating in Burbank” and by Dec. 2023 there were even discussions of a zoning amendment would regulate where a gun store can set up shop within Burbank by limiting its proximity to sensitive sites. The ordinance would also reportedly mandate that new firearm retailers be required to seek conditional approval by the Planning Commission in addition to the City Council. There has never been, however, any mention so far of actually closing any of the 14 existing gun stores.
News 1 reported in July 2022: “Drive up Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, and the number of gun stores is hard to miss — five in under two miles.

There are 14 gun sellers in the city of roughly 100,000 residents, a high concentration compared to other municipalities.

According to Burbank’s Building Administration Manager Carol-Ann Coates, neighboring Glendale has eight gun stores — but also has twice as many residents. And while Los Angeles has 38 firearm retailers, that’s in a population of about 4 million”.

So why does Burbank have such an out-sized number of gun stores? News 1 quoted Geneva Solomon, co-owner of Burbank’s Redstone Firearms saying she didn’t look to open her business in Burbank, she just “didn’t have many other choices and, obviously, if Los Angeles was more gun-friendly, then these stores that are all saturated in Burbank would have other cities to go to,” she said. “Burbank is the only place where a new gun store can actually come to serve the community”, she added.”

So the serious concerns of Burbank students, many of them who were in high school when the anti-gun march was held in 2018 and are now old enough to have graduated from college, go unanswered in what is today a complete avoidance from all the noble talk our political leaders gave ample lip service to but with no action following. One has to wonder if the Parkland shootings had occurred in one of Burbank’s schools if it might have made a difference to the politicians of our town but perhaps not even that, however, would have spurred Burbank to act against its 14 gun stores, as the financial windfall provided to the city is simply too lucrative to turn away from.

Doug Weiskopf
Burbank

 

Editor’s Note: Doug Weiskopf also works as a freelance writer for myBurbank. The letter to the editor is his personal opinion

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