City declines to add more rules for firearm sales 

A box of ammunition on the counter at Big 5 Sporting Goods in El Cerrito on Sept. 9, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
A box of ammunition on the counter at Big 5 Sporting Goods in El Cerrito on Sept. 9, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
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The Santa Clarita City Council declined to approve additional regulations for gun and ammunition dealers Tuesday during its discussion of new business. 

The City Council unanimously voted not to adopt new regulations that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved in November, which Mayor Cameron Smyth called “duplicative” and “onerous.” 

The rules, which would have applied to four registered businesses per city records, would have: widened the application of county gun-store regulations to include ammunition-only dealers; required dealers to restrict access by unaccompanied minors; and increased the cost of a dealer license from $739 to $954 for a first-year license and from $279 to $577 for each annual renewal. 

“Where gun or ammunition sales activity is not the primary business performed at the business premise,” according to the city’s agenda, “the ordinance states that the business could allow unaccompanied minors inside the store as long as all guns and ammunition are wholly kept, displayed or offered within a separate room or enclosure where minors are excluded.” 

All five council members objected to what Councilman Bill Miranda characterized as “another (cash) grab” from L.A. County. 

“I don’t see these last three items as making anybody safer,” said Councilwoman Laurene Weste, “but they’re going to double the costs for the businesses and I think that I’m fine with it staying the way that it is.” 

The local dealers registered within city limits per L.A. County records include two Big 5 locations, Turner’s Outdoorsman and Santa Clarita Valley Pawn, according to Tracy Sullivan, city community preservation officer. She also listed the current regulations for gun and ammunition dealers.  

Local businesses selling firearms are required to adhere to various California state and federal laws, including but not limited to: requirements on posting notifications and warnings to consumers; reporting firearms lost or stolen from the dealer’s inventory; securing storage of firearms; completing employee background checks; reporting inventory records; carrying a general liability insurance policy with coverage for at least $1 million per incident; and most recently, as of Jan. 1, installing and maintaining a fixed digital video surveillance and audio recording system on their business premises pursuant to Senate Bill 1384. 

City staff asked the council to consider the ordinance as the county currently administers the city’s business licensing system.  

With the city deciding not to enact the ordinance suggestions, county officials will no longer enforce or require business licenses of these particular businesses, according to City Attorney Joe Montes. 

The city must now send those four businesses a notice “saying that there are no local requirements that you have to comply with, so that they can show that to the state, that the state knows that they’re in compliance” during annual Department of Justice inspections, he added.   

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