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What Can We Do?:
Gun Regulations in Del Mar
Dwight Worden | Mayor, City of Del Mar

Many citizens in Del Mar, including me, are upset and looking for action on reasonable gun control as a result of the recent school shootings in Florida. We are asking what Del Mar can do regarding gun safety. The following is provided by me, reflecting my own research, analysis, and opinions, recognizing others may disagree. I speak only for myself.

Del Mar’s Current Regulations.
The Del Mar Municipal Code already contains strict gun regulations prohibiting the firing of guns within the city and prohibiting carrying a gun into a public building:

9.12.020 - Firing within City.
It is unlawful for any person to fire any firearm within the City, except where reasonably necessary in defense of person or property.

9.12.30 - Exceptions.

The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to any of the following:

(1) Firearms fired under the authority of the United States, the State of California or the City of Del Mar.

(2) Firearms fired as part of the operation of a shooting gallery operated under the control of the 22nd Agricultural District as part of the County Fair.

9.12.040 - Public Buildings.
Except for officers of the Federal, State, County or City of Del Mar and persons possessing a valid license to carry a loaded weapon, it is unlawful for any person to enter a public building within the City while in possession of a firearm.

Firearm sales are not an allowed use in any Del Mar zone. However, “sporting goods stores” is an allowed use in the Central Commercial zone under Section 30.22.030. My take on the zoning is that retail gun sales are not allowed by Del Mar zoning in any zone. Del Mar would face an issue of first impression, however, were a true sporting goods store proposed that offered firearms among other products. I would advocate that Del Mar not allow firearm sales as part of any such sporting goods store application.

In addition, the Del Mar City Council recently (February 20, 2018) adopted a policy statement, proposed by me, in an effort to gain control over gun shows at the fairgrounds:

“Support legislation to prohibit gun shows at state fairgrounds property where the local city opposes such gun shows. “

At present the City of Del Mar does not have legal jurisdiction to prevent gun shows at the fairgrounds because the fairgrounds are state property. If state legislation were passed in furtherance of the above policy statement, Del Mar would, for the first time, have the ability to have a say about gun shows at the fairgrounds. If I had that say it would be a strong “no.”

Federal and State Rules and Preemption.
Gun regulation is a complex and controversial topic. Most people are familiar with the US Supreme Court Ruling that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution protects a right to bear firearms independent of being in a militia. Beyond that, there are issues of permissible regulation, and preemption under state law.
Cities in California have a state constitutional right to adopt regulations to further public health and safety, including regulating firearms. But court rulings confirm that this city power is sometimes preempted by state law. California has specific statutes that preempt: 1) licensing or registration of commercially manufactured firearms; 2) licensing or permitting with respect to the purchase, ownership, possession or carrying of a concealable firearm in the home or place of business; and 3) regulation of the manufacture, sale or possession of “imitation firearms.”
California case law has held some local gun regulations are impliedly preempted where they conflict with state interests. For example, a San Francisco ban on handguns was found impliedly preempted.

Bottom line: Del Mar’s current gun regulations are already quite strict. State legislation to allow Del Mar to have a say over gun shows at the Fairgrounds is likely the most important new law that Del Mar could pursue.

But, there is more that those of us who are concerned can do. As Del Mar does on so many other issues we can support petitions, advocate to our state and federal legislators, and take other actions to support sensible gun control. That’s what I’m doing, and I encourage you to do likewise.



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