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(a) The presence of concealed firearms in crowds of people at large public gatherings has the potential to present public safety risks associated with the accidental or intentional discharge of a weapon. Subject to limited exceptions, Section 617 of the Police Code prohibits the possession of firearms on City property. But Section 617 does not apply to the public right-of-way owned by the City.
(b) The U.S. Supreme Court emphasized in District of Columbia v. Heller, its 2008 decision which characterized the Second Amendment as recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms, that “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” are valid public safety regulations under the Second Amendment.
(c) In recent years, public, densely populated spaces have been targeted by gunmen with the apparent goal of causing mass physical and emotional harm, particularly apparent with the recent and horrific mass shootings on the Las Vegas strip and at a nightclub in Orlando.
(d) A July 2015 Congressional Research Service Report found that between 1999 and 2013, offenders committed 66 mass shootings in public places, killing 446 victims and injuring 329 victims. The report defined a mass shooting as one where four or more victims are killed at a single event.
(e) Studies show that in general guns do not protect those who possess them from gun violence. A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that individuals possessing a gun were 4.46 times more likely than individuals not possessing a gun to be shot when assaulted by another individual possessing a gun.
(f) City residents must have a reasonable expectation of safety while at public gatherings. Perceptions of safety are important to encouraging civic engagement and participation. The presence of firearms at public gatherings can therefore depress involvement in civic life.
(g) The presence of firearms at public gatherings where expressive activity is taking place is likely to intimidate some participants and chill or suppress speech, and cause some interested persons not to attend such gatherings. According to news reports, the presence of firearms at the recent white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, intimidated some people who disagreed with the message of the rally participants into silence. While the threat of such chilling is reduced when the open carrying of firearms is prohibited, nonetheless the knowledge that demonstrators may be carrying concealed firearms can operate to deter and silence speech.
(h) Prohibiting the possession of firearms at certain outdoor public gatherings in the City will promote the public health and safety by reducing the presence of firearms and the potential for gunshot fatalities and injuries. The prohibition will also promote public participation at events involving expressive activities, because it will reduce the likelihood of people being intimidated by the presence of concealed firearms.
For purposes of this Article 36C, the following definitions shall apply:
“Demonstration” shall mean a group of persons advocating for or against a political or other cause by conveying a message to the public through expressive conduct, such as carrying or wearing signs, singing, or speaking.
“Firearm” means any gun, pistol, revolver, rifle, or any other device designed or modified to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion. “Firearm” does not include imitation firearms as defined by California Penal Code Section 16700, or BB devices or air rifles as defined in California Penal Code Section 16250.
“Public Gathering” shall mean:
(1) a parade that requires a permit under Article 4 of the Police Code and involves 20 or more persons;
(2) a Demonstration held in the Right-of Way1 involving 20 or more persons within an area circumscribed by a 500-foot radius;
(3) a Demonstration on publicly-owned park land within the geographic boundaries of the City involving 20 or more persons within an area circumscribed by a 500-foot radius; and
(4) an event that requires a permit under Article 6 of the Transportation Code and involves 20 or more persons.
“Right of Way” shall mean any area across, along, on, over, upon, and within the dedicated public alleys, boulevards, courts, lanes, roads, sidewalks, streets, and ways within the City.
1. So in Ord. 118-18.
Except as stated in Section 3603C, no person shall possess a Firearm at any Public Gathering.
Section 3602C shall not apply to the following:
(a) A peace officer, retired peace officer, or person assisting a peace officer, when authorized to carry a concealed weapon under California Penal Code Sections 25450-25475 or a loaded firearm under California Penal Code Sections 25900-25925, and/or under 18 U.S.C. 926B or 926C;
(b) Members of the armed forces when on duty, and members of other organizations when authorized to carry a concealed weapon under California Penal Code Section 25620 or a loaded firearm under California Penal Code Section 26000;
(c) Military or civil organizations carrying unloaded weapons while parading or when authorized to carry a concealed weapon under California Penal Code Section 25625;
(d) Patrol special police officers, animal control officers, zookeepers, and harbor police officers, when authorized to carry a loaded firearm under California Penal Code Section 26025; and
(e) A guard or messenger of a common carrier, bank, or other financial institution; a guard of a contract carrier operating an armored vehicle; a licensed private investigator, patrol operator, or alarm company operator; a uniformed security guard or night watch person employed by a public agency; a uniformed security guard or uniformed alarm agent; a uniformed employee of a private patrol operator or private investigator, when any of the above are authorized to carry a loaded firearm under California Penal Code Section 26030.
Any person who violates Section 3602C shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed six months, or by both.
For any Public Gathering that requires a permit issued by the City, the City official, department, board, commission, committee, or other authority responsible for issuing such permit shall include as a condition of the permit that Firearms be prohibited at the Public Gathering, subject to the exceptions stated in Section 3603C. This Article 36C shall not preclude the City from exercising its discretion to impose a similar condition on a permit that does not meet the definition of a Public Gathering.
In enacting and implementing this Article 36C, the City is assuming an undertaking only to promote the general welfare. It is not assuming, nor is it imposing on its officers and employees, an obligation for breach of which it is liable in money damages to any person who claims that such breach proximately caused injury.
If any provision, clause, or word of this Article 36C or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect any other provision, clause, word, or application of this Article which can be given effect without the invalid provision, clause, word, or application; and to this end the provisions of this Article are declared to be severable.
(Added by Ord. 118-18, File No. 180159, App. 5/17/2018, Eff. 6/17/2018)