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By Shawn Raymundo

A non-binding resolution that Mayor Pro Tem Gene James is spearheading aims to declare San Clemente as a so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary City—a designation some U.S. cities and counties are adopting to fight a perceived attack on gun rights.

“In San Clemente, we have 65,000 citizens and residents who possess about 20,000 firearms, and not once, in recent memory, has anyone in San Clemente been convicted or charged with a crime involving firearms,” James said during a March 16 council meeting. “I think the Framers (of the Constitution) had it right. We have a right to bear arms.”

The symbolic resolution, if passed by the city council, is meant to support the town’s gun owners, whose rights, James believes, are being threatened by lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

In an emailed statement to San Clemente Times this week explaining his position, James expressed his belief that there’s a growing movement in the U.S. to adopt a similar gun control measure to one that was imposed in Australia back in 1996.

Following a mass shooting in the Tasmanian town of Port Arthur, Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement, which restricted gun ownership and established a mandatory gun buyback program.

“The Founding Fathers and Framers saw this day coming and wanted us to be protected,” James, in the email, said of the Second Amendment. “To be clear, this is not about open carry or concealed carry; my overriding concern is about the citizens of San Clemente having the right to be safe and secure in their homes in our wonderful city.”

In California, residents 21 and older are allowed to purchase firearms through a state licensed dealer and must undergo a 10-day waiting period. Those 18 and older can possess a firearm that isn’t a handgun as long as they have a valid hunting license from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The state prohibits those with felony and misdemeanor convictions from owning a gun, as well as anyone addicted to narcotics or has been deemed a danger to themselves or others. Residents can qualify for concealed weapons permits through a county sheriff’s department as long as certain criteria are met. 

The council is expected to take up the discussion on the resolution next month. Talks had been tabled twice so far, initially on April 6 at James’ request, as he acknowledged receiving a considerable number of emails on the matter.

“I’m going to commit to reaching out to the people who reached out to us to talk about this resolution,” James had said. “I’m not changing my mind, I’m still going to proceed, but I want to sit down with these people and explain what this is about.”

The resolution has prompted dozens of people to write in to the city to express their thoughts. According to the city clerk’s office, roughly 35 individuals have submitted comment cards for the proposal—none in support.

Among the chorus of those opposed to the resolution is the Orange County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a national group that advocates for responsible gun ownership.

“These types of resolutions are generally meaningless, all bark and no bite,” said Patricia Boe, a volunteer leader for the group. “But regardless of that, we oppose it, because it undermines the rule of law (and) fosters distrust in law enforcement and the communities that they serve.”

Boe also said that cities and states should uphold the laws in place.

“We don’t want to have a city council come in and unilaterally say that we don’t like these laws and say we shouldn’t have to enforce them,” Boe said. “(Councilmembers) are entitled to their opinion … but they can’t just decide to enforce a law that they don’t like.”

The proposed resolution comes as the nation continues to grapple with the epidemic of gun violence.

As of Tuesday, May 11, there had been a total 198 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which characterized 13 of those incidents as mass killings. The nonprofit defines a mass shooting as an incident involving four or more victims who have either been injured or killed, excluding the shooter.

Since James first proposed the resolution to the council in mid-March, there have been eight mass murders in the U.S., including the March 31 shooting at a real estate office in Orange, where four people—a 9-year-old boy among them—were killed.

On the same night that the councilmember first asked his colleagues to take up discussion on the resolution, a gunman in Atlanta, Georgia had earlier killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

Less than a week later, another gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people. And just over the past weekend, the state of Colorado again was rocked by a mass shooting, when a gunman killed six people before killing himself at a birthday party in Colorado Springs.

In the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, the Biden administration last month introduced a half-dozen gun control directives through executive actions. President Biden is looking to tamp down on homemade firearms referred to as “ghost guns,” which lack serial numbers, by having the Department of Justice draw up a policy proposal to limit such weapons.

Another directive has the DOJ drafting model “red flag” legislation for states to adopt. Red flag laws, according to the White House, allow family members or law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily bar people from accessing firearms “if they present a danger to themselves or others.”

Depending on how the council votes on the resolution, San Clemente could join many other municipalities that have declared themselves sanctuary cities for the Second Amendment.

The city council in the California city of Needles back in 2019 approved a similar resolution, and jurisdictions in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine and Texas have done the same. 

Asked what kind of message the resolution would send to the rest of the nation, Boe said it would negatively brand the city while separating it from a majority of the country that supports common-sense gun laws.

Two separate and recently conducted national polls—USA Today/Ipsos and Morning Consult-Politico—show that about two-thirds of Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws.

“We have this extremist on the council who’s willing to flout the majority of American voters because this is important to him but not the rest of the electorate or his constituency,” Boe said, criticizing James.

In his email, James reiterated his point on promoting safety by invoking several popular conservative talking points, pointing to Los Angeles, where, he said, the Defund the Police movement has had “disconcerting and disastrous results.”

He also claimed, without citing examples, that the “woke” and “progressive movement” was to blame for the “unraveling of society” in urban areas, as well as the apparent destruction of properties and “assaults and intimidation of law-abiding citizens” that he believes are being seen throughout the U.S.

“The Second Amendment addressed the right of citizens to bear arms,” James said in the email. “This was a response to the heavy-handed police powers of the Crown and the desire to allow the people of the newly formed republic to be safe and secure in their homes.”

SR_1Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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comments (18)

  • I’m in full support. However, the crazies own California and I’m sure James will be persecuted until no end for even suggesting this. But let’s make it happen nonetheless. I’m a bit tired of what ‘shall not be infringed’ totally infringed: including all of the other 9 fundamental amendments.

    Not sure why many of the population continuously watch them becoming meaningless; odd. Like watching their neighbors steel and take their property and just stare blankly.

    • Have you been asked to quarter soldiers in your home or hay barn recently?

    • I fully support the United States Constitution which includes the 2nd Amendment. I fully support Gene James in his heroic effort to support the Constitution and push back against the gun grabbing left who have no love for either our Constitution or our Country.

      While citizens are not asked to quarter troops in their home, they are forced to pay for illegal aliens.

      I would also agree with Mike M. that the reporting here was not fair and balanced…not even close. Only the dishonest could think so as so aptly pointed out by Mike. The following paragraph is illustrative of the bias:

      “He also claimed, without citing examples, that the “woke” and “progressive movement” was to blame for the “unraveling of society” in urban areas, as well as the apparent destruction of properties and “assaults and intimidation of law-abiding citizens” that he believes are being seen throughout the U.S.”

      Without citing examples? Really? We all watched as leftists burned and looted across America all summer long and continue to do so at a more infrequent pace. Mike M.’s point about defense use of firearms is spot on. Firearms are used between 500K and 3 million times a year to prevent individuals from becoming a victim. Often, the mere display of a firearm deters a criminal assault.

      The 2nd Amendment is the law of the land and any laws or statues enacted to undermine it are themselves illegal and need not be obeyed.

  • Many cities across the countries are doing the same thing. Not so much in Kommifornia. My bet is the author’s bias would approve of illegal alien sanctuary as that follows his obvious lefty bias.

  • As long as we’re taking up the city council’s time by passing non-binding resolutions, let’s pass one prohibiting persons guilty of “stolen valor” from serving on the city council.

  • Nice fair and balanced report by Shawn. Whether you support this idea or not, it seems that this would be something the residents of the City of San Clemente should decide as a whole. Not a proclamation by a single City Councilman. This is a purely political stunt at a time when the entire City Council should be working to help the city emerge from the pandemic as quickly and successfully as possible. Gene James needs to stay in his lane.

  • Bingo. The author Shawn Raymundo is another liberal lunatic activist pretending to be a reporter. Check his twitter, you’ll easily see this. More fake news from what looks like a bitter, America-hating anchor baby.

  • Thomas S., with all due respect, this was literally the complete opposite of fair and balanced reporting. The author made his distaste for less strict gun laws clear throughout his writing. In his opening paragraph, he writes about the “perceived” threat against gun rights. Similarly, he says that James “believes” that the gun rights of Californians are under threat from Sacramento and DC. These are not perceptions or beliefs, these are facts. Conversely, he refers to Moms Demand Action as a group that advocates for “responsible gun ownership”, when in reality they advocate for gun control. The author also went out of his way to point out as many gun violence statistics that he could, but didn’t make a single mention of one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of defensive gun uses that have occurred so far in the US this year alone. If you’re going to support a gun control agenda, at least be honest about it.

    He also hails from Guam, which historically has had the most strict gun control laws out of any US state or territory, so it’s not unlikely that he would believe those types of laws to be the norm (as opposed to being the exception that they actually were until they were finally overturned by the courts). As for the entire citizenry voting on it, if it’s a non-binding resolution, then what does it matter?

    And finally, I would be curious to know the Ms. Boe’s stance on CA being a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants; I’m not voicing an opinion on it one way or another, but it would be interesting to see if the author questioned her to see if she was consistent in her views on sanctuary cities.

  • Great job James. Please keep up your hard word. So many people out there willing to give up my rights for me. Make me want me give up the rights of all the left wing people collecting freebies from tax payers.

  • This is a waste of time and I agree with the other comment that it is just a stunt. Not one thing will change based on this, except for the lost opportunity to do something else that might actually help serve the city or its citizens. What’s next, taking a meaningless stand on every divisive issue that the City can’t do anything to influence?

  • Directly quoting the mayor asserting that he will push resolutions through despite what his electorate wants is disconcerting. He represents our collective voice, whether or not he agrees with it. Additionally, vaguely criticizing other “woke” and “urban” (ie not majority white) cities for how they handle their issues is tacky and uninformed. Lastly, this is an article about gun control, not immigration or sanctuary cities. I can’t help but feel like immigration is brought up because the reporter isn’t white and some people have a hard time hearing a non-white man critique the actions of our white male mayor. This isn’t exactly a shocking discourse for San Clemente, but we should try harder.

    • @ Ariel: The safety of our citizens is bolstered when we adhere to our 2nd Amendment rights. That safety includes not having our cities overrun by “woke” rioters or illegal aliens and hence, why those topics are germane. What is NOT germane is your racist injection of race into a non racial issue.

      • David: There is no evidence that out safety is bolstered by citizens having an increased, unchecked amount of guns. In fact, guns make crimes more violent. Just ask children who do active shooter drills at school. Immigrants do not cause more crime and protests can be violent on both sides. Undocumented people are half as likely to be reported for committing crimes as are citizens. Immigration and racial issues have nothing to do with gun control. This is just a way to push a racist narrative. There is an incredible amount of historical evidence to back this up – fear of gun control has been manipulated by white extremists since the 1970s. Here is some reading you might find “germane”: The book, “Patriots, Politics, and the Oklahoma City Bombing”, The Scientific American article, “Undocumented Immigrants are half as likely to be reported for violent crimes as U.S.-born citizens”, and Harvard News article, “Do guns make us safer? Science suggests no.”

        • Ariel, if you are ignorant of the evidence that firearms make citizens safer, that’s on you. There are between 500K and 3 million defensive uses of firearms each year. In many of these, the mere display of a firearm deterred a would be attack. I know personally a young woman who was sunning herself on a secluded beach when a man came to assault her. She pulled out her pistol and he took off. Women deserve the right to defend themselves so they aren’t raped. People with ideas like yours (I’m sure you mean well) would take away a woman’s right to defend herself from assault.

          Guns don’t make crime more violent and murder wasn’t invented with the introduction of firearms. In 2016, Nice France, one terrorist driven truck killed 86 people and injured another 458. In China, one mass knife attack resulted in 29 people dead and 130 wounded. In fact knife attacks in China and Britain are legion and in China, they are often directed against school children.

          Don’t conflate LEGAL immigration with ILLEGAL immigration. Every year, some 80K illegal aliens are arrested for DUI and 76K for other traffic offenses. They commit 50K assaults and 76K drug offenses. If illegal aliens are so law abiding, why are our prisons so full of them? Why are leftist Democrats so zealous to let illegals off the hook, even those arrested for violent crimes?

          Your statement: “Immigration and racial issues have nothing to do with gun control.” It was YOU who brought up the issue of race to which I responded.

          I support the 2nd Amendment, i.e., the Constitution. Do you?

  • Thank You Mr. James for showing courage and standing up against the infringement of our constitutionally protected right to protect our lives and property. Where is the reporting on how many lives are saved by the law-abiding gun owners when an attack is being perpetrated on their lives, their family’s lives, their homes & their communities? The threat by the Nanny State of the current administration in Washington D.C. as well as the once great state of California, is more than perceived, it is a fact. Even prior to the movement to defund police began, there wasn’t enough law enforcement available to go to all the locations at which they were needed. Now there are even fewer. It is unrealistic to expect that when you are confronted with an intruder/intruders in your home who are intending to steal, kidnap or kill you and your loved ones that an officer is going to arrive in time to stop them, even if you have a chance to call 911 before the intruder does what he intends. How many people are prepared to fend off an attack from a person armed with a knife? Just last week our neighbor, in a quiet neighborhood in Rancho San Clemente, was confronted with a home intruder in the morning armed with a knife. Fortunately, this was a big strong man protecting his young family and was able to disarm and take the intruder into custody himself. What would you do if you were 75 or 80 and you had a home intruder armed with a knife intent on harming you? I urge those of you who are unaware of these incidents to educate yourself before taking the stance that all people should go without the ability to protect theirselves.

    • Excellent comments Christine. The gun grabbers wish to deny law abiding citizens their Constitutional right to bear arms so they can protect themselves. They hypocritically claim we don’t need firearms because we have the police and then they call for defunding the police! Violent crime is rising in America and the reason is obvious…the lawless left is in charge.

  • What does it mean “your comments are awaiting moderation? ” Are my comments are being censored?

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