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When we moved to San Clemente, almost 25 years ago, we fell in love with the picturesque coastline, the canyons and mountain views and the city slogan “Spanish Village by the Sea.” 

Ole Hanson, the city’s founder, thought of it as a painting, 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. “My San Clemente by the Sea,” he called it.   

Twenty-five years ago, it was a sleepy beach town where people from the big cities came to retire and where the best surfers came to catch a wave.  

Now Mayor Pro Tem Gene James and Councilmember Steven Knoblock want to change this historical image to suit their own personal and erroneous political opinion that “the government is going to take away our guns,” so they want to declare San Clemente “a Second Amendment Sanctuary City,” which albeit may be meaningless, all bark and no bite, but it is divisive to San Clemente’s diverse community. 

Many of us believe that there are already too many guns in our society, and too many guns in the hands of the wrong people. Many of us believe that law enforcement officers agree with us. Some perpetrators are more heavily armed than the police, putting the police at a disadvantage. And I say this from experience as a former instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia. 

But most of all, Mr. James and Mr. Knoblock, the designation that you put forward is offensive. It is offensive to us who have lost loved ones, friends and acquaintances to gun violence. 

In my case, it was 20 first- and second-graders and four staff members who were massacred in my home state of Connecticut in December of 2012.  And because of the Second Amendment, which, in my opinion, has been erroneously interpreted (but that’s another story), nothing was done about it, not even the “no-brainer” of passing a law requiring background checks. 

I say, put your “Second Amendment Sanctuary City” to rest. Let San Clemente be known by its historic name, “The Spanish Village by the Sea.” 

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