CalGuns Does A Little Digging Into Sunnyvale And Finds A Treasure Trove Of Hypocrisy

After the City of Sunnyvale (California) passed Measure C which included among other things magazine bans, the CalGuns Foundation decided to do a little digging using California’s California Public Records Act. What they found out was quite interesting and just show hypocritical the city’s own policies and practices are when it comes to firearms and magazines. For example, residents of Sunnyvale aren’t allowed to possess magazines with greater than a 10 round capacity. However, police officers are required to have loaded 20 round magazines in their issue AR-15 along with two spares stored in the trunk of their police cruiser.

Another example is that the City of Sunnyvale’s Public Safety Department, Traffic Safety Unit has not one but two Heckler & Koch MP7 Personal Defense Weapons. You and I couldn’t own one of these even if we paid the $200 NFA tax stamp because of the Hughes Amendment. However, Sunnyvale considers these essentials weapons for a unit whose mission is “to ensure the safe and orderly flow of pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic.” Could someone in Sunnyvale please explain to me why a motorcycle cop needs a full auto sub-machine gun to stop jay walkers and to make sure bicyclists stay in the bike lanes?

Read CalGuns release below and make sure to scan through the documents that they obtained from the City of Sunnyvale. They make for interesting reading.

ROSEVILLE, CA — In response to the City of Sunnyvale’s recently-passed (and now infamous) Measure C – sweeping new and unconstitutional gun control laws that directly [negatively] affect law-abiding people — The Calguns Foundation (CGF) sought out public records to better understand the City’s own policies and practices as they relate to firearm/magazine acquisition and possession for its employees and contractors.

Measure C passed on November 5, 2013, in a low-turnout election and took effect Dec. 6, giving gun owners until March 6 to comply with the new regulations, including an outright ban on the possession of “large-capacity” magazines holding more than 10 rounds — even those ‘grandfathered’ under state law. A number of firearms organizations have subsequently announced legal actions against the City to block the law from being enforced and, in at least one case, have it judicially declared as unconstitutional.

On October 29, 2013, CGF executive director Brandon Combs sent this request for information under the California Public Records Act. Our request consisted of the following 6 classifications of public records:

1. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for the acquisition of firearms, including makes, models, and quantities;

2. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for the acquisition of firearm accessories and firearm parts, including makes, models, and quantities;

3. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for firearm repair and/or modification, including records going to the type of repair(s)/modification(s) and its/their cause(s);

4. Policies, manuals, guides, and other such governing documents addressing the City’s requirements/standards/rules for firearms, firearms accessories, and firearms parts used for City business, including but not limited to law enforcement, whether owned by the City or not;

5. Policies, manuals, guides, and other such governing documents addressing the City’s rules for personal acquisition of firearms, firearm accessories, and/or firearm parts by its employees and contractors; and

6. City authorizations or records addressing personal acquisition of firearms, firearm accessories, and/or firearm parts by City employees or contractors.

On November 20, 2013, the City replied to our request and sent these responsive documents, some 97 pages of policies and purchase orders. In its own records, the Sunnyvale acknowledged several key arguments relating to effective self-defense and implicitly concedes that we are correct about common semi-automatic firearms and their necessary components, like magazines. For example:

  • Unloaded firearms are useless and not tactically-appropriate for self-defense;

  • Modern semi-automatic firearms provide significant upside to those who are forced to use them for self-defense; and

  • Magazines having a capacity greater than ten (10) rounds — “large-capacity” in government elitist-speak — offer such material benefit that they are specified for City employees and provided to them at taxpayer expense.

The City records we acquired as part of our audit will continue to be scrutinized by us, by you, and, hopefully, the news media.

NSSF Sues Sunnyvale, California Over New Gun Ordinance

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, US Firearms Company LLC, and Eric Fisher filed a lawsuit Monday in Santa Clara County (California) Superior Court seeking to enjoin the enforcement of a new gun ordinance. The ordinance requires sellers of ammunition to keep logs of purchasers, bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and requires the reporting of a firearms theft to the police within 48 hours. The ordinance was passed in a special city election with great support from Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors.

The lawsuit contends that the ordinance violates both state and Federal laws as well as being preempted by California state law dealing with firearms. The plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order, a preliminary and permanent injunction, and a writ of mandate prohibiting its implementation as well as requiring notice to the police that the law is invalid.

The NSSF’s release on the lawsuit is below:

NEWTOWN, Conn. — the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Sunnyvale, Calif. and the Sunnyvale City Council to prevent an ordinance passed in November from being enforced that is detrimental to responsible and law-abiding firearms retailers doing business within city limits.

In the complaint, NSSF and U.S. Firearms Company LLC, a local retailer, are challenging portions of the city’s newly enacted gun-control ordinance that violates and is preempted by state and federal law and that imposes an onerous regulatory burden on firearms retailers including requirements that they keep ammunition sales logs and personal information on their customers and that expands and duplicates an existing reporting requirement for lost or stolen guns.

“Retailers in Sunnyvale must be federally licensed and already comply with a myriad of state and federal laws in operating their businesses. These businesses should be entitled to operate under the same rules, not a patchwork of different and conflicting local laws across California,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “It is unjust to ask retailers within the Sunnyvale city limits to collect sensitive personal information from customers who easily can drive a few miles to a store in another city where such information is not required. Surely, no demonstrable public safety benefit is achieved and only law-abiding businesses are penalized.”

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin enforcement of the Sunnyvale ordinance.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the NRA will be filing a similar lawsuit in Federal district court.

The NRA had threatened to sue even before Measure C was approved, and the group’s West Coast counsel, Chuck Michel, intends to file that federal lawsuit Monday, a spokesman for Michel said Tuesday. Michel last month filed an NRA-supported suit against San Francisco over a similar ban on high capacity magazines.

But Sunnyvale taxpayers won’t foot the bill because of the offer of (San Francisco law firm) Farella Braun + Martel to defend the city against the gun-related lawsuits for free.

Farella Braun + Martel has 137 attorneys and is headquartered in San Francisco with a satellite office in Napa Valley. The Legal Center to Prevent Gun Violence (sic), formerly the Legal Center Against Violence, gave them their “Outstanding Pro Bono Contribution” award in 2009 and 2010.

Sunnyvale Planning Commission Wants To Impose Unconstitutional Restrictions Due To NIMBYs

Attorney Chuck Michel who works with the NRA/CRPA Legal Action Project in California posted an article this evening about the Sunnyvale, California Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is seeking to have the Sunnyvale City Council adopt a new municipal ordinance which would put increased restrictions on the sale of firearms in Sunnyvale. The Commission is responding to unfounded complaints from some neighbors of a firearms dealer that opened in Sunnyvale in 2010. The complaints include that they weren’t notified and that children walk by the store on their way to school as if just merely seeing guns will turn their kids into the next Klebold and Harris (of Columbine infamy).


On August 22, 2011, the Planning Commission for the City of Sunnyvale held a meeting to consider the City’s ongoing “Firearms Sales Study Issue.” The issue originated when a firearms dealer, U.S. Firearms, opened for business in Sunnyvale in the fall of 2010. Despite the fact that the dealer had all necessary permits and licenses from both the state and federal government, neighbors made complaints to Sunnyvale staff and elected officials.

The Sunnyvale Planning Commission ultimately decided to sponsor the issue as a result of the complaints, but the City Council ranked it number 4 of 4 for 2011. Even though this issue had the lowest ranking by the City Council for 2011, and the fact that the Staff Report on the issue (AVAILABLE HERE) indicates that “there has been no evidence of increased crime, property devaluation or land use incompatibilities as the result of the businesses,” and Sunnyvale “staff ha[d] not identified any adverse land use impacts associated with a firearms store,” the Planning Commission nonetheless recommended that the City Council adopt an ordinance to amend the City’s municipal code to place restrictions on firearm sales in Sunnyvale. Though the staff report acknowledged there had been no problems with firearm sellers, staff nonetheless inexplicably noted in the report that, “[t]he greatest concern regarding firearm sales is the business operator that is engaged in buying and selling the firearms.”

The approved ordinance would: 1) add a definition for “firearms sales business;” 2) prohibit these businesses in commercial and industrially-zoned districts within 200 feet of public schools in order to provide a buffer to the schools; and 3) require a new DPS Firearms Dealer Permit that would include additional conditions such as requiring a security plan to be installed and then inspected by the City, and that the Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder and all employees meet the state and federal requirements regarding past criminal convictions, etc. (current requirements are limited to the dealer and not the employees).

Michel & Associates attorneys submitted an opposition letter to the Planning Commission on behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) noting that firearm dealers are subject to a variety of background checks at both the state and federal levels. The letter (AVAILABLE HERE) also noted that firearm dealers are generally some of the most upstanding members of society, and that after the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision, they enjoy a protected status as purveyors of a fundamental right. So the fact that some “residents [of Sunnyvale] have expressed [unfounded] concerns about the potential crime and public safety risk associated with a firearm sales business located near their homes and schools” does not mean that the City of Sunnyvale is free to infringe on fundamental Second Amendment rights.

The letter explains that since the Second Amendment is a newly court-recognized right, the contours of the Second Amendment’s protections are still being litigated in courtrooms across the country. The letter also amicably explains the current legal landscape regarding firearm regulation, and suggests Sunnyvale should avoid litigation on these issues by consulting with the NRA, CRPA, and their attorneys.

As the city continues moving forward with the proposed ordinance, additional correspondence will be submitted.

I have examined the 141 page staff report submitted to the  Sunnyvale Planning Commission. Much of the document was devoted to reporting on the comments at a public meeting on the issue. Approximately 120 people attended the June 2011 meeting and it appears that the overwhelming majority were against any new regulations and were indeed pro-rights. Many of the letters received also support the existing gun store, U.S. Firearms, and gun stores in general.

However, the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) has weighed in on the issue with a 59 page submission urging the Planning Commission to adopt new regulations. Unfortunately, this submission and not the majority of the residents of Sunnyvale seems to have carried the day. You must wonder if LCAV will also foot the legal bills for Sunnyvale when they get the pants sued off of them on Second Amendment grounds. I somehow doubt it.