I simply didn’t have the time to wait to speak at tonight’s local town council meeting regarding Templar Sports. Last night’s meeting lasted until midnight and not everyone was even able to speak. I have to say it was fairly frustrating to hear some of the opposing arguments and it made the situation tough to sit through. There was no talk of the legality of the business. There was no talk of facts or statistics. Opposing arguments mostly consisted of emotional rants and Sandy Hook references. Here is the latest news on the meeting, for reference. This is my speech, as I planned on delivering it:
Hello, thank you for allowing me to speak. First, allow me to explain my relevancy in this discussion. I was born and raised in the town of Los Gatos. I currently live close enough to walk to this meeting. I am also the son of a self-employed entrepreneur whose business is incorporated in Los Gatos. My childhood and current life revolves around this wonderful town and I am happy to say that Los Gatos is a part of my identity.
That being said, I am very disappointed to see the hostility being shown to a lawful private enterprise in this forum. I do not know the owners of Templar Sports, and I have no interest in seeing them succeed or fail. However, I do take serious issue with the fact that we are having a council meeting to discuss the possibility of dissolving a Los Gatos business arbitrarily and without justification. Frankly, this situation is embarrassing.
Everything I have read and heard about Templar Sports has shown that they have already jumped through the necessary hoops to operate a business in Los Gatos. Any store that sells firearms is subject to incredibly stringent regulations both locally and on a federal level. Nobody is debating the fact they operate legally.
Thus, I presume the irrational, self-righteous attempt to drive this lawful business out of existence is motivated only by politics, as I cannot find any other logical argument. I have no idea why this sporting goods store has become a target for radical anti-rights groups, but for some reason, they have. There isn’t a single statistic that shows that sporting goods stores increase crime or make it dangerous for nearby residents, and anyone telling you otherwise is being dishonest or misleading.
As a resident, a lawful business of any kind poses no threat to my existence and has every right to exist in my town. However, arbitrarily bullying Templar Sports is a slippery slope that does all of our residents and businesses a disservice. The role of the government is to protect the minority, and here we have a few vocal haters oppressing a local business. The town council should have thrown this discussion out long ago.
Unfortunately, in spite of reason, many people have an emotionally fearful reaction to certain inanimate objects and cannot be reasoned with. Luckily there is a wonderful remedy that can suit everyone from both sides of this debate: If you don’t like Templar Sports, don’t shop there. You see, there already is a system in place to decide whether or not residents want businesses to stay. It’s called the free market. Vote with your wallet, but please do not make misguided attempts to lobby the government to remove this particular business on your behalf. It is foolish and completely transparent.
Update: The Los Gatos Town Council has imposed an “emergency moratorium” on new gun dealers. Wow. I’m so proud to be a resident. And listen to this:
State law allows for a moratorium based on documented health, safety and welfare concerns.
Councilwoman Marcia Jensen proposed several ways the town could meet that burden of proof. “There have been complaints about vandalism, graffiti, litter etc. in front of the shop,” Jensen said. “We have heard comments about threats made in conjunction with the shop. We’ve heard comments about the proximity to a school and a park and an avenue used by students.”
For reference, the vandalism she is referring to was almost certainly caused by anti-rights groups, as were the death threats toward the owners (why are anti-rights zealots so violent?). Hopefully, Don Kilmer will get an opportunity to challenge the decision.