IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — The City of Imperial Beach is opening the door for gun sales after unanimously approving an ordinance this week and ending a temporary ban on issuing permits to gun retailers.
“We’re a family-oriented community. We just want to make sure that this particular ordinance was the right fit for our city,” said Mayor Paloma Aguirre.
The city enacted a 45-day moratorium on permits in June after a local woman applied for a business license.
The owner, Stephanie Gilreath, said her sporting goods store Outdoor Woman would open on Palm Avenue, selling mostly outdoor gear with gun sales making up around 10% of the business.
“Our legal counsel worked to research a number of other cities to see what they were doing,” Aguirre said, “(like) 100-plus other ordinances out there to kind of get an idea of what would be a good fit with cities that are similar to us socio-demographically.”
The new ordinance includes rules for permits, how guns are stored, who has access to them, along with age restrictions.
And any businesses with gun sales would go in a commercial mixed-use zone along Palm Avenue.
“To make sure that we had a buffer around schools, much smaller buffer around parks, and also some limitations on the entry of minors into these establishments. Anything that would be a store that’s 50-percent or more guns, there would be a restriction for minors to come in, but that’s pretty reasonable compared to other cities,” said Aguirre.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, several people said the ordinance still includes too many restrictions.
“Some of these age restrictions that are in here, some of these other restrictions, I don’t agree with. However, I do appreciate the effort that has been put into this,” said Gilreath, who hopes to open her store in October.
Aguirre says the city will welcome feedback and could make adjustments in the future.
“We want to make sure that she’s successful and the fact that it’s woman-led, I think it’s really great,” Aguirre said. “Had it not been for her, we wouldn’t have been prompted to develop something that would be a good fit for our community and absolutely I look forward to the ribbon cutting and helping support her business.”