A proposal to open an indoor gun range in downtown Martinez has triggered a heated debate.
Many say the the plan is misguided and dangerous. Others say it’s right on target. City leaders on Tuesday night were getting an earful as they considered changing zoning law as for the new business.
The owner of a historic downtown building is asking for a change in the city’s zoning ordinance to open a sporting goods store that would sell firearms and feature an indoor shooting gallery in the basement.
The proposal has many up in arms. Residents are coming together to protest, citing health and safety concerns. Michael Selby and his husband recently moved from Los Angeles to Martinez, drawn by the city’s charm and sense of safety.
"It’s just kind magical the community is magical," Selby said. "We love the fact this community has an A-minus crime rating, and we’re both pretty much anti guns."
Opponent Marcia Hetzler added: "For a cute little family town like ours to even be considering not only a gun store but a gun firing range in our downtown is unconscionable."
Not everyone is opposed to the plan. Thomas Jamison says he’s looking forward to having a place to practice his shooting skills.
"I’m a lifetime member of the NRA, and I know NRA members are very responsible gun owners," Jamison said.
As city leaders prepared to consider the plan, folks like Selby say they’ll likely steer clear of the downtown area if the indoor gun range is allowed to open.
"Somebody’s going to forget to lock their car, and then somebody’s going to steal a gun and possibly shoot something up," he said.