Residents pack Los Gatos town hall over gun store


The meeting went on for more than four hours as residents discussed an issue that has sparked controversy rarely seen in this town.

"The opening of Templar Sports, a gun shop, has created a huge division in our town," said Los Gatos resident Cynthia Schneider.

Those opposed to the opening of the gun store toted signs honoring victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. Templar Sports opened just days after a gunman killed 20 children in Connecticut.

Opponents complain that Los Gatos town officials didn't conduct a public review of the permit process. But they weren't required to. And critics are worried about how close the store is to Van Meter Elementary.

"When I heard about a store being opened that warehouses guns 2,000 feet from our school, just around the corner, I felt a bit sick at heart," said Donna Matier, a gun store opponent.

Supporters of the store showed up en masse as well, waving bright orange signs. The crowd was so large, it overflowed into the lobby. Supporters say the owners of the store followed the rules and legally opened up their business.

"Treating this gun store, or treating this sporting goods store, as a pariah in affect treats all of us sportsmen and sportswomen in the same fashion and I think Los Gatos is a better town than that," said Robert Oneto, a gun store supporter.

Town staff members presented a report suggesting rules for more of a public review. However, its likely new rules would affect only future gun stores looking to open in Los Gatos. More than 100 people signed up to make a public comment and by about 11 p.m., they had only gotten through about half of those people. There was no word on how long the meeting might stretch into the night.

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