San Carlos Adopts New Firearms Regulations

The City of San Carlos recently adopted new regulations governing: (1) retailers who sell firearms or ammunition; (2) indoor shooting ranges; (3) storage of firearms in residences; and (4) firearms at public gatherings.

Retailers Selling Firearms or Ammunition

New retailers who sell firearms or ammunition may be located only in certain areas of the city.  A new store may not be established within 1,000 feet of any: other store that sells firearms or ammunition; residential zoning district; school; day care center; youth center; community center; place of worship; park as defined in California law.  The two existing businesses in San Carlos that sell firearms may continue to operate in their present locations.

All retailers who sell firearms or ammunition, including the two existing businesses, must obtain a law enforcement safety permit to operate.  This process requires background checks not only of the applicant for the permit, but also of all persons who will have access to or control of firearms or ammunition on the premises, including employees, supervisors, and other agents of the business.  Each person in these categories must submit fingerprints to the Sheriff as part of the background investigation.  The Sheriff must not issue a law enforcement permit if any of the persons subject to a background check has committed any one of a host of disqualifying acts specified in the City’s new law.

A law enforcement safety permit also requires that a business selling firearms or ammunition safely secure firearms and ammunition during business hours.  A business must also meet California’s stringent requirements for qualifying as a secure facility.  These requirements are designed to ensure that it is extraordinarily difficult to break in during non-business hours and steal firearms or ammunition.  All businesses must be equipped with an alarm system and with a video surveillance system that operates without interruption, and that is capable of capturing the faces of both buyer and seller involved in every firearm or ammunition sale.

San Carlos imposes many other requirements for obtaining a law enforcement safety permit, and they may be found in Ordinance No. 154.

A law enforcement safety permit is valid for one year, and must be renewed every year.  The renewal process involves the same background check and safety investigation involved in the process for evaluating the initial permit application.

Indoor Shooting Ranges

Commercial indoor shooting ranges may be located only in certain areas of the City.  They may not be established within 1,000 feet of any: other indoor shooting range; store that sells firearms or ammunition; residential zoning district; school; day care center; youth center; community center; place of worship; any park as defined in California law.

A law enforcement safety permit is required for the operation of any shooting range in the city.  The City will not issue such a permit for any outdoor range.  Only indoor ranges are eligible for a safety permit.

Background checks similar to those required for retailers are required for those who operate or work at an indoor shooting range.  The Sheriff must not issue a permit if any of the persons subject to a background check has committed any one of a host of disqualifying acts specified in the City’s new law.  Also, safety standards specific to shooting ranges must be satisfied before the Sheriff will issue the required permit.  All ranges must be equipped with an alarm system and with a video surveillance system that operates without interruption.

San Carlos imposes many other restrictions on indoor shooting ranges, and they may be found in Ordinance No. 1542.

A law enforcement safety permit for an indoor shooting range is valid for one year, and must be renewed every year.  The renewal process involves the same background check and safety investigation involved in the process for evaluating the initial permit application.

Storage of Firearms in Residences

Like many other communities, San Carlos requires any firearm kept within a residence to be stored in a locked container, or disabled with a trigger lock.  The only exceptions are when a firearm is carried on the person or is within the immediate control of the person; or is under the control of a peace officer.

Firearms at Public Gatherings

Persons may not possess firearms at “public gatherings” in San Carlos.  The definition of “public gathering,” which may be found in Ordinance No. 1542, includes any event that requires a special event permit and involves 20 or more persons.  There are a number of persons exempted from this law, including peace officers and others who carry firearms lawfully as part of their duties.

Community Input

  • View past discussions:
City Council Meeting March 11, 2019 Agenda Packet - Item 7A (p.42) Video
City Council Meeting January 14, 2019 Agenda Packet - Item 7A (p. 87)  Video
City Council Meeting November 13, 2017 Agenda Packet- Item 8A (p. 608) Video
City Council Meeting November 27, 2017 Agenda Packet - Item 7A (p. 292)  Video
City Council Meeting October 22, 2018 Agenda Packet - Item 8A (p. 70)  Video
Planning Commission Meeting November 5, 2018 Agenda Packet - Item 6E (p. 43)  Video 
Planning Commission Meeting November 19, 2018 Agenda Packet - Item 6A (p. 10)  Video