By: José Niño

In the city of Imperial Beach, California, individuals can no longer legally purchase firearms. On June 21, 2023, the Imperial Beach City Council enacted an emergency moratorium on new retailers selling firearms and ammunition.

This moratorium was passed on a 4-1 vote. Only Councilmember Carol Seabury voted against the measure, which immediately enacted the moratorium. The city will not issue any business licenses for 45 days, although city officials could extend the moratorium for up to two years.

The temporary prohibition came after Outdoor Woman, LLC, a sporting goods business catered to women, submitted a business license application to the municipal government in an effort to set up shop in the city. The store had plans on selling active apparel and gear for certain outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking. Outdoor Woman, LLC owner Stephanie Gilreath noted that only 10% of her business would involve the sale of firearms.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 105 municipal entities in California mandate firearm dealers to acquire a local license on top of complying with state and federal requirements. Currently, Imperial Beach has no rules with regards to similar operations in commercial, mixed-used zones. That said, there are no storefronts allowed to sell ammunition and guns in its commercial, mixed-use zones at the moment.

Some of the restrictions city staff indicated they would study comprise of distancing requirements, the establishment of zones that would be permitted to sell ammo and firearms, and city-run background checks on all licensees and employees. Additionally, the city would study proposals to determine if gun stores would be subject to different rules that would not be applicable to sporting goods retailers.

Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, opined on this development:

“This City Council is a clown show. They are unilaterally banning firearms dealers from the city for 45 days now and up to two years if the mood strikes them? And the lady applying to sell guns operated there legally from 2014-2020 without incident. This is a sickening overreach by a bunch of power hungry gun control zealots.”

California is one of the most anti-gun states in the Union; it’s currently ranked in 48th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners, so it’s unsurprising that a city in the state would pursue such radical measures against the sale of firearms.

More cities will likely follow in Imperial City’s footsteps as the state’s politics grow more polarized on gun issues. California’s law-abiding citizens will greatly suffer as a result.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.