Men walk downtown streets with shotguns to protest gun control

Gun rights advocates have been on the defensive after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, but that didn’t stop one group in Sacramento from demonstrating their opposition to gun control in a way that was sure to get attention.  Sacramento police questioned and then released a group of men who walked down one of the city’s busiest streets with shotguns over their shoulders Sunday evening. Two of the men in the group were carrying shotguns when police stopped them at 10th and J streets around 9:20 p.m., according to officer Michelle Gigante. They were found to be in compliance with current open carry laws as the guns were not loaded, Gigante said. One of the suspects told officers that they wanted to carry the guns in public before it becomes illegal, Gigante said. The state legislature passed a law in August that bans the carrying of long guns or rifles and shotguns outside of motor vehicles. That law will go into effect on Jan. 1. Supporters of the law cited the danger posed by mass shootings, including the one in Aurora, Colo., while opponents said it targeted law abiding citizens and was "fear mongering." Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.

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The New York Times features Sacramento’s rising crime rate

Sacramento was featured in the Sunday New York Times, with a blurb teasing to the article on 1A of the Northern California print edition. The topic isn’t what the Convention & Visitors Bureau would have hoped for. The piece is about how deep cuts in the Police Department have coincided with a rise in crime, and how other cities across the county are facing similar challenges. The article is well-timed for supporters of Measure U, the ballot measure that, if passed onTuesday, will increase the sales tax by one-half cent and direct the money to city services, including the Police Department. The link: Crime Increases in Sacramento After Deep Cuts to Police Force, by Erica Goode. A few key points from The New York Times article: The stats are troublesome: "While homicides have remained steady, shootings — a more reliable indicator of gun violence — are up 48 percent this year. Rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and vehicle thefts have also increased, though in smaller increments." The cuts have been deep: "The shrinking of Sacramento’s police force has been extreme; the department has lost more than 300 sworn officers and civilian staff members and more than 30 percent of its budget since 2008." Measure U It may help if Measure U passes on Tuesday, but the police department believes that change is here to say. "A local sales tax […]

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High-speed rail could hurt Brown’s tax plan at ballot; New indoor gun range in Sacramento County: Wake-Up Call

Welcome to another edition of the "Wake-Up Call," a rundown of items that we’re working on, found interesting, or otherwise thought you might want to know about today. As is always the case here at Sac Press, suggestions are welcome. WHAT WE’RE READING RIDIN’ THE RAILS: With just two days left in the legislative session, lawmakers are about to face off on whether to approve funding for high-speed rail – but they should take a peek at the latest Field Poll before they do. Of the three tax measures headed to the November ballot – one from Gov. Jerry Brown, one from attorney Molly Munger that would raise personal income taxes, and one from hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer that would increase taxes on multi-state businesses operating in California – Brown’s measure currently enjoys greater voter support. Poll results show that voters favor Brown’s tax measure 54 percent to 38 percent, but they are evenly split on each of the other two measures, 46 percent yes and 46 percent no on Munger’s measure, and 44 percent yes to 43 percent no on Steyer’s proposal. That looks good for Brown, until high-speed rail is brought into the mix. Since high-speed rail was passed in 2008, projected costs have increased (to the tune of $35 billion) while voter support for the project has steadily decreased: According to the […]

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Gun store coming to Midtown

The next tenant for the old Cornerstone space at 2330 J St. could be a gun store, as a federal firearms dealer license was issued for that address Wednesday. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Helen Dunkel said Thursday that the license was issued to Manuel Hernandez and Jesus Figueroa, and the business listed on the license is M&J Gun Trade. “It’s an 01-type license, so that’s handguns, long guns, and probably accessories and ammunition,” Dunkel said. Calls to the license holders were not returned Thursday afternoon. According to Principal Planner Greg Bitter of the city Community Development Department, there is no public hearing process before the store can open. “Selling firearms is considered retail use and is allowed in the general commercial zone,” Bitter said. “There is no specific land use or entitlement needed. All they would need is building permits for any internal tenant improvements.” He added that he currently has no specific information on the intended use of the space. The space previously housed popular Midtown breakfast spot Cornerstone, which moved in 2010. M&J Gun Trade won’t be far from the site of a previous gun shop, Old Sacramento Armory, which ran for decades a block away at 2215 J St. Old Sacramento Armory closed in the mid-2000s and was replaced by Capital Stage last year. Brandon Darnell is a […]

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Opinion: Guns and alcohol! Merry Christmas!

Whatever your particular creed or faith, most people regard this time of year as a season of peace — a time to reflect, count blessings, maybe offer a little prayer for better days ahead. We suffer the coarseness and indignities of a saturated consumer market to enjoy the time with family and friends, and work for better days in our communities. That is why it was so appalling that a recent trip to an area Sam’s Club for supplies for a holiday party became an occasion for outrage. Sam’s Club (a division of Walmart) often has vendors set up special displays of merchandise that might not be part of its regular lineup of products. Megawine Inc., a liquor distributor from Van Nuys, had an entire display — front and center in the Sam’s Club on El Camino, and right around the corner from the video games and children’s books — of tequila in various life-sized, gun-shaped bottles. Consumers could buy replicas of AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles, carbines, semi-automatic handguns and pistols, all filled with tequila. Alcohol and guns — together! How festive! Do we really need to combine two of the more obvious enablers, as criminologists call them, of violence in this country? How mind-numbingly stupid must the marketing department be to think that this would be a smart way to market tequila? Is Sam’s […]

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Urban Rifle Hike

Sacramento to Rancho Cordova I decided to take advantage of the lull between the hot, and the soon to arrive stormy weather and go for a hike to the gun range today. I needed to prepare for hunting season, and the best way is to suit up and practice a little. You don’t want your first day out in the field to be the testing ground for you and your gear, because it usually costs some dough to go on safari, and these days, that’s a big concern. You could end up spending a hundred or two, and come home empty handed and with pulled muscles or who knows what other ailments. Before I went abalone diving for the first time each year, I always took a quick check out dive locally for the same reasons. So I put on my hiking boots, grabbed my 30.06 and 20 rounds in a waistband carrier, along with a bottle of water and a small amount of cash for range fees and emergencies. I slung the .06 across my back and headed out from home shortly after noon. My route was a little less than "as the crow flies" due to school zones, but I guessed the trip was 10 miles one way. The temperature was hot, but not unbearable, and the sun was beating down pretty good, but […]

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2nd Amendment Day

“We have to fight to protect the Second Amendment” said Sam Parades, member of the Board of Directors of Gun Owners of America, to a group of gun enthusiasts who gathered to express their second amendment rights at a “2nd Amendment Day” event, sponsored by TDS Guns of Rocklin. Craig, co-owner of TDS Guns, said they put on this event “to show our support for the Tea Party and the Second Amendment.” “People don’t take responsibility”, said Craig, when asked about the purchase of firearms for unlawful reasons. “It’s not the gun’s fault, it is the individual.” Several guest speakers spoke at the event, including Eric Hogue, VP of Advancement at William Jessup University, Sacramento area talk show host, and radio commentator. Hogue reflected on his upbringing being exposed to guns and how his Great Grandfather taught him everything he needed to know about the use, danger, and proper way to use guns, “so why on God’s green earth, do I need a government to tell me more than that”. Nearby, two protesters used their First Amendment rights to peacefully express their views on the subject of gun control. “We have been able to point out our beliefs about how accidental deaths from guns are unacceptable and there are too many in a modern society” said one protester. Also on hand today was Miss Capitol […]

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City program targets problem buildings, slumlords

When buildings become slums and havens for gangs, prostitution and drug use, a little-known city program can force landowners to clean them up or – in extreme cases – be evicted. The Justice for Neighbors program began in 2006 and allows multiple departments – including police, code enforcement, the city attorney’s office and park rangers – to focus their efforts on some of the worst slumlords and dangerous properties in the city, resolving an average of 17 cases per year. “Essentially, it’s a public and social nuisance (enforcement) team,” said Gustavo Martinez, supervising deputy city attorney. “We meet every month and evaluate the worst security issues.” Property owners are required to bring their buildings into compliance and stop criminal activity on the sites, or else they can face prosecution and jail time. Safety issues are also tackled by the program when property owners refuse to comply with city codes and ordinances. The program went into effect in 2006 to streamline city services and cut down on the time it was taking to solve the problems, Martinez said. Many times, police and code enforcement officers were working on the same property for different reasons, and the Justice for Neighbors program ensures there are no duplicate efforts – and similarly, no duplicate expenses. Police Sgt. Matt Young, who is a leader of the south area’s Problem Oriented […]

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Travelers’ thoughts about firearms on Amtrak

With news of Amtrak’s new firearm policy to take effect Dec. 15, The Sacramento Press wanted to get an idea of what travelers think about the decision. First-time Amtrak traveler Tina Stephens simply doesn’t see the need for such a policy. “I don’t see any reason why anybody would need a firearm on the train anyway,” Stephens said. “I see no need for people to carry one if the people who work for Amtrak don’t have to carry them. That just opens yourself up for a lot of problems.” Christina Miller of Redding also has mixed feelings about the policy. “I don’t see a problem with it, but then again the terrorist thing is kind of scary,” Miller said. “If I were a hunter and I was traveling, I would want to be able to travel with what I need to hunt. But I’m not sure how I feel about that.” Mike Goedert of Iowa sees no problem with it. “I guess I don’t have any problem with it as long as they separate it from the individual who brings it aboard, I guess that would be fine,” Goedert said. “It’s just like any other apparel you would bring like a knife or something that you can stick in your luggage and they let you bring that aboard, so I guess it’s allright.” Sharon, a […]

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Ask Officer Michelle – Carrying A Concealed Weapon Takes A Lot of Consideration

Posted by Sorren Hello officer Michelle, thanks for always answering my potentially pesky questions I have another issue that has been bothering me a lot. As you of course know, some unfortunate kid got killed on campus a couple weeks ago. Three days before that, there were gunshots fired on my block in what I used to think was an upper-middleclass safe neighborhood. I don’t really feel safe anymore, and decided that I’m going to purchase a handgun immediately as soon as I can afford the one that I want. The issue is, that it’s not useful, if I can’t have access to it on a whim. I had my dad’s gun a few years ago when I lived in chicago. No CCW. So I had an unloaded, locked up pistol in the back seat of my vehicle, when I got held up and had to give up my (thankfully lo-jacked) vehicle. I had the means to defend myself in arms reach, and there was nothing that could be done. I’d really rather not relive that experience, and invest in a 500 dollar firearm that I can’t use because I can’t carry it. I think it’s really unfortunate that I’d get charged with a felony for trying to defend myself against, you know… ACTUAL criminals. How does one go about successfully getting a CCW permit? […]

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