Gun Ban in County Parks Upheld

San Mateo County’s law banning gun possession in county parks and recreation areas survived a challenge by a gun owners’ group Friday in a California state court of appeal.

The First District Court of Appeal upheld dismissal of a 2011 suit by Calguns Foundation, Inc., which challenged the local ordinance as preempted by state law.

The law limited firing of weapons to shooting ranges in the area.

If Alameda County has authority to prohibit the operation of gun shows on its property, as prior courts have decided, “clearly San Mateo County has the authority to prohibit the use of guns on specific portions of its property, too, i.e., its designated parks and recreation areas,” wrote Justice Paul Haerle.

The National Rifle Association joined in the suit contending the law had no exception for people issued licenses to carry concealed firearms. The NRA argued the county cannot prohibit people, who are permitted to carry concealed weapons from carrying them into parks.

“We disagree,” the appeals court said.

The panel noted that it is the county sheriff who issues the licenses and has broad discretion. It logically follows that if the county did not weapons in parks the permit could include those conditions, according to the court.

“The scope of the San Mateo county ordinance at issue here is very narrow: the carrying, firing, or discharge of any gun or firearm… or any other dangerous weapon’ within ‘any county park or recreation area’… is prohibited,” the court notes.

Case:  Calguns Foundation, Inc. v. County of San Mateo, No. A136092



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