In a split vote of 3-2, the Council approved an ordinance that will require guns to be covered or in a case. Mayor Scott Johnson and Accounts Commissioner John Franck voted against the ordinance, while Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco voted in favor.
The ordinance was a result of public reaction earlier this year when participants to the Saratoga Arms Fair at the City Center carried rifles, shotguns and other firearms into the Center.
Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen asked for the resolution after he said he had been approached by several members of the community who were disturbed to see people carrying firearms on city streets.
“A number of people reported they were uncomfortable with people entering the gun show with their weapons exposed,” said Mathieson, adding that Saratoga did not have a law against someone carrying an exposed firearm in town.
Mathiesen said the ordinance would not affect the people’s rights to bear arms and that the law “only imposes a level of consideration … which most responsible gun owners already observe.”
“Our downtown is enjoyed by many people in many walks of life,” said Mathiesen. “Many of them would not be comfortable to see someone walking down the street with a gun in their hand. This is not Texas—this is not the kind of atmosphere you would expect here.”
Nearly a dozen residents spoke during the public hearing on the issue, but the majority of them are affiliated with the group protesting the gun show last January.
The resolution will make it a violation to carry a gun without a case or covering.