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Only active duty peace officers and a few others will be allowed to carry weapons inside Fresno City Hall, the council decided Thursday.


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Enacting a new policy at the behest of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, the council voted 6-1 to limit guns to law enforcement officers, retired law enforcement officers (as long as they check in with security), and the city’s independent police auditor John Gliatta, himself a former FBI agent with a license to carried a concealed firearm.

The verdict came over the sometimes loud objections of councilman Garry Bredefeld.

“This is nothing more than an effort to disarm law-abiding CCW holders, whose only crime today was to meet up with politicians that want to disarm them,” Bredefeld said after the vote.

“We are very supportive (of the Second Amendment),” said police chief Andy Hall during the meeting. “We are just trying to find the right balance.”

The new CCW policy coincides with enhanced security at City Hall that went into place Jan. 2. Members of the public now have a single point of entry and are screened through metal detectors. While employees are exempt from screening, that policy could change.

Bredefeld Defends Gun Rights

“Mayor Brand’s plan is declaring a gun-free zone … Maniacs love gun-free zones.”Councilman Garry Bredefeld

Bredefeld said the security policy benefits “bad guys.”

“Mayor Brand’s plan is declaring a gun-free zone,” Bredefeld said. “Maniacs love gun-free zones.”

Both Brand and Hall disagreed with Bredefeld’s characterization of the policy.

Bredefeld then played a video of a news story regarding a 2010 shooting at a Florida school board meeting. It showed graphic images of a man firing a gun at school board members. All the shots missed, and the shooter eventually killed himself (the latter not seen in the video).

Council president Miguel Arias cut off the video, angering Bredefeld.

“You don’t cut any video. That’s my video,” Bredefeld shouted. “That’s the reality with people with guns. If you don’t like it, too bad.”

Afterward, Arias expressed concern about broadcasting such images to children who may be watching on cable TV through CMAC (public access).

“It was in poor taste,” Arias said. He said the council may need to revisit its rules for airing videos.

Bredefeld vs. Hall

Bredefeld questioned Hall about CCW permit holders and safety. At times, it seemed like a made-for-TV courtroom drama.

Asked about how many CCW permit holders committed crimes at City Hall, Hall answered that he wasn’t aware of any.

A frustrated city manager Wilma Quan tried to end Bredefeld’s questioning. Bredefeld refused to yield, and city attorney Douglas Sloan clarified that the council regulated itself.

“Wilma Quan didn’t like the answers Andy Hall was giving, which were CCW holders are law-abiding citizens that cause no problems,” Bredefeld told GV Wire afterward.

No other council members commented after Bredefeld finished. Arias called for the vote, with Bredefeld providing the only dissent.

After the debate, Hall said while he respects Bredefeld, he didn’t appreciate the questioning.

“It was a little bit off-putting to have to go through a cross-examination. I did get tired of it,” Hall said.

“Some individuals struggle with keeping their composure, being respectful not only of our council colleagues but also of the police chief. It is unnecessary,” Arias said after the meeting.

Brand Defends Security Plan

“Is this plan perfect? No, it’s not. … But it’s an evolving process as we go forward. Fresno City Hall is not a gun-free zone.”Mayor Lee Brand

Brand, at the beginning of the debate, defended his proposed policy. He noted there are 3,000 CCW permit holders in the city.

The 2017 Kori Muhammad incident prompted Brand to call for enhanced security policies at City Hall. Muhammad is accused of killing four men in what was described as a shooting rampage in downtown Fresno. His case is still in the court system.

The mayor also cited a 2016 shooting at the Fresno County jail lobby.

Brand discussed some of the procedures, including a single point of entry, more cameras, and armed police officers in the building.

He also talked about adding a screening unit in the back of the building for employees.

“Is this plan perfect? No, it’s not. … But it’s an evolving process as we go forward. Fresno City Hall is not a gun-free zone,” Brand said noting police officers are armed.

Brand said there is no unrestricted right to carry a gun in public buildings.

“In today’s world, there is an active shooter, mass shooter somewhere … I want to be proactive,” Brand said. “I don’t want blood on my hands.”

Employees’ Concerns

Thirteen members of the public spoke on the issue, and 12 agreed with Bredefeld.

“What problems have CCW holders caused?” asked Liz Kolstad, a well-known conservative advocate.

Sam Frank, president of the union representing many City Hall workers, said his employees had mixed opinions on the issue.

While not necessarily against a plan to screen employees, Frank said, he wanted to make sure they were protected from being late to work because they had to wait in a security line. That could mean the ability to officially start their day prior to entering the line, or not being written up because employees had to wait.

5 Responses

  1. MaryCricker

    Many arguments were overlooked. The abuse of power by Mr. Arias will not go unnoticed. There was no analysis of crimes in a 1,000 sq ft radius, discussion of gun lockers by the scanner. No discussion of employees of City Hall or council members that that are CCW – are they going to leave their guns home? The most disturbing was Arias censoring and abuse of power shuttingdown peoples speech- then shutting down the video. “stop censoring” was blurted out and Arias tries to eject a citizen from the council chambers. He needs out of local politics and in fact if he tries to gain employment with local private sector he will have many people watching his unprofessional behavior. Arias supports illegals and sanctuary cities. Shame on Arias and his disregard for the American Constitution.

    Reply
  2. Joe Barron

    Over 600k in the city Gary on you could only muster a dozen?
    So, is your position that people should be in a poison to be able to commit armed insurrection against the mechanism of local govt at a moment’s notice? Just wondering where this anxiety stems from?

    Reply
    • MaryCricker

      Protecting the constitution 2nd amendment isnt “anxiety” it’s called passion. There are 17,000 CCW carriers in Fresno county and possibly by the end of this year another 1,000 will be certified, licensed and trained. For 20 years CCW carriers were not barred from Fresno City Hall. But with heighten security came the inevitable security scanners.
      Hopefully there is never problems, CCW carriers are good citizens thoroughly vetted and regularly re checked. Not one CCW has been revoked in Fresno county.

      Reply
  3. Mehmet Noyan

    I’m a 30 year CCW holder. I’ve always been under the impression it was a gun free zone already. Whether you like it or not that’s the rule. Live with it.

    Reply
    • Art Lanacster

      You believe in the second amendment and you practice free speech but you will just roll over when some reduces your rights as “Live with it”? You know if they get rolling on this, they can start a weapons ban in the entire city. I.E. Chicago, Washington D.C. and many others.
      Mark my words, Arias is not done yet.

      Reply

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