FRESNO, California (KSEE) — The general public will no longer be able to bring their guns into Fresno City Hall after city council voted to ban concealed carry permit holders to have their weapons in the building.
The Thursday vote came after heated comments from the public, as well as councilman Garry Bredefeld. He was the only one to vote against the measure.
Mayor Lee Brand proposed the measure that would also station Fresno Police inside the building. They would be the only ones to carry a firearm, as would off-duty and retired officers who enter and provide proper identification.
“Is this plan perfect? No, it’s not,” said Brand before the vote. “This is a major start and dramatic improvement over what it was before.”
Around a dozen people spoke during the public comment period, most speaking against the measure. Those who spoke citing most CCW holders are law-abiding citizens who go through hours and hours of training.
Bredefeld said this turns city hall into a gun-free zone and criminals will take advantage.
“This has happened in movie theaters, churches, schools, events at school board meetings and city council meetings,” he said.
To illustrate his point, Bredefeld played a 2010 news report where a man fired his gun at a school board meeting. This prompted councilman Miguel Arias to ask staff to cut the video off.
This caused a tense exchange between Arias and Bredefeld, where Bredefeld said, “You don’t cut my video council president.”
Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall defended his support of the measure, saying when officers respond to an active shooter situation — and CCW holders have drawn their weapons — it complicates things.
“I cannot walk by somebody who has a gun and says I’m a good citizen, I have a permit,” Hall said. “I got to stop, I got to detain them. [The officer doing that] is out of the fight now.”
Before the vote, Brand made it clear that this ordinance could evolve in the future.