ELK GROVE (CBS13) – A war was lost before it ever could begin, according to local historians who were hoping to fire up a mock battle.
The Elk Grove Historical Society planned a Revolutionary War reenactment for more than a year and has had similar events in the past, but it’s now forced to cancel the event because of local gun laws.
The group had already printed up flyers to market the mock battle, hoping to draw in 3,000 people for the two-day event at a regional park.
“We would have encampments and all kinds of entertainment for the kids to see,” said Jim Entrican, facilities manager for the group and president of the Native Son of the Golden West in Elk Grove.
Late last year the society was told by the park district that the show could not go on.
“I don’t know. It’s just frustrating, very frustrating,” he said.
The reenactment was to include firing black powder muskets as a part of the history lesson, but the group was told that’s against the rules.
According to a city law which says you cannot “Use, maintain, possess, fire, or discharge any firearm.”
“There’s no firing guns in a park, but there’s exceptions for each one of the ordinances,” which he adds the exceptions have been made in the past and can’t understand why no now.
“They actually asked us if we can use wooden sticks, and can you see 12 men in full regalia and another 12 charging with wooden sticks saying ‘Bang bang!’ It just doesn’t have the same effect,” he said.
Soldiers who perform the reenactment say the simulated gunfire is a crucial element to the historical accuracy and in all the years they’ve been performing the battles, no other city has ever denied them a permit to perform.
“History is important and we’re losing it,” he said.
So for now, this history lesson will have to wait until the rules can be changed.
“We’re taking it one step further and trying to change the ordinance,” he said, but that could take months.
The group is working with the city and park district to come up with a solution before its next event.