San Diego, California – In a 6-2 vote, the San Diego City Council approved an ordinance that requires firearms not under direct physical control to be locked up or gun owners could face jail time.
The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance was introduced to the council last month by San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot, and on Monday, the first of two required votes were cast to approve it.
An hour and a half was given for public comment with the San Diego Union Tribune reporting 2/3 of the those citizens who attended speaking in favor of the new city ordinance, with the remainder speaking against it, saying it violated their 2nd Amendment rights.
The council’s only two Republican representatives, Councilmen Chris Cate and Scott Sherman were the lone votes cast against the measure, while the other 6 in favor were cast by the majority democrats.
Another open forum is expected at the end of this month before the next vote if San Diegans wish their opinion to be heard on the matter. After which, the ordinance will be sent to Mayor Kevin Faulconer for his approval or veto.
Mara Elliot was fully prepared for the discussion, by showing a video with all the options that are available for gun owners to keep their weapons out of the hands of criminals, including those which grant quick access to a home defense weapon in the event of an emergency.
According to Elliot’s statement about the ordinance:
“The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance requires that firearms in a residence be stored in a DOJ-approved locked container, or locked with a DOJ-approved trigger lock, unless the firearm is carried on the body or is in the immediate control of a person who is an authorized user of the firearm.”
“As a mother and a prosecutor, I understand the importance of protecting children and families from tragedies that common-sense precautions like safe storage could have averted,” Elliott said in the statement. “This law will prevent life-altering accidental shootings by reminding gun owners that they are responsible for securely storing their guns for the protection of those around them.”
If found to be in violation of the city ordinance, gun owners are at risk of up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months in jail. Prosecution for failing to heed the law may be waived if the gun owner at fault reports their firearm lost or stolen within 5 days of discovering it missing.
The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance was opposed by gun rights activist groups like the NRA-ILA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association who submitted statistics which does not show a link between firearm storage laws and a reduction in suicides, accidental shootings, and crime, and also contend that these kinds of laws inhibit the ability of citizens to defend themselves from dangerous criminals.
However, Elliot and the democrat council members disagree:
“The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance is a common-sense approach to preventing:
- access by children to firearms,
- accidental shootings,
- gun-related homicides and suicides, and
- the theft of unsecured firearms.
A comprehensive study of gun-safety laws in America found that Safe Storage laws are the single most successful method of preventing suicides and unintentional injuries and deaths among children.”
What do you think of this new San Diego city ordinance?