Safe gun-storage requirement debate ahead in Menlo Park | News | Almanac Online |


Safe gun-storage requirement debate ahead in Menlo Park

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Menlo Park Vice Mayor Drew Combs has proposed that the City Council consider an ordinance requiring all community residents who own guns to store them in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock.

The council indicated on Jan. 14 that it's interested in taking up the topic; when it will be discussed is still to be determined.

Existing state law makes it a crime for gun owners to store a loaded firearm somewhere they know a child is likely to gain access to it.

In addition, Senate Bill 172, approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year, expanded that law to make it applicable to all firearms, loaded or unloaded, and imposes a 10-year ban on owning guns for those convicted of violating the law.

It's been left up to jurisdictions, however, to legislate whether firearm owners in all households should be required to safely store their guns when not in use.

A number of cities and San Mateo County have taken similar steps to implement this requirement. Last February, the county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to require firearm owners who live in unincorporated areas of the county and keep their guns at home to keep them in a locked container or disable them with a trigger lock.

The ordinance has a caveat: People who report the loss or theft of a firearm to law enforcement within five days of knowing it was missing are not prosecuted.

At the time, county officials reported that there had been 301 gun-related deaths in the county over the past 10 years, and cited a 2008 report in the New England Journal of Medicine that concluded that living in a home where guns are kept increases an individual's risk of death by homicide by 40% to 170%.

Combs' idea has already gained some traction among community members voicing support for the ordinance through the City Council's email inbox.

Leah Elkins of Peninsula Moms Demand Action, an advocacy organization opposed to gun violence, wrote: "The County ordinance was motivated by the need to close the gaps in state law which provides an unclear definition of 'secure storage' and does nothing to prevent access to guns by thieves, suicidal persons, those suffering temporary mental crises or those with dementia. Such laws have already been adopted locally by Burlingame, San Carlos, Foster City, Portola Valley and Redwood City."

Priyanka Rajagopalan wrote: "I am writing to let you know that as a longtime Menlo Park resident, my neighbors and I strongly support laws that will keep us and our loved ones safe from gun violence. A secure storage law which closes the loopholes in California state law is one way we can do that."

Combs said he favors a civil penalty for violations of the ordinance instead of criminal charges.

Access additional gun safety information at the California attorney general's website here.


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21 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:07 am

Who can possibly be opposed to storing guns in locked containers or with trigger locks? This is common sense and should be a state law.

31 people like this
Posted by No lock up
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm

You are restricting the owner from defending themselves when an intruder comes into the owner's home. Because if you think a thief will wait until you inlock the gun or remove it from a safe you are living in fantasy land. Siting 301 deaths over ten years does not provide context. how many of these were in self defense? This works out to 30 / year. How many people die from choking on food, dying in car accidents, slipping in the bathtub. Should we ban food, cars or bath tubs. This is overreach and an overreaction to a made up problem plain.

24 people like this
Posted by I disagree
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 24, 2020 at 2:44 pm

"Who can possibly be opposed to storing guns in locked containers or with trigger locks?"

I can. There are already state laws that makes a gun owner liable if a child gets your firearm and hurts anyone. If you live in a house with out children then you should be able to decide if you want to keep your firearm locked up when you are at home or not. Many people keep firearms for defense, which is kind of hard to reach if it is locked in a safe when someone breaks into your house.

Even if a gun is in a DOJ locked box, I hate to break it to you but you can get those open with a screwdriver and a hammer in about a minute. They are very easy to pick up and take in a burglary so I really don't think that provides much in the way of protection on stolen firearms.

32 people like this
Posted by Enuff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 24, 2020 at 2:51 pm

No Lock UP from Atherton is correct.
Of course storage should be safe--but it should also allow the owner quick access in case of a house break-in.
And who's going to come into people's bedrooms to check on this mandated form of storage?
This is a solution without a problem, like banning gas stoves and plastic straws.
More virtue-signalling...

35 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jan 25, 2020 at 8:27 am

Our family has a working farm in he UK raising cattle and sheep. They have a number of guns used to control predators and all the guns are kept, by law, under lck and key and subject to police inspection. Nobody complains about these storage requirements!

"The US is downright weird compared to civilized Western Europe or Australia (which enacted gun control after a mass shooting in 1996 and there have been no further such incidents).

In 2015-16 (the twelve months beginning in March), there were 26 fatalities from gun-related crimes in England and Wales (equivalent to 130 because Great Britain 1/5 the size of the US).

Police in the UK fired their guns 7 times in 2015.

Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2016: 11,004

Percentage of all Murders that were committed by firearms in 2016 in US: 73%

Suicides in US 2015: 44,193

Gun Suicides in US, 2015: ~22,000

Percentage of suicides where the method was guns in 2015: 49.8

Percentage of all murders in England and Wales that were committed by firearm: 4.5 percent.

Academic research shows that more guns equal more suicides.

Number of suicides in England and Wales, 2016: 5,668 (equivalent to about 28,330 in US or 36% lower)

Number of suicides by fire arams in England and Wales, 2011: 84 (this is the most recent statistic I could find but the typical percentage is given as 1.6% of all suicides; that would be the equivalent of 707 suicides by firearm in the US instead of 22,000)."

Web Link

5 people like this
Posted by "What's Going On"
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:14 pm

It's simple math versus male fantasies trying to overcome perceived (or real) deficiencies. And, ugh, I agree with Peter.



> This is a solution without a problem

Yeah, most gun deaths in the world. Grade-schoolers going thru active shooter drills. Virtually every business I've talked with in the last 5 years have active shooter training, or as an element of their safety plan. But. according to you - "not a problem".

Does your koolaid come with printed instructions to call the reality-based community "virtue-signallers"?

> Siting X deaths over ten years does not provide context. how many of these were in self defense?

Basically, none. If there were many demonstrable incidents of defense, the NRA would be broadcasting those few events to high heaven.

For every time a gun in the home is used in defense, they are used 11 times to harm a loved one or someone in the household.

Ask Marvin Gaye.

Mercy, mercy me.

12 people like this
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jan 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm

This should be a no- brainer for cities to adopt. Facts don’t lie. The more guns, the more gun deaths. We have more guns than people in this country and our gun deaths are astronomically higher even adjusting for population than any other developed country in the world. Taking all gun deaths in all the developed countries, 85% of gun deaths happen in our country. Simply shameful and it’s because we have allowed the small number of gun extremists to yell louder than how most gun owners and non gun-owners feel. This law is just common sense. Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding and are the first to say that locking up your gun in a secure safe is absolutely what every gun owner should do . The facts are the facts. Studies show indisputably that looking up guns reduces deaths and does NOT prevent anyone from accessing their gun if needed for self defense. There are combo locks on these safes that give you access in seconds so anyone who tries to say they won’t be able to protect themself is simply wrong.

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