Two years ago, I proposed that the Gilroy City Council approve an ordinance to help prevent gun-caused death and injury. The measure didn’t violate the Second Amendment and banned not a single gun. It was defeated 5-2.

Last year I introduced a similar measure. Again, it was defeated 5-2. There was a difference this time, though: I was initially prevented from even describing the measure to my fellow council members. In a small victory, the city attorney ultimately said that taking a few minutes to outline my proposal was probably OK.

What was the idea that caused the divisiveness? It’s an ordinance mandating that any firearm within the city limits be stored securely – i.e. in a gun safe, unloaded and separate from ammunition. The Santa Clara County Health Department recommended passing such ordinances in a report on gun violence last year. Several cities and school districts around the state and country have approved such proposals. Gov. Gavin Newsom even signed bill into law in 2022 requiring that information on safe storage be included in schools’ annual notifications to parents and guardians.

A reasonable person might ask why secure storage would be unworthy of discussion in Gilroy. The city voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden – a vocal advocate of gun control – for president in 2020. It seems citizens would be open to an idea to make guns safer.

The rationale for firearm secure storage is compelling:

• Firearms became the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. in 2020.

• In California, nearly two thirds people who have guns and live with children don’t store all firearms locked up and unloaded.

• Homes with guns are more likely to see family members murdered, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Specifically, for each 10% increase in
home ownership of guns, the risk of someone in the household being killed increases by 13%.

• Access to a firearm triples the risk of suicide.

• The potential for violence can extend beyond the home: Some 75% of school shooters acquire their firearms from home or a close relative, according to the University of

For me, the issue is personal. In addition to serving on the Gilroy City Council I also work as an Oakland firefighter/paramedic. In my 22 years in that profession, I have seen too many homes – including those with children – where firearms are unsecured. I’ve seen firsthand how firearms that aren’t securely stored can cause …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Opinion: Let’s talk about guns and basic safety precautions

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