The San Jose City Council has approved a new law which will require gun owners to lock up their firearms whenever they leave their home.
Similar so-called safe storage laws are already in effect in San Francisco, Oakland, Sunnyvale, and Berkeley.
San Jose makes no exceptions for gun owners who live alone and have no reason to fear that their children might get hold of their firearm.
The new law pledges to fight gun violence, but just how effective could such a law be?
As the council decided, tearful testimonies accounted for several acts of gun violence, all of which were unrelated to the decision.
Mercury News reports:
“My daughter Kristina had a heart full of courage,” Pandula said tearfully. “When an assailant shot her boyfriend… Kristina did not run, she did not cower in fear, but instead she used all the courage in her soul to try and save her boyfriend’s life” […]
But other residents said the measure won’t stop gun violence. One man demonstrated how long it takes to disable a trigger lock from the podium — seconds, he said, that could cost someone’s life in an emergency.
“Not a single one of the tragedies described would have been prevented by this law,” said David Freedman. “The only real effect of this is making owning firearms a little more inconvenient and more expensive.”
The new law, proposed last year by Councilman Raul Peralez and former Councilman Ash Kalra, now a state Assemblyman, requires gun owners to secure firearms either in a gun safe or lock-box or with a trigger lock when they leave home in an effort to curb gun violence and suicides.
The law, which will go into effect in December, won’t penalize gun owners who report the theft of a firearm within 24 hours. One must wonder how such a law would be enforced. The privacy of private property is no place for an investigation to ensure that San Jose residents are obeying the new law.
The measure seems to be one of good faith. If there are penalties for those who’ve broken the law, we can be assured that the city is overstepping its boundaries and police sworn to serve and protect are wasting their time.
Nevertheless, those caught violating the law could face face six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. It’s disturbing if anyone is “caught” violating the law in their home.
Even the San Jose Police Chief admits the law is worthless as an actual policy. According to him, it’s a theatrical display on the part of the city, easing people’s worries with the mere appearance of increased safety.
He calls it a “deterrent,” which means that there’s little chance of the law being practically enforced, but it will encourage San Jose residents to do what the city officials think they ought to do.
Mercury News continues:
Though he supports the measure, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said enforcement might be tricky — police would need to find a gun that’s been stolen and prove the owner left it unlocked inside the house. The chief also acknowledged that burglars could steal a gun with a trigger lock or even a lock-box, but said the law still helps.
“It’s a deterrent,” Garcia said. “We just want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to steal a firearm from a home.”
One must wonder how often this “deterrent” will result in jail time. Six months in jail can easily ruin lives for people who have done no wrong. Particulars in the law seem to be lacking.
The law places blame on victims of theft, instead of using the far better “deterrent” of increasing punishment for gun violence, cracking down on gangs, and actually enforcing the law.
San Jose, like many cities, is having enough trouble cracking down on violent law-breakers as it is. How will it help to create a new, admittedly unenforceable, law against what innocent citizens do in their homes?