As reported last week, the Palm Springs City Council will consider a proposed firearms ordinance that requires the reporting of lost or stolen firearms, the locked-storage of firearms in the home, and the locked-storage of all handguns and ammunition when kept within a vehicle. In response, the NRA and CRPA submitted a joint opposition letter opposing the adoption of the ordinance.
The NRA and CRPA letter highlights the serious constitutional concerns with the proposal. For instance, the Fifth Amendment, which protects individuals from self-incrimination, makes enforcement of the mandatory reporting requirement difficult, if not impossible to enforce. And the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from unwarranted searches and seizures, prohibits the inspection of people’s homes or vehicles without having first established probable cause that a violation has occurred, making the locked-storage mandates unenforceable until after the fact.
The letter also discusses why the ordinance will actually be detrimental to the City’s objectives and public safety. Specifically, by imposing criminal and civil penalties for failing to report the theft or loss of a firearm, law-abiding gun owners will be less likely to report the theft or loss to police for fear of prosecution. And requiring the locked-storage of firearms in the home and in one’s vehicle fails to consider the particular needs and circumstances of Palm Spring residents who are unable to quickly access their firearms in an emergency.
Chuck Michel, who serves as legal counsel for both the NRA and CRPA, has also authored an editorial regarding the many problems posed by mandatory gun theft reporting laws. As Mr. Michel notes, among those problems is the fact that no jurisdiction with an identical or similar requirement has ever used its ordinance to prosecute a violation. And because of the many problems with such laws, both Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Brown vetoed every similar proposed state law to reach their desks.
We encourage all of our members to attend the September 7th meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM in Council Chambers, located at:
3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Fax: (760) 323-8207
Email: Office of the Mayor and City Council Executive Assistant