San Jose Moves to Impose Flawed Locked-Storage Mandate

On Tuesday, October 17, the San Jose City Council voted to adopt an anti-gun ordinance that, if finalized, will require gun owners to store their firearms in certain designated “locked containers” or keep them disabled with a trigger lock whenever they leave home, but would not allow gun owners to store their firearms in most gun safes.

Over a dozen gun owners showed up to oppose the flawed proposal, with many more submitting written comments in opposition, but the City Council ignored their concerns and voted 6-5 in favor of adoption. The ordinance is not yet final. There is still time to voice your opposition.

Meanwhile, hundreds of trigger locks that were donated to San Jose are going to waste in a police storehouse rather than being made available for free to the public as intended. Several years ago, the San Jose Police Department requested and received over 300 donated trigger locks through NSSF’s Project Childesafe® Program. Those locks were supposed to be distributed free to the public. But instead those locks, which could make a real difference, are still collecting dust.

So are the politicians pushing this ordinance law serious about safe storage? Or is the ordinance a campaign a ploy for another councilmember planning to seek higher office? Read on.

As we reported last week, the proposed ordinance is a result of last year’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting where the gun ban lobby’s “wish list” of anti-gun-owner proposals was considered. The package of anti-gun-owner laws was pushed by San Jose City Councilmembers Ash Kalra (now, sadly, a California Legislator) and Raul Peralez. While declining to pursue a number of the more extreme proposals, the Committee voted to forward the mandatory locked storage ordinance to the City Council.

NRA / CRPA attorneys submitted a joint-opposition letter to the City Council that pointed out serious flaws with the ordinance. For one thing, under the ordinance a “locked container” is only adequate if it satisfies both California’s definition of the term “locked container” and is also specifically listed on DOJ’s roster of approved firearm safety devices.

The problem with this sloppy lawmaking is that very few gun safes are actually on the roster of approved firearm safety devices. That’s because the roster specifically excludes gun safes, which satisfy the state storage law under a different subsection. That means modern gun safes—which are typically the most secure way to store a firearm—are not a qualifying container under the ordinance. The NRA/CRPA letter pointed this out, but Councilmember Peralez (the ordinance’s main proponent) was so determined to ram his proposal through that he wrongly claimed that the NRA/CRPA letter “got it wrong” because, as he said, the ordinance uses the word or, not and when referring to the roster.

And yet, here’s what it says:

Conjunctive is not disjunctive, and obviously it is Councilmember Peralez who got it wrong. Another councilmember recognized his error and pointed it out to him, but Peralez did nothing to correct it. In fact, rather than move to correct the mistake, Peralez instead tried to amend and expand his ordinance to completely prohibit the carrying of firearms inside one’s own home—no exceptions. Thankfully, the Chief of Police reminded him that people have a right to defend themselves in their homes, so Peralez reluctantly withdrew his proposed extreme expansion of the ordinance.

Further revealing his bias, Councilman Peralez belittled some of the public speakers. To show how difficult it can be to open a lockbox in a stressful situation, one speaker challenged Peralez to demonstrate for the crowd how quickly he could open a lockbox that contained a non-functioning replica firearm. Peralez refused, incorrectly claiming that if he did so he would be breaking the law by exposing a firearm in public once the lock box had been opened.

When it comes to gun laws, Peralez has no idea what he is talking about. But his actions reveal his true agenda—to make firearms so hard to get to that they are practically useless for defending your family. The cluelessness of the ordinance’s sponsor reveals that this is not really just about “promoting public safety while preserving our Second Amendment rights” as politician Peralez disingenuously claims.

Bottom line, the proposed locked storage ordinance reinforces what NRA/CRPA have warned members of before. Ordinances like this do not promote public safety. There is no “once size fits all” gun safety solution. Gun safes and trigger locks are one important component of an individualized safety program, but they can also make effective self-defense impossible.

If Peralez really wanted to encourage more people to store their firearms safely, he would have the city adopt—and then actually implement—one of the many programs that have been proven to reduce accidental gun deaths. Programs like firearm safety training, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program, the National School Shield Program, and youth-specific programs designed to teach firearm safety and responsibility. NRA and CRPA have brought these programs to the City’s attention on multiple occasions, but have been ignored.

San Jose’s Proposed Ordinance is Not Yet Final—Make Your Voices Heard!

Although the City Council voted 6-5 in favor of the proposed ordinance, it has not yet been officially adopted, and will come back to the City Council for additional discussion in the near future. To that end, we encourage all of our members who are able to make their voices heard and contact the City to oppose the proposed ordinance. You can do so by contacting the City Clerk at:

Office of the City Clerk
200 E. Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 535-1260
Fax: (408) 292-6207
Email: [email protected]

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