Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce Safe Gun Storage and Trigger Lock Law

SAN FRANCISCO - At today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce a safe gun storage and trigger lock law that will mandate that all firearms in San Francisco residences must be kept in a locked container, or be disabled by a trigger lock approved by the California Department of Justice. Currently under San Francisco law, only handguns, and no other long-guns, such as rifles, or shotguns are subject to locked container and trigger lock requirements.

Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce Safe Gun Storage and Trigger Lock Law

 

SAN FRANCISCO - At today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce a safe gun storage and trigger lock law that will mandate that all firearms in San Francisco residences must be kept in a locked container, or be disabled by a trigger lock approved by the California Department of Justice. Currently under San Francisco law, only handguns, and no other long-guns, such as rifles, or shotguns are subject to locked container and trigger lock requirements.

 

“Public safety continues to be front of mind for every San Franciscan,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “We owe it to our families and children in the City to be as aggressive as possible with legislation that will promote public safety, ensure proper handling and storage of firearms within our City limits, and prevent gun violence in our neighborhoods.”

 

The unsafe storage of firearms threatens public health and safety in San Francisco and across the country. In 2005, the journal Pediatrics published a study on adult firearm storage practices in U.S. homes. The study found that over 1.69 million children and youth under age 18 were living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms. In addition, a study published in 2006 in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that 73% of children under age 10 living in homes with guns reported knowing the location of their parents’ firearms.

 

“The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence applauds Supervisor Farrell’s efforts to strengthen San Francisco’s safe storage law,” said Allison Anderman, Staff Attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Unsecured guns in the home pose significant, and preventable, risks to children and others. It is critical to continue to move the conversation about gun safety and responsibility forward, which is exactly what Supervisor Farrell is doing today.”

 

An analysis published by Everytown for Gun Safety in 2014 found that over a one-year period spanning 2012-2013, at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings amounting to nearly two each week. The same analysis also found that 70% of shooting deaths involving children could have been prevented if the firearm had been stored locked and unloaded.

 

“With this law, San Francisco will have one of the strongest gun safety storage laws in the country and enhance public safety citywide,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “We must never be afraid to back down from advancing common sense gun safety policies that have been proven to save lives and reduce violence.”

 

Unlocked guns in the home are susceptible to theft during home invasions. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics—a program of the United States Department of Justice—89,400 firearms are stolen each year during residential burglaries. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms estimates that approximately 15% of stolen firearms are subsequently used in crimes. On average, therefore, 13,410 guns stolen during home invasions will be used each year to commit crimes.

 

Requiring firearms to be stored with trigger locks or in a locked container does not substantially burden the right or ability to use firearms for self-defense in the home. For example, affordable lockboxes using Simplex-type locks, which pop open immediately when several keys or pushbuttons are touched in a preset sequence, are widely available. Users report that they can retrieve a loaded weapon in just two to three seconds, and that the locks are also easy to open in the dark. A publication of the Education & Training Division of the National Rifle Association describes this type lockbox as providing “a good combination of security and quick access.” Some lockboxes also feature biometric locks, which provide immediate access when they scan the owner’s fingerprint. Portable lockboxes can store loaded weapons so that they are always within easy reach on counters, tables or nightstands. Such safely stored weapons are more quickly and easily retrieved for use in self-defense than guns hidden away in seldom-used locations.

 

Under Supervisor Farrell’s proposal, every violation of the law would constitute a misdemeanor, if convicted, and would be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail that would not exceed six-months. And, in order to encourage reports to law enforcement agencies of lost or stolen firearms, a person who files a report with a law enforcement agency notifying the agency that a firearm has been lost or stolen would not fall subject to prosecution under Supervisor Farrell’s proposal.

 

Supervisor Farrell’s legislation will be heard in a Board of Supervisors committee in just over a month.

 

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