City council members in Alameda, California voted unanimously on Tuesday to require all legal gun owners in the Bay-area city to store their firearms in a locked container or with a trigger lock, unless the firearm is being physically carried in the home. The new law is ostensibly meant to crack down on firearms thefts, according to one city council member.
“We’re not trying to criminalize the legal possession of firearms,” Councilman Jim Oddie said Tuesday when the council unanimously approved an ordinances regulating gun use. “What we are trying to do is to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of people who should not possess them.”
What they’re actually trying to do is wrap the Second Amendment up tight in red tape, making it more difficult for people to use a firearm for self-defense inside their home.
That new local law isn’t the only change coming to Alameda. The town’s sole gun store will also have to abide by draconian new requirements that will force the business to purchase thousands of dollars in video surveillance equipment if it’s going to continue to operate in Alameda.
Among other things, the ordinance requires firearms dealers to videotape sales transactions and gun owners whose weapons are stolen or lost to report them missing within 24 hours to avoid criminal prosecution. State law requires a missing firearm be reported within five days.
Encouraging victims to report the loss sooner could help law enforcement track and more quickly recover the gun, according to Deputy City Attorney Montague Hung.
As we reported before the vote was taken, the new rules allow for Alameda’s police chief to decide how many cameras the Big 5 Sporting Goods must have. The store will be required to keep a year’s worth of video footage from each camera on site, available for police to access at any time. One city council member wants to impose even more restrictions on the gun store as well, by compelling them to move their firearms to another part of the store.
Councilman Tony Daysog said he was disappointed the proposed ordinance doesn’t mandate that guns within a store be placed away from other merchandise.
“The issue is that, when Big 5 at the South Shore shopping center displays rows and rows of firearms right next to the check-out area in clear view by people of all ages, it sends the wrong message that the brute force that guns represent is normal, or as normal as soccer balls, tennis rackets and running shoes at Big 5,” Daysog said Friday. “Even if Big 5 isn’t selling military assault-style weapons, it’s the normalization of the brute force of guns that worries me.”
That’s really what this new ordinance is about: de-normalizing gun ownership, and council members aren’t done yet. According to the East Bay Times, the Alameda City Council is still investigating how they can require all gun owners in the city to undergo mandatory “safety training”, which is code for “an anti-gun lecture about the dangers of gun ownership.” That requirement was part of the original ordinance introduced by the council, but was pulled as the elected officials try to “figure out how such a requirement could be enforced and aligned with state and federal laws.”
I don’t know why they’re so concerned about following state or federal laws, especially since their storage requirement is likely to be challenged in court. Keep your eyes on what’s going on in Alameda, and if you’re a California gun owner, don’t be surprised if your own city council follows suit before long.