Alameda, California is home to some of the most anti-gun politicians in the entire state, which is saying something. A few years ago, Alameda County changed its zoning laws to prevent any new gun shops from opening (in a case that, frustratingly, the Supreme Court declined to review), and now council members in the city of Alameda itself are set to approve a number of new local laws aimed at legal gun owners and the city’s sole gun store when the City Council meets on Tuesday.
The mandatory training could include lessons about how firearms can make domestic violence even more dangerous and how someone in a mental health crisis or struggling with substance abuse may be more likely to contemplate suicide if a firearm is nearby.
The proposed ordinance also would require gun owners to store their firearms at home inside a locked container or have them disabled with a trigger lock. In addition, the ordinance would require all gun sales to be videotaped.
“These proposals are a great start in ensuring that legally owned firearms are secured from minors, criminals and people in crisis,” Vice Mayor John Knox White said Friday. “The proposals also provide law enforcement with a new tool to ensure gun sales in Alameda meet all legal requirements.”
Violators could face fines or criminal prosecution.
These proposed ordinances are nothing more than attempts at harassment of those residents who actually attempt to exercise a constitutionally-protected right. In fact, one city council member tacitly admitted as much when he complained that one of the measures doesn’t go far enough for his liking.
There’s only one store in town that sells firearms: Big 5 Sporting Goods at Alameda South Shore Center. The weapons are displayed behind the sales counter.
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.”
Got that? A city council member doesn’t like the way the one legal firearms retailer in the city displays their firearms, so he wants to actually pass a law to force them to change the design of their layout to meet his approval. And why doesn’t he like the display? Because it normalizes gun ownership. That worries him. Well, Daysog’s worry disgusts me.
If you’re actually a supporter of the Second Amendment, guns are and should be normal. Gun ownership is normal. What’s abnormal are the people like Councilman Daysog who want to make a right protected by the Constitution into something shameful. I think a politician who attempts to denormalize any our individual rights is violating their oath of office, and that’s exactly what Daysog says he wants to do. Sadly, I’m guessing a lot of his constituents are fully on board with his agenda.
As for the language of the ordinance itself, gun owners would be required to keep all firearms locked up at all times, unless they are carrying the firearm on their person. This is an attempt to make it difficult as possible to use a firearm for self-defense in the home in the hopes that fewer people will choose to exercise their rights as a result.
The Supreme Court in the Heller case not only struck down Washington, D.C..’s ban on handguns, but its storage law as well. The only difference between that law and this proposed ordinance is that in Washington, D.C., the firearms ammunition had to be stored separately from the firearm as well. If this passes the city council on Tuesday, I’d expect a lawsuit to follow soon after.
The video surveillance ordinance places a huge burden on the one gun store in town as well. It would be required to maintain a year’s worth of video, as well as allow the chief of police to decide how many cameras must be used. That’s a pretty incredible amount of data that the gun store owner is going to be responsible for maintaining, and that will come at a substantial financial cost. If I were the gun store, I’d argue that if the city wants this data so much, it should be the one to pay for it and maintain the system. I don’t know if the owners of Big 5 would choose to challenge this in court if it passes on Tuesday, but they absolutely should.
Again, these measures aren’t about public safety, but using the power of government to inhibit the exercise of a fundamental right. This is a perfect example of the “gun safety” movement’s agenda, and it should serve as a stark reminder to gun owners in free states to get involved and politically engaged in this election year. Don’t let them Californize your state. Don’t let them Californize our country.