La Mesa City Council votes down mandatory storage law

La Mesa City Council votes down mandatory storage law
Dave Martin

Mandatory storage laws are one of those things that anti-gunners love and, in some cases, think we’ll be down with as well. After all, don’t many of us talk about the importance of securing your firearms when not in use? In their minds, we should be on board with such a thing.

We’re not.

It’s the only “mandatory” part, after all.

Yet many communities pass such laws with increasing regularity, especially in anti-gun states like California. However, one California community decided not to do so.

La Mesa won’t require gun owners to lock up firearms at home after a narrow City Council vote, but the city will launch a public education campaign advocating for safe storage.

The defeated ordinance would have mandated guns be placed in a “locked container” or “disabled with a trigger lock” unless the owner was wearing it or had the firearm in their “immediate control.”

“I live in La Mesa, I work in La Mesa and I haven’t heard of a gun problem, a gun stealing problem, a gun murder problem, a gun suicide problem or an accidental gun shooting problem,” Councilmember Laura Lothian said last week at the council’s first in-person public meeting in more than two years.

She and two colleagues voted against the proposal, which failed 2-3.

Now, for those who may not be fond of Lothian’s argument, remember that she’s not necessarily talking to you and me. She’s talking to non-gun people and discussing why her community doesn’t need a mandatory storage law.

Since it was voted down, clearly it worked.

Instead, the city council decided to do something else.

The council did unanimously endorse sending police to in-person events, in addition to social media posts, to educate residents about how firearms should be safely stored.

Police Chief Ray Sweeney spoke in favor of the education campaign, but did not say whether the full ordinance was necessary.

The city of La Mesa, California, is about 60,000 people. However, the article notes a whole 28 guns have been stolen in the city since 2019, which means Lothian was right about there not really being an issue.

While I tend to not favor the government doing much of anything except the bare minimum required–police, fire, roads, and things like that–if an educational campaign makes them feel better, it’s far preferable to a restriction on people’s civil liberties.

La Mesa’s decision to avoid mandatory storage laws in favor of an educational campaign should be a guide for other cities throughout the state. Unfortunately, I don’t know how many actually will follow their lead.

Yet in the end, I suspect it will yield positive dividends. Yes, even though it seems that La Mesa is ridiculously safe based on the number of guns stolen in the city. Fewer stolen guns are a good thing, after all, and while mandatory storage penalizes victims of theft, education empowers everyone to know how to store a firearm properly. That’s just pure win, no matter how you cut it.

It’s just a shame the rest of California can’t see it.