SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council voted 6-2 on Monday in the first of two votes to approve a new gun storage ordinance aimed at preventing accidental shootings and other firearm-related injuries and deaths.
The vote came after about 90 minutes of public comment, with about two-thirds of those who spoke urging the council to pass the ordinance. Councilmen Chris Cate and Scott Sherman voted against the proposed law, to the loud approval of gun-rights activists and others who had opposed the new regulations. Councilman Mark Kersey was absent.
The vote was the first of two required for the ordinance to become law, allowing residents a second opportunity to comment on the proposal. The council did not indicate when it plans to hold the second vote.
City Attorney Mara Elliott proposed the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance last month to the Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee. She presented it to the full council Monday.
“As a mother and a prosecutor, I understand the importance of protecting children and families from tragedies that common-sense precautions like safe storage could have averted,” Elliott said in a statement after council vote. “This law will prevent life-altering accidental shootings by reminding gun owners that they are responsible for securely storing their guns for the protection of those around them.”
The ordinance would require all firearms in a residence be stored in a locked container, or disabled by a trigger lock, unless they are being carried by or are under control of the owner, according to a news release last month from Elliott and a staff report by her office.
According to that staff report, the new ordinance “does not substantially burden the right or ability of owners to use firearms for self-defense in the home.”
Sherman echoed the sentiments of many opponents of the ordinance, saying he believes it may prevent homeowners from protecting themselves if they’re unable to access their firearms quickly enough.
Michael Schwartz, executive director of the political action committee San Diego County Gun Owners, said in a statement after the vote that the ordinance “is unenforceable and unconstitutional and it invades someone’s privacy and choice in their own home.”
While Elliott has repeatedly called a “common-sense gun-safety law,” Schwartz said there is “nothing common sense” about it.
Among the groups that support the ordinance is the San Diego Police Officers Association, according to Elliott’s office.
State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who is running for mayor, spoke in favor of the ordinance at Monday’s meeting.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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