SAN DIEGO — A new gun-storage ordinance aimed at preventing accidental shootings and other firearm-related injuries and deaths will take effect Thursday in San Diego.

The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance, authored by City Attorney Mara Elliott and approved by the City Council in July, requires all guns 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.

Elliott has called the ordinance a “common-sense law,” and said in a statement this week that it saves lives “by keeping guns out of the hands of minors, unauthorized users, and individuals going through personal crises that could result in them harming themselves or others.”

A report by Elliott’s staff earlier this year concluded the ordinance “does not substantially burden the right or ability of owners to use firearms for self-defense in the home.”

Gun-rights activists have disagreed, calling the ordinance “unenforceable and unconstitutional.”

In a July statement, Michael Schwartz, executive director of the political action committee San Diego County Gun Owners, said “the only way to enforce this would be to send police officers door to door.”

“This is scary and it should rightly make everyone nervous,” Schwartz said in the statement.

According to Elliott, the San Diego Police Department will look for violations of the law when responding to homes for other reasons, such as a domestic disturbance.

Councilmen Chris Cate and Scott Sherman, the body’s two Republicans, opposed the new ordinance during a pair of council meetings in July.

In arguing against the ordinance, and echoing gun-rights activists who spoke to the council, Sherman said the new law aimed at keeping guns out of the wrong hands “may (also) prevent homeowners from defending themselves, and their kids and their wives.”

This week, Elliott urged gun owners to obtain approved trigger locks or safes, and said there are free options through programs including It’s Up to Us San Diego, Alzheimer’s San Diego and Project ChildSafe.

Among the approved locking and storage options are gun vaults and safes, portable lock-boxes, trigger locks and cable locks.

A list of approved devices and locks can be found on the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms interactive website at


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