The California Senate has passed a bill that would require California citizens to keep their firearms in locked storage. The bill squeaked by with a 21-17 vote, suggesting that it might face opposition as it moves to the Assembly. Under this bill, gun owners would need to lock up their firearms whenever they leave their property.
Senaor Leland Yee (D), a staunch gun control advocate, sponsored the bill and hopes that it will reduce the violence against children and other household gun accidents. Yee argued, “A gun is left on a dresser, a kitchen table, and the responsible adult is not there. And somehow a child picks it up, plays with it, and does harm to him- or herself.”
Yee has the support of many of his colleagues, but Senator Tom Berryhill opposes the bill. “A homeowner who leaves a firearm on a kitchen table that owns 1,000 acres could go for a three-hour walk on his property while not violating one provision of this bill,” Berryhill argued, “but the average citizen who lives in a subdivision can’t even walk across the street and back without being in violation.”
Berryhill’s concern is reasonable. If a person in an apartment walked out into the hallway and a child fired the gun, then that gun owner could be prosecuted under Yee’s law. Conversely, a gun owner on a farm could spend all day in his fields, but avoid punishment under Yee’s bill if a person fired the gun while the owner was away.
Additionally, enforcing the law is practically impossible because police officers have no way of knowing whether or not gun owners have a gun safe or proper storage unless they require gun safe purchases. The bill would not help police officers prevent household gun accidents; at most, the bill could only add extra punishments after a gun crime has been committed.
That extra incentive might be enough to encourage gun owners to finally lock up their firearms where children can’t get to them, but there are many gun rights advocates who argue that an inaccessible gun is useless in a home invasion scenario.
Will Yee’s bill protect the children of gun owners, or will the fact that it’s hard to enforce ensure that it’s an unnecessary gun control law?
Source: Cap Radio