The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that orders gun owners to keep their weapons disabled or locked away at home.
While the ordinance is still pending an approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti, it was passed by the 14 members of the Council and will be placed into a section of the LA Municipal Code; following which it will go into effect in 30 days. According to the ordinance, gun owners are permitted to keep their guns in their house if it is in “close enough proximity and control” and that the owner “can readily retrieve and use the handgun as if carried on the person.”
With the move, Los Angeles will join the league of other cities – including San Francisco and Sunnyvale – that have similar rules in effect. States of Massachusetts and New York also require gun owners to keep their weapons locked away, Reuters reports. In a statement, Los Angeles City Councilman, Paul Krekorian, said, “People in Los Angeles and throughout the country understand that commonsense steps like this are necessary to prevent tragedies that we see all too often.”
The ordinance, if passed, will prevent accidents wherein a child grabs a firearm and shoots and kills someone. A law that demands banning of weapons holding more than 10 rounds was adopted by Los Angeles.
Krekorian raised concern about more preschoolers that die because of firearms than police officers. He also emphasized on the importance on guns being locked away. “It’s unacceptable to live in a country where it’s more dangerous to be a preschooler than to be a police officer,” he said. “We can do something about that today. We can once and for all mandate that people who own guns [and] people who have guns in their home for safety, just exercise the basic, common-sense safe storage measures that even the National Rifle Association recommends.” To this, Councilman Mitch Englander added, “This is less about gun control and more about controlling guns.”
In 2013, the deaths of five children under the age of 12 years were attributed to guns that were not securely kept away, as reported by Courthouse News Service.
The ordinance received support from Women Against Gun Violence executive, Laurie Saffian. “We think that it is going to save lives – that once people are aware of the threat of having an unlocked firearm in your home the majority of gun owners are going to take action to ensure that their firearms are locked up,” she said. “I think that most do, actually. But the ones that don’t, I think this sends an important message that this needs to be done.”