Mountain View expands local gun control

STORY BY CARLY HELTZEL, PHOTO BY EMILY MCNALLY

The Mountain View City Council last night unanimously approved a city ordinance prohibiting possession of any firearm on all city property, the council’s latest step toward increasing local gun control. 

The city’s previous gun laws banned possession of a firearm in city parks, in certain public buildings and meetings; loaded firearms in public; and carrying an exposed and unloaded handgun in public. 

This new ordinance will extend gun control across the board, which the council hopes will reduce the fear of gun violence or accidental endangerment among the public and city employees on city property.

To enforce the ordinance, police officers who observe violations will be permitted to use their discretion to either cite or arrest the individual, although they will not actively search for weapons on city property. Violations will be prosecuted as misdemeanors. 

Among many others during public comment during the April 13 council meeting when the ordinance was first presented, resident Tim MacKenzie commended the city for their efforts

“This is a way of taking action,” MacKenzie said. “And it is very good and inspiring to see action being taken.”

This action first started in September 2019, when city staff developed a list of potential gun control measures that the city council could consider adopting, including prohibiting firearms sales as a home occupation, implementing locational restrictions on firearms dealers, requiring safe storage of firearms and prohibiting possession of firearms on city property. 

The council, as seen last night, ultimately chose to move forward with the last option.

The safe storage requirements for firearms received praise during council discussion and public comment alike at the April 13 meeting, making it a potential next step forward for continued expansion of gun laws.

Public commenter Rachel Michelson described the safe storage laws in the cities of Saratoga and Sunnyvale as models to follow in the coming years, calling it the “next brave step” toward protecting people from firearm fatalities and injuries.

Many others voiced their support in an overwhelmingly positive wave of feedback.

“While many city ordinances can be quite dry, I found myself actually being moved by several parts of this one,” resident Don Veith said, going on to acknowledge several words that stood out to him during the presentation. “Unacceptable is the right word because we just have to stop accepting [gun violence]. I thank Mountain View for recognizing that this is an obligation.”

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