STORY BY NAINA SRIVASTAVA, PHOTOS BY ARYA NASIKKAR
In a unanimous move, the Los Altos City Council last week adopted a firearms safe storage ordinance, requiring all firearms in Los Altos residences to be stored in locked containers or disabled with a trigger lock.
Violations of this ordinance will be punished with a $500 fine upon the first infraction, and a $1000 fine for any additional infractions. The ordinance has been in the works since late April.
“What I hope the public realizes most is that this is a matter of public safety,” said Councilmember Jonathan Weinberg, who introduced the ordinance. “At the end of the day, by safely storing your gun, you’re protecting yourself, your family and your community.”
While the ordinance received unanimous support from the council, council members agreed that the ordinance would likely have little effect on the city.
“I do not have any delusions that this will have a profound influence in this community, where I believe most of our community is already being quite responsible about their weapons,” Vice Mayor Anita Enander said.
Weinberg similarly praised the responsibility of Los Altos citizenry, but contended that the ordinance is still integral, serving a preventative and educational purpose.
Weinberg also noted that two thirds of gun deaths in the United States are due to suicide according to Giffords, an organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. He asserted that this number would reduce with proper firearm storage practices, making firearms less easily accessible to minors.
Although according to the city’s police department there have not been recent cases of suicide by firearm in Los Altos, Weinberg argued that it’s still important to address the issue.
“I can’t help but think that there are people, especially teenagers, who are going through very difficult times in life [where] things may seem [desperate],” Weinberg said. “Chances are, if you make that terrible decision with a gun, you’re not going to get a second chance to think about it.”
Despite possibly not having a “profound influence” in the community as Enander said, the council hopes its adoption will prevent any anomalous instances.
“If this ordinance goes so far as to inspire one more person to safely store their firearm, that’s one less firearm that could be used by a child, or could be stolen and used nefariously by a criminal,” Weinberg said. “Frankly, I think passing this ordinance is worth it.”