Contra Costa County, California – In an effort to increase firearm safety and reduce gun-related incidents, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance on Tuesday that mandates gun owners in unincorporated regions of the county to securely lock up their firearms. The proposal, which was passed with a 4-0 vote, saw Supervisor Diane Burgis absent.
The ordinance, put forward by Supervisor Candace Andersen, necessitates the use of trigger locks or gun safes by gun owners. Addressing the assembly, Andersen reiterated her staunch belief in the Second Amendment, emphasizing, “nothing that we are doing today takes away someone’s right to their arms.”
While a similar law exists at the state level, it is specifically aimed at households with children. Andersen’s vision encompasses a broader scope. She aspires to restrict gun access not only to children but also to violent adults, those grappling with mental health challenges, and potential thieves.
Andersen cited a recent incident to underscore the urgency of the matter, “Just two weeks ago, I was in the community and speaking with some of our deputies, who mentioned a recent burglary in Alamo where a gun was stolen.” Such incidents amplify the need for stringent firearm safety measures.
Addressing concerns that quick access to firearms would be hampered in times of need, Andersen advocated for the use of advanced technology. She suggested employing biometric safes and triggers, calibrated specifically for the owner, asserting that the ordinance wouldn’t impede someone from “carrying their weapon at all times in their homes or having immediate access to it.”
The ordinance also introduces a provision that requires individuals to report lost or stolen firearms within a five-day window, allowing them to remain compliant with the law.
Supporting the need for this regulation, the board had earlier sought counsel in July to draft the ordinance and consequently produced a staff report. This report highlighted the risks associated with unsecured firearms in homes, linking them to elevated chances of firearm-related mishaps and theft. The report stated, “It is estimated that 200,000-500,000 guns are stolen each year in the United States.” It also pointed out that these stolen firearms often become tools for committing other crimes. Specifically, Contra Costa County has seen several burglaries involving firearm thefts recently.
The newly passed ordinance will be applicable solely to unincorporated areas. It’s worth noting that some cities within the county, such as Walnut Creek, have already implemented analogous laws. The next step for this ordinance is an official second reading, scheduled for October 3, followed by its formal implementation.