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File #: 2020-7722   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 3/3/2020
Title: Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Adding Provisions to Section 4-32 (Firearms and Weapons) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Safe Storage of Firearms and Enhancing Enforcement Provisions; and Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Adding Provisions to Section 4-36 (License Requirements for Firearms and Munitions Dealers) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Firearms Dealers to Provide Video Surveillance and Enhancing Enforcement Provisions. (City Attorney)
Attachments: 1. Ordinance - Safe Storage, 2. Ordinance - Sales Surveillance, 3. Correspondence - Updated 3-3, 4. Submittal

Title

 

Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Adding Provisions to Section 4-32 (Firearms and Weapons) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Safe Storage of Firearms and Enhancing Enforcement Provisions; and

 

Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Adding Provisions to Section 4-36 (License Requirements for Firearms and Munitions Dealers) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Firearms Dealers to Provide Video Surveillance and Enhancing Enforcement Provisions.  (City Attorney)

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

In addition to the current laws in the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) that address firearms safety, the proposed ordinances contain provisions that further bolster safety measurements for the City of Alameda (City) by requiring safe storage of firearms within residences, encouraging prompt reporting of stolen or lost guns, and requiring video surveillance of retail sales and store premises.

 

BACKGROUND

 

On November 19, 2019, the City Council directed staff to evaluate various actions regarding firearms safety. In particular, the City Council instructed staff to prioritize evaluation of the following actions: safe storage requirements, surveillance of firearm retail sales, mandatory periodic firearm safety training, and funding for education programs.

 

Staff’s evaluation of firearm safety options takes into consideration Constitutional limits. Cities are authorized to enact gun control ordinances that do not conflict with and are not preempted by federal and state law. While the U.S. Supreme Court held in D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill., 561 U.S. 742, 786 (2010) that the Second Amendment protects the right to use firearms for self-defense, courts have since generally upheld the police power of states and municipalities to regulate firearms and ammunition. The California State Legislature has enacted numerous firearm safety laws, but additional options for regulation remain available to cities.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The City Council’s high-priority firearm safety items and proposed ordinances for consideration are discussed below. Staff will continue to evaluate and explore other options related to firearm safety and present additional proposals for consideration at a later date.

 

Safe Storage

 

If adopted, the safe storage ordinance would require firearm owners to maintain the firearms in their residence either in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. The requirement for firearms to be either locked or disabled helps reduce the risk of firearms-related suicides and accidental shootings. In addition, locked firearms help reduce the risk of those firearms being stolen during home invasions. The proposed ordinance still allows for firearms to be used for protection within the home, in accordance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Second Amendment, by waiving the locked or disabled requirements when firearms are otherwise lawfully carried on the person. Notably, the proposed safe storage requirements are similar to those enacted by the City of San Francisco, which were upheld after being challenged in Jackson v. City and County of San Francisco,746 F.3d 953 (9th Cir. 2014).

 

The proposed penalties for violations of the safe storage provision include administrative citations and fines, as well as criminal prosecution punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

 

To encourage the reporting of lost or stolen firearms and assist law enforcement with finding missing firearms, staff recommends that people who report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours shall not be subject to criminal prosecution for violation of safe storage requirements. While California Penal Code § 25250 already requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within five days, staff recommends encouraging quicker reporting of lost or stolen firearms as time is of the essence when tracking missing firearms. The recommendation to encourage reporting lost or stolen firearms is balanced with deterrence efforts by still allowing discretion for administrative citations for safe storage violations.

 

Video Surveillance

 

The proposed video surveillance ordinance would require firearms dealers to install cameras on business premises and videotape all sales. The proposed ordinance seeks to track and encourage legal firearms transactions by monitoring locations where firearms and ammunitions are held, stored, sold, transferred, and carried. Proper transactions would further be encouraged by the requirement that facial features of purchasers and transferees be visible on the recording. Video surveillance can be an especially helpful tool in preventing and solving crimes of straw purchases where firearms are bought by one person on behalf of a prohibited person. Other crimes may also be deterred and the video recording requirement would provide law enforcement with tools to solve certain crimes.

 

The proposed penalties for violations of the video surveillance requirements include administrative citations and fines, criminal prosecution punishable by fines and/or imprisonment, civil liability, and being deemed a public nuisance.

 

Several other Bay Area cities similarly require their firearms dealers to provide video surveillance, including San Francisco, Emeryville, Campbell, and Pleasant Hill.

 

Safety Training

 

Staff is continuing to evaluate options and methods related to mandatory safety training for firearms owners. Questions remain as to how to best implement mandatory safety training that is not duplicative of the firearm safety requirements in California Penal Code § 26850 et seq.

 

Education Program

 

In conjunction with community organizers, staff is planning a community event on April 25, 2020 to promote general safety throughout the City. A variety of topic areas are being considered for the fair, including firearms safety and mental health resources. Further information on this safety fair will follow as details become finalized.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

                     Adopt the safe storage and video surveillance ordinances attached to this report.

 

                     Do not adopt all or some of the proposed ordinances, or consider modifying certain aspects (i.e., penalties for violations).

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no anticipated financial impact by adopting the proposed ordinances.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOUCMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

This action is consistent with the AMC process for developing and/or amending ordinances.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action is not a project for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA guidelines section 15061(b)(3) as there is no possibility that this action may have a significant effect on the environment.

 

CLIMATE IMPACT

 

There are no climate impacts from adopting the proposed ordinances.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Introduce for first reading an ordinance amending the Alameda Municipal Code by adding provisions to Section 4-32 (Firearms and Weapons) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Safe Storage of Firearms, and 2) Introduce for first reading an ordinance amending the Alameda Municipal Code by adding provisions to Section 4-36 (License Requirements For Firearms and Munitions Dealers) of Article V (Firearms and Explosives) of Chapter IV (Offenses and Public Safety), Requiring Firearms Dealers to Provide Video Surveillance

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager recommends approval of the two ordinances.  The City staff is continuing to evaluate the other priorities for gun safety as well as other priorities of the City Council.  One area that is being focused on currently is monitoring State legislation.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Montague Hung, Deputy City Attorney

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director