News

City Council responds to push for new gun laws

City Council members took a small step last week towards following Sunnyvale's lead in cracking down on illegal guns and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Council member Mike Kasperzak prodded a majority of the council at the end of the May 28 meeting to request a memo about the legal status of Sunnyvale's new gun laws, which are being challenged by lawsuits. Kasperzak said he was spurred by the recent shooting in Santa Barbara and by former Mountain View mayor and state legislator Sally Lieber, who gave a speech on the issue at the start of the meeting, and organized a rally in Mountain View to promote new local gun laws several months ago.

"We're experiencing a public health epidemic of shootings that are both criminal and accidental every single day," Lieber said after the meeting. "I, like many other people, feel that we have to make some progress on this issue. We just can't accept anymore that people, including a large number of children, are going to get shot on any given day, month or year in the U.S. Many of us are very frustrated waiting for Congress. I think it's a case of Congress being bought off by the gun manufacturers. So we want to see progress at the state level and the local level."

"I think we in the community should have a discussion about these issues," Kasperzak said on Monday. "No amount of gun control law will bring everything to an end, but are there things you can do to limit it?"

While John Inks said no during his 2013 term, Kasperzak signed onto Mayors Against Illegal Guns during his 2012 mayoral term. Inks opposed the request for the staff memo, saying the information requested was readily available and "You could go get it. I could go get it and bring it here."

In November Sunnyvale's voters passed Measure C, which requires gun stores to keep a log of everyone who buys ammunition in Sunnyvale, bans the possession of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds (except for those who owned theirs before 2000), requires guns be locked up in a container when not in use, and requires that lost or stolen guns be reported to police within 48 hours. The measure passed with 66 percent of voters in favor.

Shortly thereafter six Sunnyvale residents sued the city for banning their ammunition magazines holding over 10 bullets, which the NRA claims are in fact not "high capacity" but have been sold with millions of guns over the years.

"They are making the claim that the Second Amendment protects their right to large capacity magazines and we disagree with that position," said Tony Schoenberg, an attorney representing the city of Sunnyvale. "And so far our argument has prevailed with the court."

Court rulings upholding the law have been appealed and the case may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Schoenberg added, "It is my understanding the NRA (National Rifle Association) is funding the litigation," for the six residents.

Challenging everything else in the ordinance is a second lawsuit against Sunnyvale brought by a Sunnyvale gun store, U.S. Firearms, owned by Eric Fisher, and the National Sports Shooting Foundation. The lawsuit argues that the new laws are in conflict with state laws, including a state privacy protection law that would preempt the ammunition buyer log. Schoenberg said a county judge denied an injunction to temporarily suspend the portion of the law dealing with ammunition buyer data logs. The case is ongoing.

"It is a way that law enforcement can find people in possession of firearms illegally," Schoenberg said of the required ammunition buyer database. "If they are buying bullets it suggests they have guns."

Mountain View could implement similar laws by a simple City Council vote or by asking voters to decide at the ballot box.

"Given something as contentious as this (a ballot measure) would be a better way to go," Kasperzak said.

The city would be violating state law, said Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Sports Shooting Foundation.

"State law pre-empts local jurisdictions from regulating the lawful sale of firearms and ammunition products," Keane said. "Mountain View would simply be violating state law if it attempted to regulate an area the state Legislature says that it will control to the exclusion of local regulations."

"As we've seen in the recent tragedy, all the gun control laws in the world will not stop the actions of criminals," Keane said, adding that stopping criminals would require "more police officers on the street, more prosecutors in the courtrooms and more prison cells."

If Mountain View were to face legal challenges, legal costs may not be a concern. Schoenberg said his firm is providing its services for free in the Sunnyvale case, and other attorneys may do the same for Mountain View.

"We do have a network of pro bono firms that we work with and when a jurisdiction needs help, we send out a request to the firms and, frequently, we are able to find one that is willing and able to help," said Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in an email.

Such litigation "tends to be expensive," Schoenberg said.

"Our firm is doing this pro-bono for the city of Sunnyvale because we think these are important cases," Schoenberg said.

Greg David, owner of Eddy's Shooting Sports in Mountain View and a former City Council candidate, declined to comment about how such laws might effect his business as a gun dealer.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Hmm, might as well start making knives, forks, cars, axes, machettes, etc.. illegal too, since of course we all know they can kill.

It's not the gun that kills, but the person behind it. When someone has a screw loose, they will use whatever is necessary for their evil doings.

How about looking at the real problem, the people behind these doings.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brit
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I know you will probably dislike a foreigner commenting on this, but it might be interesting for you to see how the rest of the world looks on American gun laws. This is an article by the BBC on the recent gunman in Canada. At the end of the article is an interesting graph showing gun crime taking into account the size of the population in various countries. America comes way out on top. Is this something to be proud of or to learn from? Web Link You could tell me to mind my own business, fair comment. But you could read it anyway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Specious arguments
a resident of Slater
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

@Hmmm: Remind me, how many mass murders were committed by maniacs wielding forks? And in three minutes, how many people can be killed with an axe versus with an assault rifle?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Sunnyvale police have killed more people than residents have in the last 18 mo. Not sure what they're afraid of.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

In our rush to blame all society's ills on guns, let's not forgot the first victims of our Santa Barbara lunatic... stabbed to death.
But it was the guns that made him to do it.
Better post comments quickly, before this topic gets 'restricted'.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm

"Such litigation 'tends to be expensive,' Schoenberg said." Let's ponder this. Perhaps let the Sunnyvale case be argued, however aspiring politicians wouldn't be able to make political hay at Mountain View's expense in the mean time.

@Brit - I agree, we're a bonkers society. We do not have the will to actually *do* something about gun violence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not a Brit
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm

@Brit, a resident of another community

" At the end of the article is an interesting graph showing gun crime taking into account the size of the population in various countries. America comes way out on top. Is this something to be proud of or to learn from? "

So what exactly are we to learn from being at the top of a list of selected countries? Some of these countries have more guns per capita and fewer gun control laws. Maybe we should learn that we have more mentally sick people who have access to guns. None of the gun control freaks have suggested dealing with mental health issues. More people die in car accidents but nobody is suggesting banning cars. Making cars safer as unintended consequences.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grammar police
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm

The laws generally don't effect business, they affect business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

What do people think of this bill now before the CA legislature: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ed S
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Don't know how many mass killings have been done with forks but I do know that in a recent mass knife attack at a train station in China, 33 died and over 130 were injured. A news article stated that the attack lasted less than 2 minutes and it took 10 minutes for a SWAT team to respond.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by My $.02
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Maybe, but people with guns kill many, many more people than they would if they didn't have guns, and guns are designed to kill as many people as possible.

If only everybody around was armed, an ordinary civilian could take out a mass killer before he got too far. If that were true, then how come it never happens? The truth is that in a chaotic situation, even highly trained police officers often kill bystanders

We don't need more laws, we just need to enforce the laws we have. The people who say this are the same ones who fight to make sure that existing laws are as weak and ineffectual as possible. Our current gun laws are riddled with loopholes and allow people to amass enormous arsenals of military-style weapons with virtually no restrictions.

Criminals will always find a way to get guns no matter what measures we take, so what's the point? The question isn't whether we could snap our fingers and make every gun disappear. It's whether we can make it harder for criminals to get guns, and harder for an unbalanced person with murderous intent to kill so many people. The goal is to reduce violence as much as possible. There's no other problem for which we'd say if we can't solve it completely and forever we shouldn't even try.

The Constitution says I have a right to own guns. Yes it does, but for some reason gun advocates think that the right to bear arms is the only constitutional right that is virtually without limit. You have the right to practice your religion, but not if your religion involves human sacrifice. You have the right to free speech, but you can still be prosecuted for incitement or conspiracy, and you can be sued for libel. Every right is subject to limitation when it begins to threaten others, and the Supreme Court has affirmed that even though there is an individual right to gun ownership, the government can put reasonable restrictions on that right.

More here: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Member
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm

@Greg Coladonato: I think it is the product another aspiring politician trying to make hay on a recent tragedy. AB1014 is ripe for abuse, like 'swatting' and will benefit trial lawyers fighting seizure cases.

AB 1014 won't stop the real problem: The continued deaths of men of color. Check out tonight's KTVU or KTLA news for the body count.

How about we just ban all manufactured ammunition? I mean police departments, .22 rimfire, everything. Spree shooters wouldn't be able to buy 50 rounds of hollowpoint ammo - neither can bad guys. The real 'sports' shooters can (and do) build up their own from components. It would also stop the New Years/Christmas/Birthday 'celebration' shooters from popping off rounds into the sky. Might make some of the road signs in the hills less holey, too.

By the way, check out the ammunition aisle at Walmart. It's usually cleaned out. People have been hording for a while.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Skeptic
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

"It is a way that law enforcement can find people in possession of firearms illegally," Schoenberg said of the required ammunition buyer database. "If they are buying bullets it suggests they have guns."

What a specious statement! It will also allow the "government" to know whick perfectly legal guns are in the hands of law abiding citizens. Just ask the Jews of Germany how gun registration worked for them!
Further, a "criminal" only has to jump on Cal Train or light rail to conceal buying ammunition - what a stupid POLITICAL gambit...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by guns for sale
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Nothing sells more guns than more gun regulations.
Most amo is purchased over the internet and not locally.
It is very easy to legaly buy all the parts required to make a fully automatic weapon that has no serial numbers.
It is legal to buy all the parts and build your own amo. I know people in Sunnyvale with enough high powered sniper rifles and amo to fight a war for years.....
And every time regulations get tighter they buy more....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moreregulation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hopefully, mountain view will follow sunnyvales lead in helping keep a better control of these killing tools. It's such an obvious benefit to tracking who is buying ammunition. Automobile sales are tracked, yet not guns and ammo...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Skeptic
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 6, 2014 at 10:43 pm

"Automobile sales are tracked, yet not guns and ammo..."

I don't remember any mention of the right to posses an automobile... I'm gonna have to read it again...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good News / Bad News
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 7, 2014 at 8:12 am

Studies are showing that fewer and fewer Americans are owning guns, but the ones that do are owning more and more of them. On a macro level, this is a shrinking consumer base that has a huge part of their motivation to buy more based in, what? Fear? Probably. Fear that someone will regulate their rights away. Fear that someone will invade their house. Fear that a bad guy with a gun will be in front of them. Fear that they are not safe. Fear, fear, fear. It's a terrible way to live. Yeah, bad things happen to good people. But when guns are around, many more bad things happen to good people unintentionally.

The argument I never hear gun supporters rebut is the one that suggests that their right to own a gun trumps the dead guy's right to life (assuming the dead guy was a "good guy"). Like all those kids in Newtown. Or Santa Barbara. Or [you pick the location]. Every one of those people deserved to live. And in the shadow of those tragedy, the gun supporters still clamor for less regulation and less oversight and fewer questions, etc. It's this fear. The second amendment talks about keeping a well armed militia presumably to defend against a tyrannical government. I guess if you start with the assumption that "the government" is evil, it's easy to justify loading up with weaponry to defend yourself against it. Stupid, yes. But justifiable. And where is this tyrannical government exactly? Right. No answer that makes any rational sense. Again, the government has done some awful things, but so has organized religion. Not a reason to buy 30 rifles. Nope. Not at all.

Also, and this is interesting, Americans comprise less than 1% of the world's population, but posses more than 33% of it's guns. Wow. Our society is just weird.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GunFAIL
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2014 at 8:41 am

"But when guns are around, many more bad things happen to good people unintentionally."

People do track this stuff. I read one blog that is called GunFAIL that summarizes the week's gun related events in one place. See for yourself:
Web Link

<snip>
Another week has come and gone, and once again we're looking at something in the neighborhood of 40 reported GunFAIL incidents, 15 people who accidentally shot themselves, four home invasion shootings, nine child victims (including an 18-month-old who's the youngest victim of the year, to date), six law enforcement officer-involved GunFAILs, etc., etc., etc.
Seems like we had a slightly elevated number of familial accidental shootings this week, outside of the usual rash of kids shooting their siblings, including a man in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, who accidentally shot his son, another (the grandfather of Green Bay Packers DE Jerel Worthy) who accidentally shot his wife through an interior wall of their house, like someone else did in Vacaville, California, though it's not clear what the relationship between the parties was. And then there were the tragedies in Windber, Pennsylvania, where a man says he accidentally shot his 9-months pregnant girlfriend in the face with a shotgun he was waving around during an argument, and in Homestead, Florida, where a 6-year-old boy picked up an unattended assault rifle at a family gathering and killed his grandfather with it.

Other noteworthy items: The Detroit store owner who for some reason felt compelled take a shot at someone in his place, but missed and instead killed a 16-year-old passerby on the street outside the shop. The Kouts, Indiana cop who revived the once-popular trend of forgetting one's gun in the bathroom (bonus points for being a school resource officer, leaving the gun behind in a school bathroom, and then responding to an emergency call without the gun). The Edgewater, Florida, officer who reminded us why we might prefer not to have people slinging their AR-15s with them on Chipotle runs, after accidentally discharging his when he caught the trigger on the keychain hanging from his belt. And the UCSB student who added to everyone's post-traumatic stress when he accidentally fired a round into his neighbor's apartment. (You really do have to wonder if he was busy fantasizing about how he'd have defended himself against Elliot Rodger.)

There are also three stories of special note which did not qualify for this week's list. The first first is in every respect a traditional GunFAIL: a fatal accident during a bear hunt. But though the hunter killed was American, the accident took place in Canada. The second two non-qualifying stories aren't accidents at all, but are your basic "armed society, polite society" stories: a Pennsylvania man who shot another to death over a plate of food, and two armed groups of campers in Alaska, one of which confronted the other about some unspecified "concern" about their guns, whereupon the second group replied by gunning down a member of the first group, which naturally prompted the other member of the first group to gun down the shooter from the second group. See? They took turns, so that equals polite. This is not really a failure of the old armed/polite construction, though, since all that really posits is that the alternative to politeness is mutually assured destruction. These gents merely made a rational decision in opting for the destruction. Don't even try to tell me you don't think this could just as easily happened among neighbors who both have swimming pools!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adeodatus
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 7, 2014 at 9:59 am

Looks like the council is dumb enough to actually try to bring about an ordinance that will 100% for sure result in a massive lawsuit and loss of taxpayer money. Take a look at what is happening in Sunnyvale!

Is it really wise to waste millions of dollars on starting a fight with the NRA and other pro gun groups just so you can have a feel good ordinance that does nothing but make criminals of law abiding citizens, like myself, that legally possess standard capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds?


Take a look:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Jun 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Robert is a registered user.

@ Good news/bad news
"Studies are showing that fewer and fewer Americans are owning guns, but the ones that do are owning more and more of them."

You are basing your whole premise on that statement which you do not verify. Without verification, it is just BS. Post a link to the study please.

Large magazine capacity is not the problem, however small brain capacity appears to be the common thread in all these tragedies.

Liberals feel that "things" are evil and corrupt people, whereas conservatives & libertarians believe that "things" are only as good or bad as the person who uses them.

As long as Liberals continue to protect crazy people with mental health privacy laws, these tragedies are likely to continue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good News / Bad News
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

@Robert: "You are basing your whole premise on that statement which you do not verify. Without verification, it is just BS. Post a link to the study please."

Sorry, I figured it was common knowledge. I guess it stands to reason that people who are pro-gun ownership wouldn't know this already. But since you asked, here are two articles that are reporting the downward trend of gun ownership, while the amount of guns is increasing.

(1) from CNN: "Analysis: Fewer U.S. gun owners own more guns"
The data, collected by the Injury Prevention Journal, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the General Social Survey and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the number of U.S. households with guns has declined, but current gun owners are gathering more guns.
Web Link

(2) from the NYTimes: "Share of Homes With Guns Shows 4-Decade Decline"
The rate has dropped in cities large and small, in suburbs and rural areas and in all regions of the country. It has fallen among households with children, and among those without. It has declined for households that say they are very happy, and for those that say they are not. It is down among churchgoers and those who never sit in pews.

The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.
Web Link



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Let's not get lost in a stats argument. Stats can be used to tell either side of a story if the story teller is skilled enough.

Like it or not we're talking about an enumerated civil right. Just like freedom of speech and voting.

Wanna get rid of guns? Start with amending the Constitution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moreregulation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm

"Like it or not we're talking about an enumerated civil right. Just like freedom of speech and voting."

I cannot go into a crowded theater and yell "Fire!", simply because "freedom of speech" is a constitutional right. Why? Because completely unrestricted speech like this would stomp on other constitutional rights.

The same applies to "right to bear arms." Completely unregulated and unrestricted ownership stomps on the constitutional rights of others, particularly Life.

Sorry Otto, but if you are going to reference the Constitution, you should probably read the whole thing and not just the "bear arms" clause.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2014 at 10:50 pm

"The same applies to "right to bear arms." Completely unregulated and unrestricted ownership stomps on the constitutional rights of others, particularly Life."

What part of the Constitution gives you the right to life?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nazi instilled control
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

What did Hitler do to subdue the population? Took away their guns so they couldn't fight back.

What do some people on here want to do, take away your guns.

Some people have no logic. Here is a good analogy: Just because there is one bad apple in the barrel, do we throw out the hole barrel?

Could the reasoning behind all this violence be the medications doctors and psychiatrists push on people. Or maybe it's the monkey see monkey do attitude? Sometimes the solutions to problems are not the easiest at hand. Maybe the problem is that there is no DEATH PENALTY?

Honest and decent people do not kill. Murderers who do, should die, an eye for an eye.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Last year, 100,000 (that's One Hundred Thousand) people died from infections and deseases that they got from HOSPITAL AIR CONDITIONING, having no relation to why they were in the Hospital.... One half of that could be avoided (50,000) if they just opened the damn windows instead of recirculating the "air conditioning".
Where is the outrage ? Way more that guns kill, or knives or drowning.
Perhaps we should outlaw hospitals ?????


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gun lover
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

"The same applies to "right to bear arms." Completely unregulated and unrestricted ownership stomps on the constitutional rights of others, particularly Life."

Complete nonsense. We have limited the right to bear arms more than we have regulated free speech.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:19 am

Guess what else the NY Times reported? As the number of guns sold has gone up, the murder rate has gone down.

I'm pretty sure that those studies don't include households of the people who are out robbing and killing


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

After reading the Voice editorial today in the print edition, it has struck me that the Voice is apparently trying to sugar coat the Sunnyvale ordnance and misinform the public as to intentions of Mr.Bloomberg's gun-grabbing machine. The has printed erroneous information TWICE now in regards to the SV ordnance. Both times they have printed that magazines greater than ten rounds may be possessed if they were obtained before the year 2000. This is correct in regards to state law, but incorrect in regards to the SV ordnance. In Sunnyvale it is currently ILLEGAL TO POSSESS A MAGAZINE THAT HOLDS MORE THAN TEN ROUNDS. The implementation of this law created CRIMINALS overnight out of THOUSANDS, possibly TENS OF THOUSANDS, of OTHERWISE LAW ABIDING Sunnyvale residents.

This is why the NRA and The National Shooting Sports Foundation are determined to take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court. This law criminalizes law abiding citizens and calls for the confiscation of otherwise legally owned property. This law does not even exclude LAW ENFORCEMENT, unless used in an official capacity.

Even someone travelling on any of the four freeways that traverse Sunnyvale would be a criminal if they had a 11+ capacity magazine in their possession.

How is this logical? This is why regulation of this sort is supposed to be handled at a state or federal level. Regardless of the argument for or against guns and such, this is just an example of bad governance. The Voice should be ashamed at how the sugar coat the reality of this poorly conceived law.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVresident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm

MVresident is a registered user.

Robert is 100% correct. Tragedies like the recent one in Santa Barbara could be avoided if people are allowed to involuntary commit others with mental health issues. However the ACLU and radical left have destroyed the ability of parents, health care providers or public safety people to get someone involuntarily committed.

Also, the council should stop trying to interfere with 2nd amendment rights and focus on local issues like and over/underpass at the rail intersection of Rengstorff and Central; or get VTA to put the light rail in a tunnel under central; or report all the illegals to INS instead of letting them march down Castro street.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Criminals and crazies
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Criminals and crazies will faithfully obey any and all gun laws - NOT.


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