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Responding to mass shootings, Mountain View bans gun possession on all city-owned property

Hundreds of firearms turned over at a gun buyback event in East Palo Alto. Photo by Andre Zandona.

Mountain View City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve stricter gun control measures that ban firearms on all city-owned property. Council members also agreed to pursue tighter rules on safe storage of guns.

The new ordinance is a direct response to mass shooting incidents across the country, including the 2019 Gilroy Garlic festival shooting and the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The council for years has pursued local gun control laws that go above and beyond state and federal regulations.

The law bans possession of firearms -- including handguns and long guns, loaded or unloaded -- on any property owned, leased or subleased by the city. Doing so would encompass all parks and recreational facilities, including Shoreline Lake, the city's golf course, Rengstorff House and the Adobe Building. Many of these locations already prohibited firearms, but the ordinance expands the list of properties.

"Locations such as these are where a large number of youth and adults congregate, making them appealing for someone intending to inflict a high number of casualties," according to a city staff report.

Violating the rules would amount to a misdemeanor offense, though police are not expected to proactively stop and search people for guns. People hit with the violation -- which carries a fine and possible jail time -- will likely have been stopped for other suspected criminal activity.

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Though the vote Tuesday places greater restrictions atop the state's already powerful gun control laws, some council members have called it a good "first step" in catching up with other Bay Area cities. Sunnyvale, for example, has an ordinance banning large-capacity magazines, restricting ammunition sales and requiring the safe storage of firearms.

Speakers at the meeting, all in support of the new law, pushed the council to follow suit and adopt stringent gun storage measures as well. They pointed to an incident in Texas over the weekend in which a 3-year-old fatally shot his 8-month-old brother at home.

Resident Kelly Traver urged the council to adopt a safe storage ordinance, and said the state's penal code is fairly lax in requiring that firearms be secured in a location not accessible by children. That means people are frequently placing guns in the garage, in between mattresses or on top of the fridge, she said, which is not enough.

Many school shootings involve a current or former student who took an unsecured firearm to campus, Traver said.

"I do not want Mountain View to have that happen," she said.

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The idea came up in January last year among a menu of options to crack down on guns in Mountain View, which included multiple measures to restrict gun sales in the city. Council members at the time opted not to pursue most of the options due to constraints in staff time. City officials also cautioned that enforcement would be difficult, and that police officers cannot proactively search homes or vehicles for compliance.

Despite the initially cautious approach, council members rallied behind the idea of tighter gun storage rules, agreeing to have staff come back and formally add it to the list of priorities this year. City Attorney Krishan Chopra said the ordinance could be drafted and come before council for approval by the end of the year.

Though the gun control ordinance passed Tuesday was the end of a yearslong response to mass shootings in 2017 and 2018, the City Council tacked on more incidents of "random acts of mayhem and violence using firearms" in the United States. The list includes the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the spa shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and the King Soopers supermarket shooting in Boulder, Colorado, last month.

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Responding to mass shootings, Mountain View bans gun possession on all city-owned property

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 1:07 pm

Mountain View City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve stricter gun control measures that ban firearms on all city-owned property. Council members also agreed to pursue tighter rules on safe storage of guns.

The new ordinance is a direct response to mass shooting incidents across the country, including the 2019 Gilroy Garlic festival shooting and the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The council for years has pursued local gun control laws that go above and beyond state and federal regulations.

The law bans possession of firearms -- including handguns and long guns, loaded or unloaded -- on any property owned, leased or subleased by the city. Doing so would encompass all parks and recreational facilities, including Shoreline Lake, the city's golf course, Rengstorff House and the Adobe Building. Many of these locations already prohibited firearms, but the ordinance expands the list of properties.

"Locations such as these are where a large number of youth and adults congregate, making them appealing for someone intending to inflict a high number of casualties," according to a city staff report.

Violating the rules would amount to a misdemeanor offense, though police are not expected to proactively stop and search people for guns. People hit with the violation -- which carries a fine and possible jail time -- will likely have been stopped for other suspected criminal activity.

Though the vote Tuesday places greater restrictions atop the state's already powerful gun control laws, some council members have called it a good "first step" in catching up with other Bay Area cities. Sunnyvale, for example, has an ordinance banning large-capacity magazines, restricting ammunition sales and requiring the safe storage of firearms.

Speakers at the meeting, all in support of the new law, pushed the council to follow suit and adopt stringent gun storage measures as well. They pointed to an incident in Texas over the weekend in which a 3-year-old fatally shot his 8-month-old brother at home.

Resident Kelly Traver urged the council to adopt a safe storage ordinance, and said the state's penal code is fairly lax in requiring that firearms be secured in a location not accessible by children. That means people are frequently placing guns in the garage, in between mattresses or on top of the fridge, she said, which is not enough.

Many school shootings involve a current or former student who took an unsecured firearm to campus, Traver said.

"I do not want Mountain View to have that happen," she said.

The idea came up in January last year among a menu of options to crack down on guns in Mountain View, which included multiple measures to restrict gun sales in the city. Council members at the time opted not to pursue most of the options due to constraints in staff time. City officials also cautioned that enforcement would be difficult, and that police officers cannot proactively search homes or vehicles for compliance.

Despite the initially cautious approach, council members rallied behind the idea of tighter gun storage rules, agreeing to have staff come back and formally add it to the list of priorities this year. City Attorney Krishan Chopra said the ordinance could be drafted and come before council for approval by the end of the year.

Though the gun control ordinance passed Tuesday was the end of a yearslong response to mass shootings in 2017 and 2018, the City Council tacked on more incidents of "random acts of mayhem and violence using firearms" in the United States. The list includes the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the spa shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and the King Soopers supermarket shooting in Boulder, Colorado, last month.

Comments

Bruce Karney
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:13 pm
Bruce Karney, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:13 pm

I'm happy the Council did this. About 5 years ago I was driving to the golf course at Shoreline and about 1/4 mile before arriving there I saw a young man with a rifle (or air rifle) near the walking and cycling path on the north side of the road. He was crouched down and seemed to be intently aiming at something near the ground. I phoned 911 and many police cars arrived within a few minutes. I never read anything about the arrest in The Voice or the Mercury, so I don't know if it was a rifle or air rifle, but it was a very unnerving experience at the time.


PeaceLove
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Apr 14, 2021 at 5:25 pm
PeaceLove, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 5:25 pm

I would ask everyone to consider that this most recent ban is a kind of security theater that restricts individual rights while having literally zero effect on gun violence rates.

I commend to everyone everyone BJ Campbell's writing on the topic, especially:
Web Link Campbell does a great job of looking only at what can be quantified, and he doesn't identify as either right or left.

In the article, he cites a major study out of Boston University. Here's the pertinent section:

>Let’s look at the study’s findings:

* “Assault weapon” bans have no effect.
* Magazine capacity bans have no effect.
* None of the gun laws they modeled affected the suicide numbers at all. [Note: 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides]
* Limiting handgun purchase to age 21 and over has no effect.
* Trafficking prohibitions (restrictions on buying with the intent to sell) have no effect.
* Junk gun laws (prohibiting handguns that fail to meet certain requirements) have no effect.
* Stand-your-ground laws have no effect, positive or negative.
* Permitless carry laws have no effect, positive or negative.

There were only three laws that had any effect whatsoever.

* Universal background checks, either through required background checks for all sales or through a firearm purchase permit, reduced gun homicides by 14.9% and had no effect on suicide.
* Prohibiting those convicted of a violent misdemeanor from buying a handgun reduced gun homicides by 18.1%, and had no effect on suicide.
* Shall-issue laws, which ensure that law enforcement officers can’t discriminate when issuing concealed carry permits, increased gun homicides by 9.0% and had no effect on suicide.

Follow-up article just out:
Web Link


MV_Voter
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:48 pm
MV_Voter, Rex Manor
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 8:48 pm

while i'm glad the city is putting in legislation to hold accountable those who commit such crimes, i feel what we need are national laws. PeaceLove made a comment on effective measures. universal background checks are national, as are the restrictions to felons, but he/she mentioned violent misdemeanors. in any event, we need to have national legislation in order to solve this issue in the u.s.

????


ivg
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:31 pm
ivg, Rex Manor
Registered user
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:31 pm

I agree that it would be great if people secured their guns and didn't bring them onto city property, but I don't see how this law will have any effect. Just another knee-jerk measure.


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