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The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Stricter gun safety policy sparks controversy in San Ramon

St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office
An example of the trigger locks that the new ordinance would mandate

The San Ramon City Council passed a new gun safety ordinance on Nov. 28, 2023, mandating anyone that owns a gun to either store it in a safe or place a trigger lock on it. Although there were already some laws placed on gun control in San Ramon, the new ordinance is unique in that it specifically gets rid of a couple of gaps in the previous legislature.

Looking back to when the new ordinance was discussed, Chief of Police Denton Carlson described how it came to be: “We had some local gun safety advocacy groups who approached the city numerous times regarding what they viewed as a loophole in the gun safety laws.”

Originally, the San Ramon municipal codes on firearm storage stated that a gun owner must lock up a firearm if they should “reasonably know” that a child could gain access to it. This created a gray area that could provide a legal defense for dangerous actions, which has now been removed by the new legislation.

Rather than depending on the knowledge of a gun owner, the new ordinance dictates that all gun owners who don’t lock up their firearms will be penalized with an initial 100$ fine per firearm, with additional, more expensive fines for repeat offenders. Moreover, if a single owner violates the ordinance more than thrice per year or if their charge includes reckless endangerment, they can be hit with a misdemeanor.

Many of the proponents for this new gun ordinance use this aspect of the law as the main selling point, as it protects children from any possible harm that would come from an unlocked gun. San Ramon City Council member Sridhar Verose explained, “It’s a common sense approach that fosters a culture of responsible firearm ownership and ensuring the safety of everyone in our city.”

Thankfully, despite the worries about safety brought up in the legislation, Verose confirmed that “San Ramon is a safe city and we don’t have any major issues, though we want to be more proactive and we don’t want to become a statistic in the future.”

However, there are also multiple disadvantages to the law, opponents say, most of them surrounding the fact that the law will make it harder for gun owners to access their firearms and properly protect themselves. They argue that if a break-in occurs, gun owners would no longer be able to protect themselves while police are on the way.

Mike Grant, a gun dealer with 47 years of experience, detailed a scenario at the hearing on Nov. 28: “Crime is up 22% across the state, depending on the category. With that being said, San Ramon, like Dublin, is five minutes out [from police]. You have five minutes, what are you going to do in those five minutes? Are you going to tell the burglar to wait to start the gunfight? That’s absurd. We’re making people’s lives unsafe by passing these laws.”

There is also the concern that the new ordinance was unnecessary as Carlson stated, “I conducted research into all the incidents where a firearm was actually discharged and I didn’t find any incidents since January of 2020. Based on our review of those incidents, there was nothing definitive to find whether the ordinance would have changed the situation.”

“All guns are already sold with trigger locks automatically. The state has made it mandatory to cover these kinds of things,” Grant commented at the hearing. “We have enough laws. We have 225 laws on the books in California and 20,000 laws nationwide.”

In the end though, Verose confidently declared that “the City Council has always been committed to creating a safe environment for all of our residents. It is a shared responsibility to ensure that every measure is taken to prevent accidents, deter unauthorized access, and keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who should not have them.”

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About the Contributor
Andy Mei
Andy Mei, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Andy joined the Wildcat Tribune in order to get more involved with student life on campus and help inform other students on a variety of topics. He was in Journalism 1 last year. Andy enjoys listening to music while riding his bike or hiking, snacking on chips and fruits while watching documentaries and video essays, and reading fantasy novels late into the night. His goal in journalism this year is to be able to diversify the topics he writes about more and write an article in every section. If Andy could be anyone on the Tribune, he would want to be Mr. Bathke, since he would be able to manage and watch over the paper without directly getting involved in the writing process.

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