A new piece of legislation was introduced Thursday to strengthen security at gun stores across the state. Under Senate Bill 464, gun retailers would be required to lock guns in a secure facility when the business is closed, such as an area that has steel bars on the windows, deadbolts, or a metal grate on the doors. Retailers must either take their guns out of their display cases and lock them in a safe or vault, or lock up the guns in display cases with a steel rod or cable through the trigger guards. Steel or concrete pillars must also be placed in front of the store.
The bill was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill, as part of his yearly contest “Ought Be a Law…Or Not.” The submission on gun store security was sent in by Redwood City resident Anthony Lazarus, who said a gun store theft on the Peninsula prompted him to enter the contest. During the incident, thieves made off with a number of weapons after driving a car into the front door of the gun store.
“I wondered what could be done about it,” Mr. Lazarus said. “A quick Internet search showed this was not an isolated incident; in fact, these ram-and-grabs seemed to be happening across California. Businesses like grocery stores protect their entryways, so I figured, why couldn’t gun stores?”
Using cars to break into gun stores is not a unique tactic—similar robberies took place in Ceres, Elk Grove, Folsom, Petaluma, Rocklin, Sunnyvale and Ventura in 2016. Overall, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported that 797 guns were stolen from federally licensed firearms dealers in California from 2012 to 2015.
The winning bill idea was one of more than 250 received by Senator Hill for this year’s contest. The “Ought Be a Law…Or Not” contents encourages Californians to submit ideas for legislation that would involve establishing a new law, or by urging that an outdated law be taken off the books or amended.
Overall, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported that 797 guns were stolen from federally licensed firearms dealers in California between 2012 and 2015.