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San Francisco continues to increase gun control laws

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

San Francisco gun control efforts continued Thursday with a proposal to ban the storage of firearms in any unattended vehicle in The City unless they are secured in lockboxes or in the trunk.

Just weeks after the Board of Supervisors adopted gun control legislation that prompted the closure of San Francisco’s last gun store, High Bridge Arms in the Mission, Supervisor David Campos has proposed that all firearms left in vehicles must be in a lockbox affixed to the vehicle or secured in the trunk with automatic release levers disabled.

A violation would be a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $10,000 fine. If approved, it would be the first such law in California.

Alan Martinez, whose nephew Chris Martinez was fatally shot in the 2014 Isla Vista killings, praised Campos’ proposal. “As long as we are going to live with guns, and we are going to live with guns, we have to enact thousands of measures to make owning guns safer,” Martinez said.

The proposal comes as car burglaries are up in San Francisco and amid an “unfortunate trend” of stolen firearms from vehicles being used in murders.

Campos initially proposed the legislation only for law enforcement in the aftermath of the July shooting death of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 with a gun stolen from an agent with the Bureau of Land Management in The City on official business. The shooting allegedly by an undocumented immigrant sparked a national debate on immigration policies.

But other stolen firearm cases have since occurred. In October, three drifters allegedly stole a firearm from a tourist’s car parked at Fisherman’s Wharf and used it to fatally shoot a woman in Golden Gate Park and a man in Marin County.

The proposal was supported by the Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee Thursday. The full board vote is expected in December.

“Hopefully once we pass this piece of legislation in San Francisco, the rest of the state can follow suit,” Campos said.

There were more than 10,000 guns stolen in California in 2012. In 2013, 9,000 Californians were victims of gun violence.

Allison Anderman, an attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, supported the most recent gun control law approved by the board, which required the video recording of guns purchased and the reporting of ammunition sold to the Police Department. That law, on top of the other gun control laws passed over the years, prompted the closure of High Bridge Arms on Oct. 31.

Anderman said that San Francisco has “enacted some of the best gun laws in the country and many of the laws in San Francisco have been replicated at the state level.” She said she hopes the same occurs with Campos’ law.

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