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Mayor Tony Spitaleri
Earlier this month in Sunnyvale, CA, with the threat of an NRA lawsuit hanging over their heads, voters passed Measure C with over 66% of the vote.

Motivated by the tragedy at Sandy Hook and lack of action nationally, Mayor Tony Spitaleri worked to put Measure C on the ballot. Sunnyvale is a quiet suburban town located in Silicon Valley with relatively low-crime rates, but Mayor Spitaleri, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns since 2006, felt it was important for somebody to take the lead on reducing gun violence.

“That [Sandy Hook] made me angry,” Spitaleri told KQED Newsroom’s Scott Shafer and made him determined to do something about it. He says he’s certain Sunnyvale can make a difference.

“I liken it to the ban on plastic bags,” he said. “It started with one town, then it went to another town, and then it went to another town, and now in Santa Clara County we have no more plastic bags. It has to start somewhere, and no city, no entity, is immune from any of this at all.”


The NRA threatened to sue the city if the laws passed and began seeking eligible plaintiffs the day after the election.
Sunnyvale taxpayers should consider whether they want to foot the legal bill to push the social agenda of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose gun control advocacy group is behind Measure C , …


Measure C: Gun Safety

Shall the City of Sunnyvale adopt a gun safety ordinance to require: 1) reporting to police, within 48 hours, known loss or theft of a firearm; 2) storing firearms in residences in a locked container or disabling them with a trigger lock when not in the owner's immediate possession; 3) prohibiting the possession of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, with certain exceptions; and 4) logging and tracking of ammunition sales within the City of Sunnyvale?

Full text of law (PDF)

Downtown Sunnyvale

"Reporting to police, within 48 hours, known loss or theft of a firearm"

Commonsense and simple. Not only will this help law enforcement retrieve stolen guns and return them to their owners, it may also relieve gun-owners of the responsibility if the gun is used in a crime.

"Storing firearms in residences in a locked container or disabling them with a trigger lock when not in the owner's immediate possession"

This is a lifesaver, especially in homes with minors.

According to the AAP, the safest home for children and teens is one without guns. If there are guns in the home, scientific evidence shows the risk of injury or death is greatly reduced when they are stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked in a separate place. Pediatricians routinely offer this injury-prevention counseling as part of their guidance to families at health care visits.

“Firearm injuries are often fatal – there are few second chances,” said Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, immediate past president of the AAP. “Young children are curious, and are often unable to remember or follow safety rules. Older children and teens naturally tend to be moody and impulsive. When you combine these traits with access to guns, the consequences can be tragic and permanent.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

"Prohibiting the possession of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, with certain exceptions"

In California, it is already illegal to manufacture or sell high-capacity magazines. The new Sunnyvale law requires that high-capacity magazines grandfathered in at the state level must be legally sold or transferred, removed from the city, or surrendered to the Dept. of Public Safety. This appears to be the NRA’s target of choice claiming it is an infringement of Second Amendment rights, but according to Cody Jacobs, a lawyer with Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, other state and local governments have already successfully defeated challenges to laws banning possession of high-capacity magazines.

“This isn’t anything new,” Jacobs continued. “It’s been upheld by the D.C. Circuit, a conservative circuit court of appeals. So I think [the NRA] is going to have a really uphill battle trying to argue that any of these measures are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.”

In the 2011 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court did in fact uphold several restrictions on firearms and ammunition - both the high-capacity magazine possession ban and a law prohibiting the sale and possession of assault weapons.

“The District…argues neither assault weapons nor weapons with large-capacity magazines are among the ‘Arms’ protected by the Second Amendment because they are both ‘dangerous and unusual,” per the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, noted the justices in their opinion.  

NBC Bay Area

"Logging and tracking of ammunition sales within the City of Sunnyvale"

Probably the most effective section of the new law, this allows law enforcement to remove the guns of those prohibited from owning firearms before a crime is committed.  A similar law was recently vetoed by Governor Brown at the state level, but the city of Sacramento has been using it successfully since 2008.

“This was a way to basically see who’s buying the ammo,” said Sacramento City Councilman Kevin McCarty, who authored the 2007 ordinance creating the registry. “But also, (if) we found out that prohibited people were buying the ammo, then we can go and get a search warrant, work with the local judicial system, and go and talk to those people, find out why they’re buying ammunition, if they’re really a prohibited person.”
Between 2008 and 2012, Sacramento police flagged nearly 400 ammunition purchasers who were barred by state or federal laws from owning guns. The information led to more than 300 arrests, and the seizure of more than 200 illegal firearms.


The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. If you would like to write about firearms law please send us a Kosmail.

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[Disclaimer.  Nothing in this diary constitutes legal advice and it is not to be acted upon as legal advice.]

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 05:12 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and California politics.

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