The Lafayette City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance requiring city gun owners to keep firearms in a locked container or use a safety lock.
The council will make it official at the next council meeting with a second reading of the new ordinance, likely as part of the council consent calendar.
Lafayette joins other Bay Area municipalities such as Antioch, Alameda, Berkeley, Dublin, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, South San Francisco and Walnut Creek in requiring gun owners to keep their firearms locked up.
The ordinance won’t apply when people are legally carrying firearms or when it is in their immediate possession or control. Violations will likely be considered misdemeanors. They could also be considered a violation of probation and can be used in child custody and civil lawsuits.
Members of Lafayette’s Crime Prevention Commission reiterated during the Nov. 28 council meeting that the ordinance could come back to bite the city in the form of lawsuits. The commission reviewed the proposal in October and suggested “alternative approaches to ensure gun safety in Lafayette.”
“The commission supports developing public education focused on safe gun storage and overall gun safety,” the report said. “Education, a proclamation, and other options may be available to support our community in this effort.”
The council supported more gun education, but still voted 5-0 to enact the ordinance.
A staff report for Monday’s meeting said the ordinance would seek to “decrease the risk of harm to children and the entire community. The safe storage ordinance is consistent with, and builds upon, existing state law by requiring gun owners to always use safety devices when storing a firearm in their residence.
“The ordinance fills an important gap in existing law and aims to reduce accidental gun shootings, gun-related homicides and suicides, and the theft of unsecured firearms.”