Los Angeles lawmakers just voted unanimously to require guns at home be disabled or locked if they’re not close by.
When the new law takes effect, violators of the requirement could be charged with a misdemeanor crime. The proposed law was introduced earlier this year but it now has the specific wording needed to put it into effect.
Citizens of Los Angeles will be required to lock guns in a safe or with a trigger lock, unless the firearm is in close proximity to the owner. It won’t need a lock if it can be readily accessed and used.
The language is specific, but not so exact that it can’t be up for argument. For instance, sleeping with a gun on a bedside table could be permissible, even though the owner isn’t in immediate control of the firearm.
Lawmakers say that there’s no reason to fear house-to-house checks for compliance. Gun owners could face charges should they be found in violation in the investigation after a shooting incident or other crime.
Those in support of the law claim that unlocked guns present a danger to children and are attractive to thieves. They say that locked up guns deter rash decisions and stop children from taking guns to school.
The law is facing considerable backlash from gun owners. Many do not feel comfortable locking away protective firearms and having lawmakers extending their considerable reach into bedrooms of their constituents.
They feel that they should be able to have full access to a firearm should an attack happen at home. The time it takes to unlock a trigger guard or open a safe could be just long enough for an attacker to fire first.
This new law follows in suit with a current run of legislation across the state that places increased restrictions on the purchase and use of firearms. In reaction to federal stalling local city councils are taking charge with tight restrictions.