David Louie | ABC7 News | Link to Article
San Jose is moving closer to becoming the first big city in America to require gun owners to lock up their guns when they're away from home.
The goal is to keep people safe if a home is broken into. The Justice Department estimates 170,000 guns are stolen in residential burglaries across the country each year. Two San Jose city council members worry those guns are used to commit other crimes.
The proposal goes to the full city council in a month or so now that a committee has worked out details that will require San Jose residents to lock up their guns when they're not home.
"We actually are doing this not only to protect our community from gun violence and guns falling into the wrong hands, but ultimately it protects the guns of the firearm owners, because they get to keep their guns," said San Jose City Council members Ash Kalra.
Kalra says the plan received input from police Chief Eddie Garcia, along with people on both sides of the issue. No opposition surfaced from the NRA.
A-A Locksmith in San Jose showed off examples of the kind of lock boxes, or safes that hand gun owners might need to satisfy the proposed law. They start at about $150 and up, depending on the size. The transportable boxes can be bolted down to prevent theft.
"You want to secure the gun, so somebody can't steal it, but you still want to have access to the gun in case your family is at risk for some reason," said A-A Locksmith manger Richard Acosta.
There is opposition to the proposal. Joe Castello, the owner of Castello Guns in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, doesn't think the plan will keep guns out of the hands of burglars.
"This won't prevent anything. If a burglar breaks in and the gun is locked up, he's going to get the gun no matter what. Is that going to prevent anything? Can't," Costello said.
The original plan by council members Kalra and Raul Peralez had other stringent requirements. However, with similar or overlapping proposals in the works at other levels of government, only the locked-up when away from home proposal is moving forward.