Dublin, CA passes Mandatory ‘Safe Storage’

“Nanny State” is a descriptor used to describe a governing body that knows better than you on all subjects, always, for your own safety. Logic cannot be used to dissuade the Nanny State and an individual cannot by any means be left to act of their free will, that’s just dangerous. What if they acted other than how the Nanny State wanted them too!? Regardless if someone was injured or not and regardless of whether the rule is actually positively effective when taken into full context, it is the thought of the rule that counts.

Thus, Dublin.

Dublin City Council passes new gun storage law

Gun owners must lock their firearms inside a container or use a trigger lock

Yes, broad spectrum prohibition on an “unsecured” firearm in the home because the adults of Dublin cannot be trusted to make rational decisions about their own safety and living conditions

Gun owners in Dublin will soon be required to store their firearms inside a locked container or keep it disabled with a trigger lock while inside their home after the City Council unanimously approved the new ordinance at its meeting last week.

California already has similar laws in effect for guns in households with children living there, or that require a gun owner to store their guns from a household member who is prohibited from having guns.

At least the broader California law (in this instance) holds some context, inaccessibility to a prohibited person is consistent with federal firearm laws.

“What we’re doing in this case is just expanding that definition beyond those two scenarios — children in the home or criminal record — and applying it to all households,” City Manager Linda Smith during a presentation at the Dec. 1 meeting.

Because arbitrarily expanding criminality never backfires, right? This isn’t Dublin, California (not that I should expect sense from this coast) stating that ‘If a firearm is determined to have been inadequately stored to prevent access (IE: on the kitchen counter), the owner may be held liable.’ It is the “do it, or else” type of heavy handed and overbroad stroke decision that cannot produce a desired result beyond signaling all that virtue.

Added to the Dublin Municipal Code, the ordinance known as Chapter 5.89 to Title 5, states, “No person shall keep a firearm within any residence unless the firearm is stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock.”

Two exceptions were added: when the firearm is lawfully carried on an individual, or when it is under the control of a peace officer.

Because a peace officer’s child would never be the one, nor the peace officers themselves, to do something irresponsible with a firearm.

SAN LUIS OBISPO (AP) — A California police chief whose personal handgun was taken after she left it in a restaurant bathroom will be disciplined but will keep her job.

The San Luis Obispo city manager says Chief Deanna Cantrell will have a one-time pay reduction of about $1,600, must undergo firearm safety training and must talk to all members of her department about the incident and lessons learned.

The new 5.89 Code Chapter, under Public Welfare heading, has not been published yet so it is unknown what penalties it may hold for violations. Enforcement is also questionable as this would require inspections of the home. But the rule is not written in favor of or in protection of community members. It effectively prohibits having a firearm ready to resist home invasion without serious mandatory extra expenditure on lockable cases and hardware.

Many states and locales have safe storage requirements, but they are purposefully undefined to make the requirement flexible on the owner. Instead of mandating hardware they mandate reasonable safe storage, if an incident were to occur the court would take the totality of circumstance into account and determine if the firearm was reasonably inaccessible.

Why does that matter? For the children, of course.

Councilmember Shawn Kumagai said the ordinance “will state clearly to our community that we embrace a culture of gun safety” and “safe gun storage helps to prevent unintentional and intentional injury and death of minors, helps prevent gun suicide, and deters gun theft.”

A staff report stated “the unsafe storage of firearms threatens public health and safety,” and that 54% of gun owners in the U.S. don’t lock away all of their guns. This year, there have been at least 236 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 102 deaths and 141 injuries nationally. Seven of those were in California, resulting in two deaths and five injuries.

Seven of those were in California, resulting in two deaths and five injuries.

Now, what is the violent crime rate in Dublin, a city of about 63,000.

  • The Dublin CA crime rate for 2018 was 170.18 per 100,000 population, a 24.6% increase from 2017.
  • The Dublin CA crime rate for 2017 was 136.58 per 100,000 population, a 5.13% decline from 2016.
  • The Dublin CA crime rate for 2016 was 143.97 per 100,000 population, a 20.99% increase from 2015.
  • The Dublin CA crime rate for 2015 was 118.99 per 100,000 population, a 8.55% decline from 2014.

So the critical incident, the emotional one that they insist is why they must have this rule and structure it the way the do, is a 1:5,567,142 (approximately) with safe storage laws as they were previously, for the whole state. But the chance that your are raped, robbed, or assaulted in Dublin (murder is thankfully rare, usually 0) hovers somewhere between 119-242:100,000 (for the 16 years given) and Dublin is much safer than California and the US as a whole.

Violent Crime Year over Year, FBI UCR

So why, do they feel this need to flex extra control in Dublin? Why are they “stating clearly” to their community that their community cannot be trusted to make adult decisions on their own and that they will be penalized for not following the Nanny State?

“54% of gun owners do not lock away all of their guns” is a purposefully vague statement to show that adults cannot be trusted on their own, it gives no context to the locked or unlocked guns, living situations, etc. It is then used to highlight the 236 national incidents of unintentional death and injury of minors. All of which are ‘true’ and we should be working to effectively reduce and keep low.

But let’s take a look at another unintentional injury source, one that is certainly present in California’s climate, drowning.

  • From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day.1 An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.2
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.1 For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.1
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries).1,2 These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).3,4

What does Dublin say about pools?

G.    Pools and spas shall either (1) be kept in working order so the water remains clear and free of pollutants and debris; or (2) drained and kept dry. In either case, properties with pools and/or spas must comply with the minimum security fencing requirements of the state of California;

Okay, what does California say about pools?

Pool fences in California need to be 5 ft tall with gaps between fence slats of 4″ or less, gaps of 2″ or less under the fence, and fence gates must be self-closing and self-latching. They can be 3-sided and attached to the house or other structure, but that doesn’t count as one of the listed pool safety features.

What are those safety features?

  1. Enclosure that isolates the pool or spa from the home.
  2. Mesh safety fence that isolates the pool or spa (ASTM F2286-05).
  3. Safety pool cover or automatic cover (ASTM F1346-91).
  4. Door alarms or gate alarms (UL 2017).
  5. Door closing and latching systems, with latch at least 54″ above floor.
  6. Pool alarms meeting ASTM F2208 standards.

Hmm, seems like very similar “safe storage” requirements are present but pools and open water continue to be far more injurious. Yet far less emphasis is placed on ‘safe storage’ of recreational water features than on handguns despite the disparity in injury rates.

Sellers are not required to bring the pool or home ‘up to code’, but you may be asked to anyway, after the buyer reads the home and pool inspection report.

Home owners aren’t required to sell at the newer code 2018 levels. Only new pools or renovated ones are required to be at code. Meanwhile, all residents of Dublin who own firearms must keep them locked, unless you’re a cop.

What we are seeing are priorities based upon emotional impact, not data driven. Banning recreational water activities and closing pools public and private would immediately reduce deaths and injuries associated with those activities. It wouldn’t even violate a constitutionally protected right, but it wouldn’t be considered. It would be dropped immediately as a ridiculous, unenforceable excess over governmental Nanny Statedom. For recreational water activities, something with an astronomically higher accidental injury rate than constitutionally protected firearms. Something with a higher injury rate for children than firearms, a top 5 leading cause of death in fact.

But we cannot bring such facts to an argument about emotional manipulation. Guns bad! Pools and beaches good! Damn the actual risks.

Nanny Statedom will never outperform education in reducing accidental death and injury. But folks are happy to do it for guns, one more piece of control on the books and looking like they are contributing.

Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.