On Tuesday, the Brentwood City received a presentation regarding firearm storage in which the council opted not to provide direction on an ordinance change at this time.
The item was requested by Councilmember Jovita Mendoza after the city received a letter from Moms Demand Action.
The Brentwood Police Department provided information that compared and contrasted what guidelines are being requested by Moms Demand Action versus current State and city guidelines.
Lieutenant Dave Schroer said he went back 20-years in their police database to see if any children had gotten a hold of a firearm and harmed themselves or someone else.
“As of today, we don’t have any,” said Schroer. “As of 20-years ago, we have no documented cases where that has taken place in the city of Brentwood,”
Schroer stated the city is guided and covered under California law 25100 Penal Code,
CRIMINAL STORAGE OF FIREARM
Criminal storage of a firearm is covered under California Law (25100 PC):
- (a) first degree: child obtains firearm and causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person.
- (b) second degree: child obtains firearm and causes injury, other than great bodily injury, to the child or any other person.
- (c) third degree: a person negligently stores or leaves a firearm in a location where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm.
A PERSON CANNOT KEEP A FIREARM INSIDE A RESIDENCE AND NEGLIGENTLY STORE OR LEAVE THE FIREARM IN A LOCATION WHERE THEY KNOW, OR REASONABLY SHOULD KNOW, THAT A CHILD IS LIKELY TO GAIN ACCESS TO THAT FIREARM WITHOUT TAKING REASONABLE ACTION TO SECURE THE FIREARM.
Proposed Safe Storage Ordinance by Moms Demand Action:
ALL FIREARMS KEPT INSIDE A RESIDENCE SHALL BE SECURED IN A LOCKED CONTAINER OR DISABLED WITH A TRIGGER LOCK.
According to Schroer, under the proposed ordinance, it tackles exceptions where they are removed under state law:
- Child obtains the firearm as a result of illegal entry to premise
- Person has no reasonable expectation, based on objective facts and circumstances, that a child is likely to be present on the premise.
Schroer stated surrounding cities have adopted similar ordinance as proposed—such as San Jose, San Francisco, Berkley, Oakland, Orinda, Moraga and Dublin.
He called the proposed ordinance difficult to enforce after speaking with several other agencies.
“I did reach out to several of the agencies to see how this worked out for them enforcement wise in the interest of the public and none of the agencies have cited or made any arrests based on this ordinance,” said Schroer. “The comments that were made were its very difficult to enforce because obviously there is something called the 4th amendment. People have the right to unreasonable search and seizure within their home. So, we as police officers just go do compliance checks in homes, we have to have reasons to be there.”
He said in most cases, these are misdemeanors or administrative citations (civil penalty).
“None could really comment whether this had any effect on children harming themselves or someone else. They couldn’t really make a determination one way or another,” said Schroer.
Schroer noted the police department plans to partner with national organizations to obtain gun locks to have at the police department to hand out to citizens when they want it and noted they could do a better job on social media to educate the public on gun violence along with ramifications including gun storage.
Councilmember Jovita Mendoza said California has some of the strictest gun laws and called the police department on point in terms of improving education.
“I think Moms Demand Action do a great job across the country because there are some states that are not California,” said Mendoza.
Councilmember Karen Rarey said most of these cases will be hard to prosecute.
“Unreasonable search and seizure and I think California has some pretty strict laws when it comes to the storage of guns and guns in general,” said Rarey.
During council discussion, Mendoza responded to criticism she received over the item including from public comment.
“All five of us voted for this and the reason we voted for this is because residents asked for it. I’ve stated from the beginning, if you are a resident and all five of us agree, we will place it on the agenda. It should be a resident run agenda as much as possible,” stated Mendoza. “I wasn’t clear on the California Laws; I wasn’t clear on what Moms Demand Action wanted so what I asked for was a compare and contrast. I have never said I don’t think you should have your guns, I said I wanted to compare and contrast.”
She encouraged residents to go back to the previous meeting and listen to what the request was because all five of the councilmembers agreed to place it on the agenda.
“I am glad we compared and contrast. I think constant education is important and I am excited we will be doing more on social media because that is our responsibility as a city to continue to educate,” stated Mendoza while praising that gun locks will soon be made available.
Councilmember Susannah Meyer stated they make better educated decisions when they continue to look at both sides of an issue while considering all sides.
“I am not quite sure what problem we are trying to solve though. I think the presentation was perfect. It looked outside the city and looked back at Brentwood statistics. To me, I don’t think there is this raging problem that we are trying to solve what are our ordinances are. We know how Brentwood residents feel about this issue, its clear from the comments and letters we received. I am comfortable with what the presentation was. I don’t feel an unnecessary urge to move forward on this, but it was a very helpful presentation to understand where we are.”
She also praised the education Brentwood Police would be doing in the future.
Mayor Joel Bryant stated he understood the desire by Moms Demand Action in Brentwood noting no one in the city wants children harmed, but currently what they have in Brentwood and at the State has is sufficient at this time.
Brentwood City Council accepted the report and took no other action.