Storing your firearms where kids can’t reach them isn’t just a good idea – it’s the law, and failure to do so should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Recent news reports are that a 3-year-old child in Fallbrook obtained a loaded firearm and used it to tragically take the life of a 1-year old sibling on July 17.
There is no excuse for such a tragedy, and it is never ok to allow such a young child to access a loaded firearm. There are still so many questions to answer. Where were the parents? Why was the firearm unsecure – and within reach of a 3-year-old?
What is without question, this is a violation of California Penal Code 25100 which makes it illegal to store a firearm where a child has access to it – and SDCGO is supportive of this law. No matter where you reside in California, you cannot store a firearm in such a way that a child can use it. Owning a firearm is every Californian’s right and a great responsibility – and making sure that children are safe from your firearm is the responsibility of each gun owner.
In addition, the County of San Diego passed a storage law that applies to the unincorporated areas of the county, including Fallbrook. The county’s regulation was sold to voters as a “solution” to tragedies like Fallbrook’s recent tragedy, requiring firearms to be secured by lock or safe at all times unless the gun owner is actually touching the firearm. SDCGO opposes this additional storage law because it potentially hinders people from using their firearm in self-defense, it is far too intrusive, it doesn’t do anything additionally to help kids because we already have PC 25100, and it doesn’t work (as evident by this horrible tragedy).
What would work?
As a group, gun owners in the United States have an excellent record of safety and are law-abiding. Carry permit holders, for example, commit fewer crimes than the general population and fewer crimes than police. It is rare that an accidental life is taken, but it is so sad and tragic when it happens, it is important to strive to do better.
Additional education on best practices for gun owners – and youth – and that education should be presented by respected Second Amendment organizations so gun owners will listen. Yet another law, AB2571 – signed by Gavin Newsom – prevents respected groups from advertising classes of any sort that would educate children on what to do if they ever found a firearm.
In the same way children are taught to stop, drop, and roll in case of fire, responsible gun owners teach kids to stop, don’t touch, leave the area, and tell an adult if they find a firearm. We will never know if a class would have helped a 3-year-old, but we do know education on stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult has helped kids when they are able to hear the message.
San Diego County Gun Owners is calling for an investigation and prosecution of the responsible parties to the fullest extent of the law. Enforcing this existing state law that requires firearms to be stored in such a way that children cannot access is important to the law’s effectiveness, and every single gun owner should be educating their children regardless.
More so, AB2571 should be repealed so that we can more effectively teach kids what they need to know to stay safe. Instead, anti-gun owner laws by extremists in office aren’t helping our children – in fact, they are hurting the very ones we mean to protect.