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San Jose Gun Owners Required To Lock Up Firearms Before Leaving Home

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Starting in December, gun owners in San Jose will have to put their guns in a locked box when they leave the house.

San Jose's new gun storage law aims to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals, but critics say it targets the wrong people: law-abiding gun owners.

San Jose resident Christopher Beaty-Iverson said, "If you're single and you live by yourself and you're just a regular gun owner that shoots, that's kind of a stupid rule."

A deeply divided City Council narrowly passed the new law which requires gun owners to secure their firearms in a gun safe, lockbox or with a trigger lock whenever they're not home.

City Councilman Raul Peralez says it's a commonsense law which he believes will make the community safer.

"We know that these guns are highly sought after. They're stolen all the time. We don't want to see these guns end up in the wrong hands, out in the street, committing a crime," Peralez said.

Peralez says according to the city's crime stats, 265 firearms were stolen in burglaries in San Jose from 2014 to the present.

The National Rifle Association wrote the city to oppose the new law saying much of what it hoped to accomplish was already covered under existing state gun storage laws.

However, California law does not require a gun owner to store a gun in a lockbox unless a minor is present in the home.

Reaction to the new law is mixed.

San Jose resident Dave Pennington says, "I think it's a good idea to send the message that we need some regulation."

San Jose resident Jack Kastner said, "A gun is an easy tool to use to kill people. So, I feel it should be in a harder place to get."

But San Jose resident Christopher Beaty-Iverson said, "If no one's going to touch the gun, then who cares?"

Councilman Peralez says the law also addresses concerns that the new law might discourage people from reporting the theft of a gun that wasn't locked up.

"Let's say you haven't bought a gun safe yet, you do get burglarized and someone steals your gun. We put in place a 24-hour grace period that says call the police, let us know and we will not find you guilty," Peralez said.

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