Palm Springs City Council to consider revised firearm ordinance

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs City Council will consider a revised ordinance on Wednesday placing restrictions on Palm Springs gun owners, but firearm advocates believe the measures unfairly punish lawful gun owners while doing little to keep residents safe.

Should the revised ordinance be adopted, gun owners would be required to:

  • report lost or stolen guns to the police within 48 hours of the gun's disappearance;
  • store guns in a locked container or with a trigger lock;
  • keep concealed firearms or ammunition out of unattended vehicles

Firing a gun without a permit, obtainable via an application sent to Police Chief Bryan Reyes, would also be prohibited. Violators could face misdemeanor charges and could face fines of $1,000 per day.

The ordinance was originally introduced in July by Councilman Geoff Kors, soon after the June shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded.

Council members were divided on some of the original ordinance's tenets, which included a ban on ``large-capacity'' magazines that can hold 10 or more rounds, and a requirement that firearm merchants track every transaction by gathering personal identifying details on the purchaser or recipient via an
``ammunition sales log.''

Council members were also concerned about the effectiveness and feasibility of the measure's enforcement.

``I don't agree with having ordinances that we can't enforce,'' Councilman Chris Mills said during a council meeting in early July. ``These are things that responsible people that have guns are going to do anyway. It's the irresponsible ones that you have an issue with and you have no way of making them do what your ordinance is saying.''

Councilman J.R. Roberts said he was concerned that the ordinance would, if not properly drafted, be ``just grandstanding or ceremonial.'' The council agreed to table the matter until a sufficient, revised proposal could be drafted.

``I think here at the local level, we can do things to make our city safer and ensure that law-abiding residents have their guns, but that they're kept in a safe and responsible manner,'' Kors said.

Firearm advocates railed against the ordinance, saying it would only restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while failing to make Palm Springs safer.

C.D. Michel, a Long Beach-based attorney representing the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, wrote in a recent letter that the ordinance ``would only serve to further victimize theft victims, and will actually frustrate criminal prosecutions of gun runners in Palm Springs and throughout California.''

Michel said the ordinance would hinder investigations involving stolen guns, as residents whose firearms were taken and used in a serious crime would be reluctant to speak with police for fear of punishment.

``Effectively, Kors' proposal places legitimate gun owners in jeopardy of prosecution for being a victim of crime,'' he states. Michel also said similar ordinances in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and Alameda failed to yield any arrests or convictions.

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