Sunnyvale voters to decide on gun safety Measure C

Voters in Sunnyvale are deciding on a gun safety ballot measure that supporters say would reduce the threat of mass shootings and other gun violence.
November 5, 2013 12:34:26 PM PST
Voters in Sunnyvale will decide Tuesday on a gun safety ballot measure that supporters say would reduce the threat mass shootings and other gun violence and critics claim would be costly, ineffective and trigger lawsuits.

Measure C, if passed, would enact four new city ordinances pertaining to guns and bullets, such as limiting multiple-round gun magazines to law enforcement and people with special state licenses and regulating the sale of ammunition within the city limits.

The measure would require residents to report the theft or loss of a gun to police within 48 hours, lock unused guns in a container or disable them with a trigger lock, ban most ammunition magazines of 10 or more rounds and track the sales of ammunition within the city.

Sunnyvale Mayor Anthony Spitaleri, who spearheaded the campaign to put the measure on the ballot, said he hopes its passage would eventually lead to changes in federal and state gun safety laws.

Having people lock their guns would prevent accidental shootings at home and regulating the sale of ammunition -- requiring civilians to show identification -- would block felons, who cannot purchase firearms, from buying bullets which they are allowed to do under current state law, Spitaleri said.

"We can't wait for Congress anymore, or for our state legislatures for these issues," Spitaleri said. "If every city starts passing local measures, it will be a groundswell."

Spitaleri said that he also wants to thwart school mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Conn. from happening in Sunnyvale.

A gunman with mental problems used an assault rifle with multiple-round magazines to kill 20 children and six adults at the school last December.

"Newtown made me angry," Spitaleri said. "When little babies got killed, that made me angry."

Steven Sarette, a leader of the group Sunnyvale Citizens for a Better Community, which is campaigning to defeat Measure C, declined to be interviewed.

But Sarette and other opponents to the measure claim in their arguments against it that its four proposed ordinances would not have prevented what happened at Sandy Hook or other multiple death shootings.

"To stop those requires education and outreach, family support programs, and improved reporting of troubled people -- notably absent here," Sarette and Sunnyvale residents Daniel Walsh and Brad Seifers wrote in their ballot argument.

The city would face "unknown costs to administer these ordinances, costs the city hasn't even attempted to estimate" and it would lead to civil suits filed against the city "which can approach "$1,000,000 to fight," they stated.

"Sunnyvale has one of the lowest violent crime rates for a city of its size," the group wrote. "There is no urgent problem which requires an emergency action such as this ballot measure."

"This is a futile measure," they wrote. "State gun control laws preempt city-level laws. The ordinances proposed here duplicate current state laws and legislative actions, making this a wasted effort and a major distraction from more immediate issues."


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