Redwood City – Today, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of an ordinance to regulate the sale of firearms in the unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance was sponsored by Supervisors Dave Pine and Don Horsley.
“This new ordinance provides for improved public safety by placing greater scrutiny over firearms sales in unincorporated San Mateo County,” Pine said. “This County ordinance provides a model for similar improvements to be made in all local communities.”
Under current law, firearm dealers are licensed by the State of California but with minimal requirements. The new ordinance will require firearm dealers to acquire a locally issued license, maintain liability insurance, implement basic in-store security measures and impose restrictions for operations in or near residential neighborhoods or near places of worship, schools, day care centers, or other places where children frequent.
“As the former sheriff, I have seen firsthand the damage guns can do when in the wrong hands. This new ordinance is a significant step in the County's progress to address gaps in current local legislation,” said Horsley, co-sponsor of the ordinance who served as San Mateo County Sheriff for 14 years beginning in 1993. “Firearm dealers serve as a prominent link between gun manufacturers and residents, and it is critical that we ensure that they are subject to management.”
The proposed ordinance dovetails with the annual adoption of a proclamation by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors declaring the first Friday in June (June 4, 2021) as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as “Wear Orange Day.”
Recognized annually, National Gun Violence Awareness Day was inspired by friends of Hadiya Pendleton, who was tragically shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 in 2013. Orange is the color that her friends wore in her honor, and since then orange has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement.
“Unscrupulous gun and ammunition dealers have no place in our communities. Among other things, this legislation will strengthen local oversight of dealers and improve the County’s efforts to prevent gun trafficking,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The proposed ordinance will also limit dealers to appropriate areas of the county where they are not easily accessible to unsupervised children and teens, allowing parents to decide whether and how to expose their children to guns. Giffords Law Center, the organization now led by former congresswoman and gun violence survivor, Gabby Giffords, applauds the Board for taking up this important issue.”
Additional information on the importance of regulating gun dealers can be found at the Giffords Law Center website.
In recent years, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has adopted a range of gun safety measures, including an ordinance to improve the requirements for safe storage of firearms in the home, and supported highly successful gun buy-back events.
In the United States, 100 people are killed by gun violence every day and on average there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides every year. Firearms are the second leading cause of death for American children and teens and access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by 300 percent.
Just last month, the Bay Area was reminded of the deadly potential of gun violence with the murder of nine Valley Transportation Authority workers in a tragic and terrible mass shooting.
“By proclaiming June 4th Gun Violence Awareness Day and wearing orange for the day, San Mateo County joins other communities around the country in raising our collective voice against gun violence,” Pine said. “But we must also take meaningful action; by enacting this strict firearm dealer ordinance, the County of San Mateo demonstrates its commitment to gun safety as well.”
Background information and the report to the Board of Supervisors can be found on the Board’s website.
The ordinance requires a second reading by the Board on and, if adopted, will take effect 30 days later.