San Jose City Council passes gun control measure

San Jose city leaders passed a new gun measure at Tuesday’s City Council meeting requiring gun owners to lock up their firearms when they leave the house and even when they're at home.

The meeting was loaded with gun safety advocates who called the new law common sense. However, opponents said it is strict, goes too far and will do little to stop violent crime.

“My life will never be the same,” said Karen Pandula of Sunnyvale. “I miss her. I feel pain. I can't see her or give her hug.”

Pandula lost her 20-year-old daughter Kristina to gun violence in San Jose back in 2011. She said the aspiring nurse was shot and killed by her boyfriend's ex-roommate. Pandula is now making it her mission to advocate for gun safety. The Las Vegas shooting triggered her pain again.

“Everyone in the country is stunned and shocked by the mass shooting,” said Pandula. “50 plus people but within the United States close to 100 people die every day from gunshots.”

“The Las Vegas tragedy just adds to the same narrative as to why we want to put in some precautionary protections,” said San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez.

Peralez is behind the proposal. It would require people to store their firearms in a lock box at home or disable the gun with a trigger lock at all times unless the firearms are in their immediate presence. It’s a measure he and gun safety advocates said is long overdue.

“The difficulty with unsecured guns,” said Irena Olender of Safe Cities Commission. “It creates access for someone to reach for something that is the most lethal.”

According to Perelez, nearly 1,300 children die and 5,800 are injured in gun-related incidents every year. Thirty-eight percent of gun-related suicides are committed by children under the age of 17.

“I think it is misguided and is also incredibly vague,” said Anthony Napolitano of San Jose.

However, the proposal is drawing fire from gun rights advocates who said it infringes on constitutional rights, emboldens criminals and makes gun owners more vulnerable since they may not have easy access to their firearms when time is of the essence.
“This law punishes and criminalizes law-abiding gun owners, victims of crimes and will do nothing to make our city safer,” said Napolitano.

The measure passed in a 6 to 5 vote.