Gay Republicans to Speak Out Against WeHo’s Safe Gun Storage Ordinance

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Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

Log Cabin Gay Republicans are “alarmed” by a proposed Safe Gun Storage Ordinance and they are rounding up their troops to speak up against the ordinance which is being discussed at a regular city Council Meeting on Monday, April 19, 2021, starting at 6 p.m. The goal is to overwhelm the meeting with callers—meanwhile, flags in West Hollywood fly at half-staff as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless act of gun violence perpetuated on April 15, 2021, in Indianapolis, Indiana that left 8 people dead and only hours after three people were shot dead in Austin Texas this afternoon.

The Gay Republicans are against the proposed Safe Gun Storage Ordinance because they believe “it will do absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence.” According to a mass email sent to their supporters today, the proposed ordinance has already been judged unconstitutional by a Supreme Court ruling in “District of Columbia v. Heller” where the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.

However, West Hollywood City Staff reports that California state law currently requires firearm owners to keep guns safely secured and stored, and requires that trigger locks be sold with firearms unless the buyer provides proof that they own a gun safe. As it stands, state law does not define what “safe storage” means which has led to many gun owners engaging in improper safety and storage practices. Furthermore, California state law does not apply to all homes, only homes where children live or where “a child is likely to gain access to the firearm.”

The gay Republicans allege that the ordinance opens the City of West Hollywood to lawsuits and fines and that the ordinance is impractical and dangerous because it prevents reasonable access to home defense. “The analysis on which this proposal is based cites *national* gun crime statistics, but aims to regulate gun ownership in West Hollywood,” reads the mass email. “So the proposed solution is not properly calibrated. The proposal is being hidden in a stack of 30 resolutions of expected consensus the city council is blithely ready to pass without any legal review.”

Staff reports that according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, in 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, more than any other year in at least two decades. Suicides account for 6 out of 10 firearm related deaths. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide and accidental deaths by firearms. Last year, the United States saw the highest one-year increase in homicides, with the country’s largest cities, including the City of Los Angeles, suffering a 30 percent spike in shooting deaths. For non-fatal shootings, the numbers are much higher. There was a substantial increase in gunshot injuries. According to the Brady Institute, approximately 114,000 people are shot each year in the US, an alarming number of which (almost 8,000) are 17 years old or younger.

2020 saw a record-setting number of firearm purchases. According to federal data on gun background checks, in 2020, people purchased about 23 million guns, which signifies a 64 percent increase over 2019 sales. The compounded effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hampered anti-crime efforts, and the consequent shutdowns and stay-at-home orders led to a significant rise in unemployment and homicide rates. According to a Washington Post analysis of gun sales in 2020, gun purchases skyrocketed in March and April as the effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus led to food shortages, millions of lost jobs, and empty streets. Additionally, amid waves of civil unrest across the country as protestors demonstrated against police brutality, confidence in law enforcement 00dropped to a record low in 2020 according to a Gallup poll conducted from early June to mid-July, leading to a significant increase in firearms sales in the weeks after massive protests throughout the nation. The flood of gun sales recorded in 2020 included purchases by more than 8 million first-time buyers, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation with many of these first-time buyers unfamiliar with proper safety and storage practices.

Much like the COVID-19 crisis, the vast majority of these tragedies have disproportionately affected communities of color. Analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Black males between the ages of 15 and 34 accounted for 37 percent of gun homicides, even though they made up 2 percent of the U.S. population – a rate 20 times that of White males of the same age. Moreover, according to data obtained by the Gun Violence Archive, nearly 300 children were shot and killed in 2020, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. More than 5,100 kids and teens 17 and younger were killed or injured last year – an increase that is particularly alarming because it occurred in a year when most children weren’t attending class in person, which experts believe points to the severity of teen suicide and domestic violence.

The proposed Safe Gun Storage Ordinance would require all firearms in a residence be securely stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. The Ordinance defines a locked container as a secured container that is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, keylock, or similar locking device and a locking device (or trigger lock) as any device, when applied to the firearm, renders the firearm inoperable. The proposed recommendation to draft a Safe Gun Storage Ordinance may prevent the unintentional deaths of children and teen suicides, by as much as 85% depending on the type of storage and can also prevent guns from being easily stolen in the case of a home invasion. Department of Justice approved safe gun storage devices can be purchased for as little as $40 and trigger locks are often distributed for free at police stations.

The proposed Safe Gun Storage Ordinance was originally brought to the City Councilmembers for consideration by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America which has a strong presence in West Hollywood. Moms Demand Action is a non-partisan grassroots organization made up of both non-gun owners and gun owners with the goal of reducing gun violence and improving gun safety for everyone.

The City of West Hollywood joins numerous cities in California that have also adopted the Safe Gun Storage Ordinance. In September 2019, the City of Los Angeles approved the Safe Gun Storage Ordinance, and in October 2019, Culver City approved the Ordinance as well as called for firearm retailers to post about suicide prevention and local laws in their facilities.

West Hollywood City Council will hear this item for the first time on Monday, April 19 at 6:00pm. The gay republicans to make their objections heard in the public comments portion of the meeting. They are encouraging their followers to email mcrowder@weho.org no later than 4:00 p.m Monday to register their intention to speak on Item 2.X. and to dial-in 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

The Dial-in number is: 669-900-6833

The meeting I.D. is:  953 0323 9856, then #

The full agenda for the meeting and Zoom instructions to attend the meeting itself (note this is different from the call in for comment) can be found here.

The Log Cabin Republicans aim to show force in numbers on Monday’s call with the hopes of halting these initiatives on the local level.

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com
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