Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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AB 688 Life-Saving Gun Safe Storage Bill

Assembly Public Safety Committee Passes AB 688- Life-Saving Gun Safe Storage Bill

Sacramento, CA- The Assembly Committee on Public Safety Committee today passed Assembly Bill 688 potentially life-saving legislation sponsored by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and authored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) requiring that all firearms left inside of a car must be securely locked and secured to the vehicle’s frame using a steel cable lock or chain that is permanently affixed to the vehicle.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is a powerful champion of safe firearm storage laws. “When guns are left unsecured in cars, they are at risk of falling into the wrong hands,” says DA Nancy O’Malley. “We cannot ignore the fact that car break-ins and thefts are an epidemic in our state. We must strengthen the requirements to make sure that gun owners store guns in a way that make it impossible for anyone –whether a thief or a curious child—to take the weapon out of the car.”

“With existing law, it would still be too easy for someone to smash into a car and grab a lock box with a gun in it,” says Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose). “Gun owners have a very important responsibility to make sure those guns do not get misused and harm others. I don’t think gun owners would want that and properly storing guns when left in vehicles unattended is a no-brainer.”

Research conducted by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office reveals that that between 2012 and 2017, law enforcement agencies across the state reported 83,695 firearms stolen and 1,520 lost. On average in California, there are over 229 firearms reported stolen and over four reported lost every day. Theft from cars contributes to this crisis. In the same time period, law enforcement agencies in Alameda County reported an annual average of 399 stolen or lost firearms. Strengthening the laws surrounding proper storage of firearms must be a high priority for our Legislature.

AB 688 addresses serious gaps in current law:

  • Current law only mandates the proper storage of a “handgun” in an unattended vehicle. This bill adds all firearms including rifles, shotguns and assault weapons.
  • Current law allows for storage of the handgun in a locked container kept out of view ignoring the fact that when a car is broken into, the whole container can be stolen.
  • Current law allows for a handgun to be locked in a trunk, ignoring the ease with which a trunk can be accessed. AB 688 requires the firearm to be secured to the vehicle’s frame using a steel cable lock or chain that is permanently affixed to the vehicle.

This bill makes common sense changes to the current law that would reduce the number of firearms stolen from vehicles that would in turn reduce the number of firearm related crimes. Gun owners have a moral and ethical responsibility to properly store their firearms to prevent theft and protect children. This bill would enhance the current law and help safeguard our communities.

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Contact: ADA Teresa Drenick // Teresa.Drenick@acgov.org // (510) 272-6280

Posted on Mar 26, 2019