With a Supreme Court challenge to mandatory gun lock laws rejected, cities and states are moving toward implementing similar requirements to lock or disable firearms not in use.
Proposed this week is a bill in the Delaware House of Representatives and an ordinance in front of the Albany Common Council in New York that would require gun owners to secure their firearms under penalty of law.
“Really, who I hope to address with this are those people who are now going out to go buy guns who are not part of the NRA, who have not gotten the training, but buy guns and forget that this is a really dangerous instrument and they really have to do everything they can to protect it and not just leave it on their table or leave it in their glove compartment,” said Delaware state Rep. Michael Barbieri, D-Newark, of his bill introduced Tuesday to the opposition of the National Rifle Association.
Barbieri’s measure, HB 168, introduced with a half dozen co-sponsors, would change the definition of what unsafe storage of a firearm is under Delaware law. A firearm not stored in a locked container or with a trigger lock, if allowed to fall into the hands of an unauthorized person, would result in a crime punishable by a class B misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to 6 months imprisonment and up to $1,150 in fines. The bill ups the punishment if an unsecured firearm is used in a crime.
The Delaware proposal came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear an appeal in a case challenging San Francisco’s controversial 2007 mandatory gun lock law. The case had been winding its way through litigation for six years and, although federal judges at all levels upheld the city and county’s ordinance, not all of them agreed with its constitutionality.
“There is consequently no question that San Francisco’s law burdens the core of the Second Amendment right,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in a dissent joined by Justice Scalia to the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case Monday.