Column: Safe gun storage protects our kids
by Mara W. Elliott
Published - 07/26/19 - 10:15 AM | 3379 views | 7 7 comments | 123 123 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott
Gun violence often begins at home.

Firearms are a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children, second only to motor vehicle injury deaths. Most of the 7,000 children killed and injured each year are shot are in their own homes. Most of these deaths happen when a child is playing with a gun, mistakenly thinking it was a toy, or was unloaded or locked.

Studies show that 46 percent of gun owners with children at home do not secure their firearms. Among children 9 and under, 73 percent know the location of their parents’ firearms, and 36 percent admit they’ve handled the weapons.

Protecting children from these horrific accidents is why I proposed the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance. It requires that firearms in a residence be stored in a locked container, or disabled by a trigger lock, unless they are carried on the body or are in the immediate control of an authorized user. Fifteen other California cities (including Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco) have adopted Safe Storage Laws because studies show they are highly effective at saving lives.

The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance is easy to follow and does not infringe on a gunowner’s rights to carry weapons or to use the weapon for self-defense. Firearms need not be locked if they are being carried by, or are within the immediate control of, a person who is legally authorized to use or possess the firearm.

Importantly, safe storage does not prevent quick access.

More than 1,700 devices are available to stop unauthorized users from accessing guns, and owners can choose one that best suits their needs. A biometric safe that uses fingerprint technology can be placed near a bed and opened within seconds -- as quickly as a nightstand drawer. Cable locks may be preferred by hunters who stow their rifles when it isn’t hunting season.

Like other common-sense safety measures, such as seat belt laws and child-proof caps on prescription drug containers, safe storage practices prevent tragedies from occurring.

California’s 1986 seat belt law illustrates how law-abiding citizens respond to a safety law. Before the law was enacted, only 20 percent of Californians wore seat belts, even though they were effective in saving lives. After the law was enacted, seatbelt use doubled. After 25 years, 96 percent of California motorists and passengers were wearing seatbelts, making all of us safer.

As a mother, and as your City Attorney, I want to make sure no one endures the heartbreak of an accidental shooting like the one that happened in my own community of Scripps Ranch a few years ago.

Lives were shattered when a 10-year-old boy found an unlocked gun in a friend’s garage, a place known as a hangout for the neighborhood kids. The boy accidentally shot himself in the chest and died.

Scenarios like this one are all too familiar, which may be one of the reasons that even the National Rifle Association recommends the safe storage of firearms.

Common-sense precautions like safe storage can avert these tragedies and protect families from ever experiencing a devastating firearm-related loss. The Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance will prevent life-altering accidental shootings by reminding gun owners that they are responsible for securely storing their guns for the protection of those around them.

For more information about available safe storage devices, please see the California State Attorney General’s website:

For additional information and tips on safe gun storage, visit: or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Richard Rider
August 11, 2019
Mara Elliott is supposed to support the legal concept of "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing BUT the truth."

She's a bright woman. She KNOWS she is lying about accidental child deaths from guns.

Such absurdly false statements are stunning for an officer of the court to publish as fact. Other commenters here have touched on some of her patent falsehoods.

For a more detailed and fact-based rebuttal of her nonsense, see this URL:

James Wickman
August 10, 2019
Dont you just love it when politicans use propaganda and statistics to "support" their positions. You are a liar and your "facts" are not true. As was once said "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics" Pathetic political hack and liar.
Dean Weingarten
July 27, 2019
There were only about 486 total fatal firearm accidents in 2017, according to the CDC. 95 of those where 17 years of age or less.

The fatal firearm accident rate has been reduced by 94% since 1932.
You are a liar
July 27, 2019
According to the CDC there were only 62 deaths by accidental firearm discharges for children under the age of 15 in 2017 nationwide. So you either don't know how to read statistics or you are bold face liar. My money is on the latter.
July 27, 2019
Look up Preemption: Localities are specifically prohibited from passing any law, rule, ordinance etc etc that concerns carrying firearms. Period.


could you please post the study you speak of:

"Most of the 7,000 children killed and injured each year are shot are in their own homes. Most of these deaths happen when a child is playing with a gun, mistakenly thinking it was a toy, or was unloaded or locked."

July 26, 2019
1. I completely agree with the need to safely store firearms, especially when children are present.

2. What are the "studies" that show that these laws are effective? Anyone can claim "studies" to support just about any position. Claims that such "studies" exist without a citation to check on looks more like disinformation than anything else.

3. How are you going to enforce this law? Have jack-booted storm troopers kicking down doors to invade homes and search them? Good luck with that fascist philosophy.

4. This "Ordinance" is just a feel-good piece of drivel by a politician who thinks promoting worthless and unenforceable laws are a substitute for doing their actual job. Does anyone believe the consequences of violating this "Ordinance" even BEGINS to compare with the consequences of an accident caused by an improperly secured gun?
Jim in Houston
July 27, 2019
These are the types of "studies" that include 21- year old gang-bangers in the "children category". These are also the types of "studies" that do not bother to discern the role of criminals or criminal behavior.
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