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News from:
City Attorney Barbara J. Parker
City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan

December 3, 2015

Oakland City Council will consider measures to decrease the number of injuries and deaths from gun violence

Press conference 10 a.m. Friday December 4 at Oakland City Hall

OAKLAND, CA – Today City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and City Attorney Barbara J. Parker proposed two new measures to prevent loss of lives and injuries caused by firearms stolen from unattended vehicles in Oakland.

The first ordinance makes it a crime to leave firearms, magazines or ammunition unsecured in unattended vehicles on city streets, and the second would require law enforcement officers who leave city-issued firearms in personal vehicles to secure the weapons in locked containers or a locked glove compartment or vehicle trunk.

Oakland officials will hold a press conference about a number of proposed ordinances designed to reduce gun violence at 10 a.m. Friday December 4 in front of Oakland City Hall.

"We must make it much harder for guns to get into the hands of those who use them to cause harm,” Councilmember Kaplan said. “Leaving guns unsecured in unattended vehicles creates a serious danger and risk to the public and should not be allowed.  Together with the $1 million plan for police targeting of illegal guns which we passed last month, we are making it clear that it is unacceptable to put our communities at risk of gun violence.”

“Thousands of Americans are killed by guns every year in our country, including dozens every year in Oakland, almost all young Black and Brown men,” City Attorney Parker said. “Unfortunately the U.S. Congress is suffering from some kind of political psychosis when it comes to guns, refusing to pass common sense reforms such as universal background checks and licensing for all gun purchases. In this legal context, we in Oakland have a moral imperative to do everything humanly possible to address this crisis with our own legislation.”

Guns stolen from parked cars have been linked to a number of high profile murders in the Bay Area this year, including the tragic death of Oakland artist Antonio Ramos, who was shot and killed in September while working on an antiviolence mural on West Street. Ramos apparently was killed with a gun that was stolen from the rental car of a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer in San Francisco two weeks before Ramos’ murder.

According to the Oakland Police Department, approximately 300 firearms were stolen during auto burglaries in Oakland between August 2004 and November 2015. About 91% of those were handguns, and about 9% were “long guns” or rifles.

Additionally, the number of reported auto burglaries has increased dramatically in recent years, according to the police department’s end of year crime reports. OPD reports show:

  • 3,375 auto burglaries reported in 2010
  • 3,673 auto burglaries reported in 2011
  • 6,654 auto burglaries reported in 2012
  • 6,948 auto burglaries reported in 2013
  • 7,283 auto burglaries reported in 2014

The first ordinance submitted by Kaplan and Parker requires all persons who leave guns or ammunition in a parked car to secure the weapons in locked boxes or a locked trunk or glove compartment. A violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Violators also would face civil penalties including lawsuits by the City Attorney, fines or revocation of concealed carry permits.

The second ordinance will require Oakland law enforcement officers to secure city-issued firearms in their private vehicles inside Oakland city limits and elsewhere. Violations are subject to OPD rules and regulations governing conduct of officers.

The City Council’s Public Safety Committee will hear all of the ordinances on December 15.

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