Sacramento is making an effort to reduce the threat of gun violence by placing more regulations on gun sales in the city. Sacramento City Council’s Law and Legislative Committee voted on May 7 to require that new businesses looking to sell firearms acquire special use permits.
“We would require those looking to open a shop to get a special-use permit, so it’s another step in the process,” said Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirer. “It would allow the city to put certain conditions on gun shops and give us more say in where and what is being sold.”
Under the current city code, gun and ammo shops are classified as retail businesses and can open in commercial and industrial zones. The special permit would require new shops to get permission from the city’s Planning and Design Commission.
Schenirer said the restrictions will depend on where someone wants to open up a shop. For example, if it is close to another shop, the commission might deny another shop from opening to prevent overcrowding.
“The only way we can regulate guns in our community is through land use, so the city is taking any opportunity we have,” said Randi Knott, intergovernmental relations officer for the City of Sacramento.
Now that the ordinance has been approved by the city’s Law and Legislative Committee, it will be heard by the city’s Planning Commission by the end of June, Knott said. If it passes through the Planning Commission, city council will hear it in August or September.
“This allows us to make sure there isn’t an over-concentration of stores in an area,” Knott said.
The Sacramento City Council is also looking at a few other measures to regulate gun sales in Sacramento. They are trying to make it illegal to possess high-capacity magazines.
Knott said the City of Los Angeles is trying to pass a similar ordinance, Sacramento will work in that direction depending on its success.
Schenirer also said they are trying to increase education efforts by encouraging current gun owners to keep their firearms in a safe.
“One of the biggest problems we have are gun thefts,” said Sacramento Police Chief Samuel Somers. “Whenever we deal with a lot of the gun violence we have on the street and do a search on the gun, [we] often find it is stolen. I haven’t seen anybody come up with an idea where you have rebates for people buying safes for their homes — something where you are actively putting it out there for people to do a better job of securing their firearms.”
The owners of M&J Gun Trade, a gun shop in Sacramento, said they had no comment when asked about the new ordinance.
Knott said the City of Sacramento is also supporting several state legislature proposals that are currently being debated.
California State Senator Leland Yee is proposing legislation that will ban the use of 3D printers to create firearms.
“Terrorists can make these guns and do some horrible things to an individual and then walk away scot-free, and that is something that is really dangerous,” Yee said in an interview with CBS Sacramento.
Part of the danger, Yee said, is that guns manufactured from 3D printers cannot be traced.
Knott also addressed the fact that preventing further tragedies from gun violence requires mental health services as well.
“In addition to the legislation, it’s also an issue of needing additional mental health services to prevent horrible tragedies resulting from gun violence,” Knott said.
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