The bill, SB464, would require gun store owners to install barriers in front of entrances to prevent thieves from breaking into the buildings by smashing into them with vehicles. Wochit
A California bill awaiting the governor’s signature that would require gun stores to beef up security to prevent firearms thefts could cost local gun stores thousands of dollars to comply.
The bill, SB 464, would require gun store owners to install barriers in front of entrances to prevent thieves from breaking into the buildings by smashing into them with vehicles.
The bill would also require guns to be locked up when the store is closed.
“All this is doing is giving some anti-gun people a warm and fuzzy feeling,” said John Bastiani, who owns Bastiani Arms in Redding.
Even if an owner installs all the necessary anti-theft measures required under the proposed law, thieves intent on stealing guns could still get into a store, he said.
“It’s going to waste a lot of people’s money and it’s not going to make a building totally secure,” Bastiani said.
He looked into installing the barriers a few years ago and received estimates of at least $1,500, he said.
The bill’s author, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has said that in 2016 there were numerous gun store robberies up and down the state, including Ventura, Rocklin, Grass Valley and El Cerrito.
In each of the 10 robberies cited, criminals rammed vehicles into stores, stole guns and made a getaway.
Firearms dealers are already required to take certain steps, such as having bars on store windows and installing security cameras, but they are too lax, said Allison Anderman, managing attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco.
“Existing California law does not go far enough to prevent thefts from gun dealers in the state,” Anderman said.
Under the proposed law, concrete and steel posts would have to be installed in front of a store’s entrance and in front of any windows that run from floor to ceiling.
The posts would have to be capable of stopping a 5,000-pound vehicle traveling 30 mph.
When a store is closed, guns would also need to be stored in a vault or safe or a windowless room with no access to outside the building.
Any perimeter doors that run floor to ceiling would also need to have locking roll-down steel doors that could be closed when the gun shop is closed, the legislation says.
Gun store owners could also run a cable or hardened steel rod through the trigger guards of guns kept in cases made with steel frames and smash-proof polycarbonate panels at least a quarter-inch thick.
The glass would also need to be covered with a protective laminate film “specifically designed to delay entry and unauthorized access,” according to a Senate Rules Committee analysis of the bill.
Craig DeLuz, spokesman for the Firearms Policy Coalition, said the regulations could be so expensive they drive some gun shops out of business.
“SB 464 represents a solution looking for a problem,” DeLuz said in a statement. “It adds to the ever-increasing number of unnecessary laws and regulations that restrict how and where firearms retailers are able to engage in business, facilitating the exercise of a constitutionally enumerated right.”
Bastiani said he didn’t think complying with the law will drive him out of business, but would still be costly. He said he already takes steps to prevent gun thefts because he doesn’t want stolen guns in the hands of criminals.
Patrick Jones, who manages Jones Fort gun shop in Redding, said he began making plans to bring his shop into compliance under the proposal shortly after the bill was introduced.
Jones Fort does not keep its guns out at night where they are visible because they become too attractive to criminals, he said.
“If guns, particularly handguns, are visible at night, then you are probably going to have a break-in, and they try to get in any way they can. This is just another law where they try to micromanage what we do,” Jones said.
“It doesn’t stop the problem. It just costs more money,” he said.
Anderman sees it differently.
“I would disagree that this is micromanaging. It is legislation in the interest of public safety,” she said.