The repercussions of one of California’s new gun laws are already being felt by police and sheriff’s departments in the state. Mercurynews.com reports that the Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith unveiled in-car gun safes for its deputies personal vehicles to comply with a law signed two weeks ago by Gov. Jerry Brown, which is meant to address incidents of firearms being stolen from police vehicles and used in crimes.
The law requires all law enforcement officers in the state, along with all concealed carry permit holders who leave handguns in their vehicles, to keep them “locked in a trunk or separate container, ideally one mounted to the vehicle.” Previously, federal law-enforcement officers, officers from other states, and retired law-enforcement officers authorized to carry were exempt from the so-called “safe storage” laws.
According to the story, to comply with the mandate, which takes effect in January, Smith bought 750 gun vaults of two different types, including keypad-operated safes for “take home” pubic vehicles and lock boxes with metal cables, to affix to deputies’ personal vehicles.
One would assume it’s already against the rules for federal, state, or local law-enforcement officers across the country to allow their firearms to be stolen, even if they are left unattended in vehicles. The story notes that the penalty for a violation is a fine of up to $1,000.
Moreover,, even though the letter of the law says a gun may be adequately secured in a vehicle’s locked trunk, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s officer opted for the 750 lockboxes in light of a recent incident when a San Jose police cadet’s car was broken into outside a restaurant and his police-issue firearm was stolen.
The 750 lock boxes retail for between $50 and $75 each and are being paid for by the nonprofit Sheriff’s Advisory Board, Mercury News reports. That means the boxes cost a total of at least $37,500 and as much as $56,250. Smith told reporters that 750 additional secure containers will be purchased in the near future by the San Jose police so that they will be in full compliance by January.