SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gun owners and law enforcement officers will be required to lock up their firearms if they leave them in an unattended vehicle under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday in response to high-profile thefts from police vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The measure was among four gun bills the Democratic governor signed, and it joins more than a half-dozen gun-control measures approved this year. Brown also vetoed two gun bills.
Beginning Jan. 1, SB869 will require that anyone — including police and people with concealed weapon permits — leaving a handgun in a vehicle lock it in the trunk or a container out of plain sight, or face a $1,000 fine. Police won’t face sanctions during urgent situations.
Handguns stolen from law enforcement officers’ cars last year were used in the San Francisco killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July and 27-year-old Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos in September.
Steinle was shot in the back as she walked with her father and a family friend along a popular San Francisco pier. Oakland police said Ramos was among artists working on a community mural when he was fatally shot after an apparent argument.
His family filed a claim in June against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, saying it was partly responsible for the shooting because it was committed with an agent’s stolen gun.
In January, three handguns and an FBI agent’s badge were stolen from a locked vehicle equipped with an alarm in Benicia, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Brown also announced Monday that he’d signed a bill allowing people with concealed weapons permits to carry a county-issued identification card instead of the standard state form, which some gun owners find clunky to keep on them.
He vetoed a measure that would have required police agencies and sheriffs’ departments to charge a fee for concealed gun permits to cover the full cost of issuing permits and enforcing them.
Gun-rights groups feared the measure would significantly raise the price of obtaining a concealed weapons permit and make them cost-prohibitive for many firearm owners.
“This bill was spurred by a local dispute in one county,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “I am unaware of a larger problem that merits a statewide change at this time.”
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, a Democrat, introduced the bill, saying Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones had issued far too many permits. Jones, a Republican, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Ami Bera in one of California’s closest congressional races.