SAN DIEGO — The La Mesa City Council voted three to two to reject a new gun storage safety ordinance that would fill the gaps in state laws already on the books, but were in favor of a new gun safety public information campaign. 

“Existing state law is penal code 25100, and that discusses exactly what we’re talking about here in this ordinance: it discusses who a prohibited person is, the firearm should not get into the hands of children,” said La Mesa’s police chief Ray Sweeney, who was tasked with presenting the new ordinance.

Vice Mayor Jack Shu acknowledged it mirrors state law, but pointed out room for improvement.

“I think the resolution sites numbers like 80 to 90% of shootings occur with stolen guns, so I just want to clarify that the penal code does have a gap there and it really addresses children. It doesn’t cover all guns in homes,” Shu said.

Councilmember Laura Lothian, who voted against it, cited very low gun violence stats in the city.

“I live in La Mesa, I work in La Mesa, and I haven’t heard of a gun problem, a gun-stealing problem, a gun murder problem, a gun suicide problem or an accidental gun shooting problem,” Lothian said.

Chief Sweeney commented on the low numbers, saying the city has only had one homicide in three years as they weren’t able to account for where that firearm came from.

“There was one suicide in each calendar year that we talked about and that was all with the owner’s firearm,” he said. 

In the end, the council did vote unanimously in favor of a new gun safety public information campaign. One that will include social media, in-person outreach, working with gun stores and school engagement.

“Talking to kids and talking to their parents and also talking to the schools about how they can best work with parents to make sure that those firearms are safely secured in the house,” Sweeney said.  

No timetable was given for when the campaign might be launched.