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Senate Panel OKs Trigger-Lock Bill

Weapons: Public Safety Committee approves a ban on gun safety devices not approved by the attorney general.

April 17, 2002|CARL INGRAM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — The Senate Public Safety Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale of any firearm safety device not approved by Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer.

The bill (SB 1670) by Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) is intended to rid gun store shelves of an array of plastic trigger locks and other devices that fail to comply with recently adopted safety standards set by the state Department of Justice.

Since Jan. 1, guns sold or transferred by a dealer must be fitted with a safety mechanism approved by the department. So far, 81 have been approved, many supplied as standard equipment by the manufacturers.

But Scott, a leading gun-control advocate whose adult son was killed in an accidental shooting, said the market is full of trigger locks that do not work but that are sold to unsuspecting customers anyway.

"Unfortunately, trigger locks are sold off the shelf that are little more than worthless," Scott testified. Some break easily, he said, and others fail to prevent an accidental firing when the gun is dropped.

The bill cleared the Public Safety Committee on a bipartisan 6-0 vote and was sent to the Appropriations Committee for another hearing. It is supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Million Mom March, Women Against Gun Violence and other gun-control organizations.

The only witness to testify against the bill was a Sacramento-area gun store employee named Ken Greenwood. He said some safety devices that are not state-approved are still "functional to provide safety in someone's home."

"To outlaw existing trigger locks that are out there on the market doesn't make a lot of sense," Greenwood said.

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