Sunnyvale voters overwhelmingly passed one of the nation’s toughest gun laws Tuesday, prompting the National Rifle Association to threaten a federal lawsuit to block it.
Measure C passed with 66 percent of the vote in relatively light turnout – about 20 percent.
The measure requires gun owners to report firearm theft to the police within 48 hours, lock up their guns at home and dispose of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. In addition, gun dealers would have to keep logs of ammunition sales.
Mayor Tony Spitaleri, who put forth the measure as a response to last year’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., said he was thrilled with the large margin of victory.
“You’ll have to scrape me off the ceiling,” he said with a laugh Tuesday night. “The voters are saying they’ve had enough of gun violence, and they’re sending a message to other cities: We need to get something done, and this is the start of it.”
The NRA was quick to respond. An attorney for the gun-rights group said he would file suit in federal court as soon as the election results are certified.
“Law-abiding gun owners in Sunnyvale have a right to protect themselves, and we’re going to defend that right,” said Chuck Michel, West Coast counsel for the NRA, on Wednesday.
Much of Measure C is a violation of the Second Amendment and overlaps or contradicts existing state law, he said. But the primary legal issue is the government’s right to ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, he said.
Certain guns used for lawful purposes, such as hunting or target practice, use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, he said.
“What Sunnyvale is doing is confiscation by another name,” he said. “This goes further than other gun law in the country right now, and we’re looking forward to challenging it.”
Sunnyvale residents should not be cowed by the NRA’s threats, said Shikha Hamilton, California campaign manager for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“The NRA can do what they want, but the people can do what they want, as well,” she said. “In Sunnyvale, they made it clear that when there’s an opportunity for sensible gun-reform measures, they’ll choose that over politics.”
Measure C drew the attention of outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch gun-control advocate, who donated $3,000 to the Yes on C campaign. In all, the campaign raised about $6,000.
The No on C campaign spent only a few hundred dollars. Instead of giving money, the NRA encouraged its members in Sunnyvale to get out the vote, Michel said.