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Youth Council in Council chambers
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Youth Council Aims to Prevent Gun Violence with Safe Firearm Storage Ordinance

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The Santa Barbara City Council will consider a Safe Firearm Storage Ordinance to set new requirements for storing firearms in residences and vehicles within the City of Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Youth Council, a city advisory group comprised of local youth ages 13 to 19, will present the draft ordinance during the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

The proposed ordinance aims to protect public health and safety by preventing unintended access to firearms. If passed, the Safe Firearm Storage Ordinance would require firearms to be stored in a locked container and disabled with a trigger lock. 

“The Youth Councilmembers have taken full initiative in drafting this proposed ordinance,” said Recreation Specialist Nicole Morgan, who serves as the liaison to the advisory group on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Department. “Over the past year, they listened to the concerns of their peers, took the initiative to make a change, sought the input of the public, and drafted a well-informed ordinance that, if passed, could save lives in our community.” 

The proposed ordinance was drafted in response to the growing concern about gun violence voiced by local teens during Youth Council’s 2023 Youth Speak Out, an annual event designed to connect local youth and City leaders. This was identified as one of the top issues facing local youth, as the recent increase in gun violence in the United States has disproportionately impacted children and teens.

In September 2023, the Youth Council voted to draft an ordinance preventing unintended access to firearms. Youth Council held a special meeting in November 2023 to review the first draft of the ordinance, with many members of the public attending to voice their support. Youth Council members presented the ordinance to the Parks and Recreation Commission in December, followed by the Ordinance Committee in February. Youth Council incorporated feedback from all meetings into the proposed draft to be presented to the City Council on March 5.