Several years ago the City of Palm Springs passed an ordinance that required any person in the city who lost or had a firearm stolen from them to report the loss to police within 48 hours. Current California state laws impose the same reporting requirement, except that state law provides a person 120 hours (5 days) to report a firearm lost or stolen once a person knows or should have known that it is missing. (Cal. Penal Code § 25250).
Under the legal doctrine of preemption, a local regulation will be struck down if it duplicates state law, conflicts with state law, or enters a field wholly occupied by state law (O’Connell v. City of Stockton (2007) 41 Cal.4th 1061, 1067; Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 895, 903-04.) “The consequences of preemption of a local measure is that the measure is unenforceable against anyone.” (City and County of San Francisco v. Regents of University of Cal. (2017) 11 Cal.App5th 1107, 1118).)
With the above laws being stated, the City of Palm Springs’ local ordinance duplicated in part and conflicted in part with state law. It imposes a harsher punishment than the state law does and penalizes conduct that would otherwise be allowed under state law because the ordinance shortens the time available to victims of gun theft to report the loss.
The NRA and CRPA sent several letters to the City explaining the legal problems with the ordinance and demanding its repeal. Earlier this week, the City of Palm Springs decided to repeal the reporting ordinance to avoid litigation.
The City of Saratoga also withdrew an ordinance that would have imposed the same type of reporting limitation on victims of firearm theft. The NRA and CRPA notified Saratoga City Council of the illegality of the ordinance under the preemption doctrine, and the City chose to eliminate that portion of the ordinance in response.
Continue to check your inbox and the California Stand and Fight web page for updates on issues impacting your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage in California.