WEATHER »
<b>TOTAL GUN DEATHS:</b>  The above graph reveals how many people in Santa Barbara County died at the 
end of a gun from 2002-2011. The range’s peaks are 11 homicides in 2006 and 22 suicides in 2002.
source: Public Health Department of Santa Barbara County.

TOTAL GUN DEATHS: The above graph reveals how many people in Santa Barbara County died at the end of a gun from 2002-2011. The range’s peaks are 11 homicides in 2006 and 22 suicides in 2002. source: Public Health Department of Santa Barbara County.


Fighting Gun Crimes

Experts on How Safe We Are in S.B., and How to Be Safer


Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Comments
Share Article

All things considered, Santa Barbara County, with its mix of light urban areas and sprawling rural lands, remains a place where it’s unlikely crime will happen to you. “Generally, we’re a very safe county ​— ​not just in gun violence, but in crime overall,” said Sheriff Bill Brown, who said that’s also a nationwide trend. Locally, he attributes the relatively low crime to California’s three-strikes laws, advancements in community policing to get at the root of problems, and the increasing use of technology.

He is also a big fan of guns used responsibly, collecting firearms himself and even competing in shooting contests over the years, as well. “I believe strongly in the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms,” said Brown, who also believes that California has “sufficient gun-control” laws, including the bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the 10-day waiting period, and the mandatory firearms safety courses. “I don’t think we need any additional laws,” said Brown. “We need to enforce the laws we do have.”

Toni Wellen, who founded the Coalition Against Gun Violence 18 years ago to track gun issues and educate the public in Santa Barbara, believes that California’s gun laws are “the best in the nation.” She explained, “As a result, we have lower gun deaths and fewer suicides.” But unlike Brown, she also sees room for improvement, such as in background checks for people buying ammunition and a better system to monitor and regulate firearm dealers, 10 of whom operate in the City of Santa Barbara alone, she said. Only Big 5 and Far West run commercial stores, so the other eight are presumably selling online.

Wellen and Sheriff Brown do agree on a very central point, though: Gun owners must be responsible about storing their weapons. Said Brown, “Anyone who has firearms in their home, they really need to be secure in a gun safe or lock box.” Wellen said that’s been the central point of her outreach for the past decade. “How do you prevent gun violence?” she asked. “You keep firearms unloaded and locked, separate from the ammunition.”

Even then, Sheriff Brown readily admits that, if someone needs a gun, they’ll probably get one. “We’re fortunate that we do not have a lot of guns on the street and not a lot of gun violence in our community,” he explained. “But really, there are so many guns in circulation, if someone wants a gun, they’re gonna be able to find one.”

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

I know, I just finished commenting earlier but I had to add my two cents to this article.
Training! I didn't read too much about training the gun owner to safely use their firearm. Where is the number of "Gun Safety Training" ranges? Where is the demand that those who buy and keep firearms be trained in safety and usage of their lethal weapons?
Though I live in Virginia, the Capital of the NRA, the largest Gun advocate in the United States but also of the World, they provide an enclosed firearms firing range for gun owners and users of guns to practice. I have trained and shot at the NRA 's range for several years and they teach an extensive course in the safe handling, care and storage of firearms but what about Santa Barbara County?
I do adhere to California's safe storage laws of firearms over the more relaxed (in my opinion) laws and procedures in Virginia but I am a Native of California and as such find that our storage of firearms Superior to other (including the Federal Governments) states laws and procedures. Unloaded, Separated and Locked storage of all firearms. I am not in the least worried of getting to my Beretta before the Nasty bad guys get to me, I have training in weapon retrieval and retention also, plus combat and speed loading, and clearing jams. Still I am one of the lucky ones, I received professional training all my firearms life so that would include the entire spectrum of firearms interaction; I even wear a bullet resistance vest when I carry (smart move).

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 8:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow this is a smorgasboard for the flint and powder crowd.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 8:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ignorance is bliss (re. the article). Skewed facts in favor of a personal bias undermine and subvert any validity to either opinion which is really what is being presented here; opinions.

Dav3 (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's strip off the veneer, shall we? I don't see how an increase in felony arrests and steady violent crime rates over the same time period translate to "relatively low crime". Santa Barbara County relative to other counties in the area is on the higher end of homicides especially if you consider the per capita rates. If compared to the total number of homicides for each year, gun related only make up an average of 34% yet gun violence is the perceived "problem". I wouldn't quite call issuing CCW's only to friends and choice law enforcement associates "strongly" believing in the Second Amendment. Firearm types have virtually nothing to do with violent crimes involving firearms. Illegal "assault weapons" are still used in crimes regardless of their legality. As for Toni Wellen, the "founder" of the Coalition Against Gun Violence, you would think she would be more discrete than to make an ignorant statement such as to say, 10 firearms dealers operate in Santa Barbara County of which, "Only Big 5 and Far West run commercial stores, so the other eight are presumably selling online." I could name many other FFL dealers in Santa Barbara County none of whom are "selling online". So before you spirit walk all over the Constitution, be sure to present your OPINION editorial coherently.

Dav3 (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow. The speculation left unchallenged by the reporter is really disappointing.

"Presumably selling online" Huh? That's illegal. For a buyer to take delivery of a gun from an FFL in CA he has to appear in person to pick it up (and do the background check). Which is how it is in other states too. You can't just buy them on the internet and pop them in the mail. Gads.

Perpetuation of fear driven fantasies about how guns are legally procured is not responsible journalism.

Do some homework and check if your "sources" even know what they're talking about.

Jim_Berkley (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 5:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The bit about gun owners needing to lock their weapons is already a CA law. When you buy a gun you have to prove ownership of a proper lock or sign an affadavit that you have a safe. If a child or other non approved person accesses your gun because you didn't store it correctly, you as a gun owner have committed a crime.

Brown is giving people advice that is already the law. And Wellen agrees. Genius.

Do your homework Mr Reporter. Quit giving people the impression that there are holes in the system where they don't exist.

Jim_Berkley (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think many Californians don't realize gun laws are different state to state. One very educated woman who deserves all the love and respect in the world, held a meeting to organize an assault weapons ban in Cali. I almost regretted to inform her we already have as assault weapons ban in this state, but she took it as the good news it was.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 5:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who knows which gun thread is which but here's a fun story of a coupla guys with concealed gun permits and a bad case of road rage:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/pa...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 6:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Toni Wellen, who founded the Coalition Against Gun Violence 18 years ago to track gun issues and educate the public in Santa Barbara, believes that California’s gun laws are 'the best in the nation. She explained, 'As a result, we have lower gun deaths and fewer suicides.' ”

The graph on the following link would refute her argument. California's gun death rates are higher than most states, even though according to the Brady rating, (also included) it has (as Wellen points out) the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Many of those dreaded hick "Red States" seem to have lower gun death rates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_viol...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't mind guns, it's some of the people who want them.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 6:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cats have claws, which can be pretty nasty when the cats are in a bad mood.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 2:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken, what standard would you propose for determining which people can have a gun and which ones can't?

Jim_Berkley (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2013 at 8:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)