Bay Area Legislator Wants Police to Track Their Guns

Should the introduced statewide legislation pass, guns like the one used in the Kate Steinle killing would be better accounted for.

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A Bay Area legislator introduced Thursday a measure that would require police statewide to track and regularly check the inventory of firearms — regulation that could have prevented Kate Steinle’s death.

Sen. Jerry Hill — who represents much of the Peninsula — brought SB 1185 to the California Legislature, which would require law enforcement agencies to have a written procedure to document the whereabouts of its guns. The lack of accountability surfaced when a gun stolen from the vehicle of a Bureau of Land Management ranger was used in the fatal 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle at Pier 14.

Officers are required to inform their employer or local agency of a lost or stolen gun within five days, but there are no requirements for agencies to report lost, stolen or missing guns to the California Department of Justice, says Hill’s office. The periodic inventory of firearms is also not required, though the DOJ’s Automated Firearms System accounts for the destruction or disposal of law enforcement guns.

“These bills will bring greater accountability to police firearm security and transparency to the use of surveillance as a crime-fighting tool,” Hill says in a statement.

Another fatal shooting by 26th Street and South Van Ness Avenue on Aug. 15 occurred just days after a revolver belonging to San Francisco officer Marvin Cabuntala. The victim, Abel Esquivel, was 23 years old.

The gun of an off-duty San Francisco sheriff’s deputy was stolen in September, leading to their firing. Per 2016 state legislation, police must secure guns in locked boxes when left in the car like the rest of the public.

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