DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Commissioners want people in DeKalb County to pay if they don't lock up their guns. They're considering an ordinance that would make the first offense of leaving a gun unlocked a $500 penalty.
The commissioner who proposed this ordinance, Ted Terry, hopes the new legislation helps keeps kids in the community safe.
"This is an evidence-based policy. By reducing easy access to guns, it will reduce children being killed. As well as guns going in to the illegal market," said Terry.
He said everyone he's talked to so far is supportive of the ordinance he proposed this week.
"If you're going to own a gun, there needs to be reasonable and safe regulations about storage. Most people who own guns agree with this, so we think it's the right thing. But it doesn't mean we won't get challenged," he said.
He said the legal department for the county is prepared for any challenges to the ordinance, but he thinks the data he's collected from the county will prove the need for it.
"This year 15,000 gun permits were issued by Dekalb County and that's up from last year. So we've seen a spike in violent crime and people feel unsafe, so, they go out and buy a gun," he added.
Terry said the community needs to be educated on the proper way to store guns. He said he's thought about proposing a similar ordinance for a while now, but the recent deaths of children in communities from gun violence pushed him to introduce it now.
"The goal here is to reduce the risk, reduce the risk of guns getting in to the hands of minors and potential school shooters," Terry said. "And reduce the risk that guns will be stolen and used on the black market, which is increasing crime in our communities."
The DeKalb Committee on Public Safety will have a hearing on the ordinance after the first of the year before it goes to the full commission for a vote.