Sunnyvale voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a strict gun control measure that has received the attention of supporter outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and critics from the National Rifle Association.
As of Jan. 1, the measure will require Sunnyvale gun owners to report firearms thefts to the police within 48 hours, lock up their guns at home and get rid of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Gun dealers would have to keep logs of ammunition sales.
Mayor Tony Spitaleri, a retired Palo Alto fire captain originally from the South Bronx, was inspired to spearhead the measure after he signed onto a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns while attending a mayors conference in Washington, D.C., in 2006. Bloomberg co-chairs that coalition, along with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. It was the Newtown, Conn. massacre that got him thinking about what he could do locally about cracking down on guns.
Bloomberg contributed $3,000 to the Sunnyvale gun-control campaign.
The "no" group has just $400 in its coffers. And none of that money came from the National Rifle Association, according to Dan Walsh, treasurer for the pro-gun group.
Despite its lack of financial backing, the NRA has threatened to sue if Sunnyvale's measure won, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment. An attorney for the group has suggested that it would pursue litigation all the way up to the Supreme Court. On its website, the NRA claims Measure C "would do nothing to reduce violent crime or firearm accidents in Sunnyvale." The NRA declined media requests for an interview.
"Sunnyvale taxpayers should consider whether they want to foot the legal bill to push the social agenda of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose gun control advocacy group is behind Measure C," NRA attorney Chuck Michel said in a statement on the group's website.
Part of the reason the "no" group doesn't like the measure, is that backers say Sunnyvale is already safe enough, and doesn't need extra laws. "There is no urgent problem which requires an emergency action such as this ballot measure," according to the argument against Measure C.
According to FBI statistics, Sunnyvale has far fewer violent crimes that other cities with about the same population of 140,000. Sunnyvale reported 150 violent crimes including three homicides in 2011. Compare that to comparable-sized cities of Concord, which had 430 violent crimes and seven homicides; Corona, which had 430 violent crimes and two homicides; and Elk Grove, which had 523 violent crimes and three homicides, all reported two years ago.
That argument doesn't hold water with the gun-control advocates. Newtown, Conn., had a low crime rate. So did other cities where gunmen have pulled out firearm and blasted away others in the seemingly safe suburbs.
"We're a safe city, but it needs to start somewhere," Spitaleri said in a previous interview. "It's just like the ban on plastic bags -- it started somewhere."NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.