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The Hurt Locker: Buying a Gun Locker is Sometimes Harder Than Buying a Gun 

Wednesday, May 1 2013

Everything's bigger at Costco: Boxes of Cheerios resembling Mission Bay, flats of enough Irish Spring for all County Mayo, and mayo jars the size of R2-D2.

And don't forget the gun safes.

Photos of a gargantuan 48-capacity gun safe at the SoMa Costco for the low, low price of $2,999.99 recently appeared on the local blog SFCitizen. But is San Francisco's Costco really "selling" this amazing bargain implement for the gun collector with everything but room for his four dozen guns?

Well, yes and no.

Calls to Costco confirmed that the gun locker — item No. 753642 — is indeed on the sales floor (though we initially read off that number as 753462, which led to a lovely discussion about a pair of $220 pink gold earrings).

But while you can see the locker, touch the locker, price the locker, and, perhaps, travel to Narnia via the locker — you cannot buy the locker.

Our helpful source at the store noted that, out of deference to "gun control laws," this is an "Online Only" item. While inquiries have been made about this item in-store here in the city, the sales don't register as emanating from here — and when this safe is finished as a floor model, it'll be shipped back to the company. Also, this isn't that hot of an item.

Perhaps it should be, though. After all, San Francisco essentially mandates gun owners to also possess a gun locker. Per the city's "Safe Storage Law," handguns in one's residence must be kept in "locked containers" or secured with trigger locks. While the National Rifle Association has litigated against this 2007 ordinance, it remains on the books as Police Code section 4512.

In fact, per city code, you're now required to store your real guns in a gun safe — but forbidden to own a BB gun. Per Police Municipal Code section 602, San Franciscans can possess neither slingshots nor "toys projecting missiles by air or gas."

Finally, the definition of the "locked container" where one must keep his real gun but not his illegal fake gun is somewhat amorphous. Police Code section 4512 dictates that "No person shall keep a handgun within a residence owned or controlled by that person unless the handgun is stored in a locked container..." Under the law, a "locked container" is defined as "a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock or similar locking device."

Could that include a locked car secured in one's garage? City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey can't rule it out. "That's a question that has never come up," he says. "At some point, it's an enforcement question."

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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