It often takes a Santa Cruz city councilmember two years to find their footing, but Richelle Noroyan, who was sworn in in December of 2014, is already proposing her first ordinance change, a piece of gun reform.
Shortly after she was elected, she says, someone approached Noroyan with the suggestion. “I liked the idea, but we were going through some controversial legislation. And then there were my own concerns, and the learning curve of being on the council,” Noryan says.
Her concerns basically boiled down to overzealous gun enthusiasts, like the one who threatened California Assemblymember Bruce Bozman’s office over the phone when she interned at the state capital in 1992. The caller was arrested shortly after with a loaded assault rifle as he left his driveway.
Noroyan’s new proposal would require gun owners to report the theft of a firearm within five days of it going missing. It would also require people to keep any loaded guns either on their person, locked away, or disabled with a trigger lock.
She hopes those two changes, which appear before the council on Tuesday, Nov. 24, will help prevent shootings and suicides.
According to a 2011 national poll, 94 percent of people support requiring people to report stolen or missing guns. Ten states require reporting missing guns, as do 11 communities across California, and there’s evidence that keeping guns lying around the house is a serious problem. According to the Secret Service and the Department of Education, 65 percent of school shooters obtained their weapons from their home or a relative, according to an investigation between 1974 and 2000.
Between 1999 and 2010, says Noroyan, 16,000 people suffered gunshot wounds every year, according to the Center for Disease Control. In total, 8,300 of those people died, 2,300 of them children.
It was October’s shooting in Oregon, Noroyan says, that made her reflect on her opportunity to recommend gun laws for Santa Cruz. Later that day when she heard President Barack Obama’s frustrated speech about lawmakers’ refusal to prevent gun deaths, she knew she had to do something.
“When he said ‘this has become routine,’ it made me sick to my stomach,” she says, “and he’s absolutely right.”
Alisun Thompson has been walking precincts with her two kids, a high school senior and a sophomore, to raise awareness about Measures O and P, which will support local public schools.
“It’s great when we can involve the youth. It’s a great impact,” she says. “Kids’ testimony about the things parcel tax funds really resonates with voters.”
Measure P is an extension of a current $105 annual parcel tax supporting Santa Cruz elementary schools, which is set to expire. Measure O is $72 annual tax to support Santa Cruz City School District’s three high schools: Santa Cruz High, Harbor High and Soquel High. The money goes toward arts, sports, Regional Occupation Programs, and supporting science, technology and engineering initiatives.
Endorsers include all California Sen. Bill Monning, Assemblymember Mark Stone, four county supervisors, Sheriff Jim Hart, and all seven Santa Cruz city councilmembers. No argument was filed against it, and there’s no formal opposition.
Voters must have their ballots in the mail by Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Visit votescount.com for more information.