News

Local congressman again pushes bill inspired by Kate Steinle's death

DeSaulnier targeting gun storage standards for law enforcement

U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) has reintroduced proposed legislation aimed at stopping law enforcement firearms from getting into the wrong hands, inspired in part by the shooting death of Pleasanton native Kate Steinle four years ago.

Dubbed the "Federal Law Enforcement and Public Protection Act," House Resolution 3420 would mandate all federal agencies to implement rules to help prevent law enforcement officers' service weapons from being lost or stolen.

"The intention of federal law enforcement agencies is to keep the public safe. When their own weapons are being used against them and in other acts of violence, they are not fulfilling that job," DeSaulnier said in a statement. "To improve public safety, we need to improve the standards for officer gun safety and storage."

The East Bay congressman, whose district includes the Tri-Valley communities of Danville and Alamo, presented the same bill for consideration in both previous terms in the wake of Steinle's death and other similar cases in which a stolen police gun fired the fatal bullet, but his legislation failed to gain traction in Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

DeSaulnier is trying his hand again, this time with his Democratic Party holding the House majority.

HR 3420 would require the leaders of each of the nearly 80 civilian and military federal law enforcement agencies to create minimum standards directing their officers to store and safely lock their firearms when not kept in their personal possession.

The legislation would put the onus on the officer to store their service weapon by using smart guns and smart locks, trigger locks, safes, gunlock boxes or other means approved by the agency, which would decide the discipline for violations.

The guns could not be kept in personal or patrol vehicles except for temporary storage when in court, when other options aren't available, or if authorized by the agency. If an officer's gun is stolen or lost, the incident would need to be reported to the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and relevant state and local agencies.

HR 3420, which DeSaulnier introduced on June 21, has been referred to the Judiciary and Armed Services committees.

His same legislative proposal never advanced out of committee in the previous two terms when Republicans held the House majority.

DeSaulnier said that with recent reports of local and federal law enforcement officers having their service weapons stolen or misplacing their guns, the safety concerns prompting HR 3420 remain just as relevant as they did after Steinle's death on Pier 14 in San Francisco on July 1, 2015.

An Amador Valley High alumna living in San Francisco at the time, 32-year-old Steinle was walking with her father on the pier when she was shot and killed by a bullet fired from a gun that had been stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an oft-deported undocumented Mexican immigrant with a history of criminal convictions, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter by a San Francisco jury on Nov. 30, 2017 but found guilty of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun related to Steinle's shooting death.

Garcia Zarate's defense counsel argued at trial that the BLM ranger's gun went off accidentally, firing the bullet that ricocheted off the ground before fatally striking Steinle. Prosecutors did not present any evidence in the case to indicate that Garcia Zarate stole the gun.

BLM Ranger John Woychowski testified that he left the gun -- his secondary duty weapon -- in a holster inside a backpack with his badge and law enforcement credentials stashed under the front seat of his SUV parked on The Embarcadero near Pier 5 while he went to dinner with his family four days before Steinle's death.

He said on the witness stand that he thought it was a safe location to leave his firearm in the SUV, but the vehicle's windows were smashed and the backpack stolen that night. The gun was reported missing to San Francisco police and to BLM officials immediately and Woychowski said the incident was investigated but he was not disciplined for it.

Steinle's parents, Jim Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan, still have a federal lawsuit pending against the BLM claiming the ranger violated a duty to secure the loaded handgun properly.

Steinle's slaying -- and the defendant's subsequent acquittal -- captured national headlines and spurred new debate on immigration enforcement and sanctuary city policies.

The House in 2017 passed "Kate's Law," a bill inspired by the Steinle case that proposed to increase punishments for criminal offenders who re-enter the country illegally after deportation, but the legislation never advanced out of the Senate. U.S. Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced his own, broader version of "Kate's Law" this January.

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Comments

23 people like this
Posted by As Instructed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Wonderful, we need Iowan representatives to go after perps that hurt our residents, while our “local” reps go around running for president or pushing this kind of Law Enforcement shaming to steer the conversation away from the actually perps.


10 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 17, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Did you bother to read the story or even the title of the story? What part of “local congressman” don’t you understand? Also notice that the previous attempt to introduce this measure which would have prevented Steinle’s death was blocked by a “Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.”

Thanks Republicans!


33 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 17, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Washington Examiner July 06, 2016:

Senate democrats on Wednesday blocked Legislation aimed at stopping violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

The democrats have said the bill is anti-immigrant. Democrats shut down the bill in a procedural vote that failed to get 60 votes, final vote was republicans 55, democrats 42.

The bill is named after Kate Steinle and was introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R. Texas.


35 people like this
Posted by pope john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2019 at 8:12 pm

WOMBAT
It was the democrats that defeated "Kate's Law".
Eric Swalwell registered his no vote against "Kate's Law".


1 person likes this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

@Austin & Pope John

Try doing more reading (and thinking) and less deflection. From the present story:

“The East Bay congressman, whose district includes the Tri-Valley communities of Danville and Alamo, presented the same bill for consideration in both previous terms in the wake of Steinle's death and other similar cases in which a stolen police gun fired the fatal bullet, but his legislation failed to gain traction in Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.”


26 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 17, 2019 at 8:56 pm

In the upper right corner is a search box.
Search for "Swalwell's response to his NO vote on Kate's Law".

I shared this email response from Swalwell with Tri Valley media outlets. Those outlets followed up with articles reflecting Swalwell's email. Eric Swalwell received a lot of flack from this email response to me due to the media response from the tri valley.


16 people like this
Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:38 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"Also notice that the previous attempt to introduce this measure which would have prevented Steinle’s death was blocked by a “Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.”


No, it would not. It's already illegal to steal firearms, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was the one responsible for Steinle's death, and nobody "forced" him to pick up a gun (stolen or not) and shoot at anyone.

Enough of the irritating left wing "everyone is a victim" and "society is at fault" reasoning from DeSaulnier and other members of his party. They predictably blame everyone/everything associated with firearms for things going wrong - except the perpetrator(s) responsible for violating existing laws. Their "common sense solutions" to this problem are both ignored by criminals and lack common sense - gun confiscation from the law abiding, banning guns with pistol grips, suing the gun manufacturers for the actions of criminals, and having the CDC study "gun violence" as a "public health problem".


24 people like this
Posted by Willy
a resident of Old Towne
on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:59 am

Willy is a registered user.

I would suggest a strong vote for Trump and give him the supporting votes in the House and Senate and this liberal bull-hit will come to a quick end. Go Trump!


20 people like this
Posted by steve milina
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 18, 2019 at 11:28 am

your two state representatives think it's ok to have three innocent US citizens killed by illegal immigrants so that an un-named illegal immigrant would not be fearful of reporting a crime that they witnessed. Kate Steinle, Bambi Larson and officer Ronald Singh are now dead thanks partly to the uninformed RBK and Glazer if these two idiots took the time to actually talk to law enforcement they would know that when someone comes forward with information that no one asks for their citizenship papers. Zarate was deported several times so what good does that really accomplish? An illegal should get one free ride back to country of origin after that it's jail time.


24 people like this
Posted by erryja
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jul 18, 2019 at 3:04 pm

How can a responsible local politician like Slick Swalwell not take a leadership role and support "Kate's Law"?

Can you imagine how it would feel to be Kate's family and be sent the message by our local laws andguiding politicians that Kate's death was in vain!

Come on Swalwell, get out of our local politics and go find a real job where your actions predicts your future. Quit hidding behind the curtain like our other lost political leaders!


5 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm

MichaelB wrote “No, it would not. It's already illegal to steal firearms, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was the one responsible for Steinle's death, and nobody "forced" him to pick up a gun (stolen or not) and shoot at anyone.“

Are you dense? The fact that it’s illegal to steal firearms is not the point of this measure. It’s like you’ve turned off your brain and gone into “auto-parroting” mode, parroting NRA talking points which have no connection with the topic.

The legislation that was introduced has to do with “MANDATING ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES TO IMPLEMENT RULES TO HELP PREVENT LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS' SERVICE WEAPONS FROM BEING LOST OR STOLEN”. (I capitalized this to make sure the message gets through your thick skull so you don’t go into auto-parrot mode again.) Is there anything unreasonable about requiring federal officers to more properly secure their firearms than throwing them into a backpack under the front car seat (an obvious place for a burglar to look)? No? Then why are Republicans in Congress against it?

Finally, no, Zarate not “the one” responsible for Steinle’s death. That’s just you turning off your brain and going into “parroting-mode” again. If you had bothered to read and comprehend any of the stories about the incident including this one, it should have sunk into your head that Zarate was one of three people who played critical roles in Steinle’s death. The federal officer who carelessly and irresponsibly tossed his gun into a backpack under his front seat and didn’t properly secure his firearm also played a critical role. Steinle would still be alive if not for him.


21 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Wombat,
Zarate absolutely is "the one" for Steinile's death; he pulled the trigger. By your logic, Kate is "equally" at fault for being in San Francisco at the time Zarate pulled the trigger.

This doesn't absolve the officer of his duty to secure his weapon; I agree with your call for consequences here. But its pretty easy to follow that
the act of securing/not securing a gun does not directly result in a murder
the act of stealing/not stealing a gun does not directly result in a murder
the act of pulling the trigger on a gun in a crowded public area does directly result in murder.

These events are not equally weighted in their relationship to Kate's death; one clearly has a stronger relationship than the other two.



3 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Pleasanton Parent wrote “Zarate absolutely is "the one" for Steinile's death; he pulled the trigger. By your logic, Kate is "equally" at fault for being in San Francisco at the time Zarate pulled the trigger.“

Your logic is ridiculously flawed. Zarate committed a crime in firing a gun on a public pier. The person who stole the gun from the federal ranger and left the loaded gun in a public place committed crimes. The federal ranger who left his firearm unsecured in his vehicle was guilty of gross negligence. All three of these people committed crimes and/or were grossly negligent. Kate Steinle, on the other hand, was totally innocent. You have the logical skills of Donald Trump.


12 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:13 pm

Wombat,
I agree, the quoted section is absolutely asinine; and only exists on your logic train rail. I agree it makes no sense. I'm glad I could help you better understand.
Now name calling, really? Aim higher my friend


16 people like this
Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:28 pm

MichaelB is a registered user.

"Finally, no, Zarate not “the one” responsible for Steinle’s death. That’s just you turning off your brain and going into “parroting-mode” again."

Yes, he was. He fired the gun. No one "made him" do it. You have no "logic" by claiming he was just a bystander or unwilling third party. If there was a gun around, he could have just left it alone and walked away. Now who sounds dense?


8 people like this
Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2019 at 8:56 pm

MichaelB is a registered user.

"Is there anything unreasonable about requiring federal officers to more properly secure their firearms than throwing them into a backpack under the front car seat (an obvious place for a burglar to look)? No? Then why are Republicans in Congress against it?"

So one person puts a gun in a backpack and it's stolen? How often does this happen with law enforcement personnel? Sounds like the measure is a solution in search of a problem.

How about criminals just avoiding the legal process entirely/doing as they wish to obtain guns/injuring others? What's being done about that other than DeSaulnier and members of his party predictably wanting more gun control measures/bans - for those who are not involved?

Yes, it's unreasonable to to put the blame on those having nothing to do with violence for supposedly "not doing enough". Typical left wing reasoning.Per "As Instructed" earlier comments, it's steering the conversation away from the perps/shaming law enforcement instead. Notice the lack of outrage from DeSaulnier and other members of his party about Zarate being here illegally/repeatedly let go. If he'd been deported/in custody, Steinle would still be alive.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:38 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Wombat,

You're making a lot of sense. At least three people contributed to this tragic death. This whole tragedy has much more to do with gun violence and gun safety than illegal immigration. The situation would be the same if Zarate was an American born citizen.


3 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 19, 2019 at 4:32 am

MichaelB wrote “How often does this happen with law enforcement personnel? Sounds like the measure is a solution in search of a problem.“

It happens too often. I’ve read about several cases in which law officers lost possession of their guns over the last few years through carelessness and negligence. Just off the top of my head, I can recall three other cases in recent times: (1) A Berkeley Police chief had her unsecured handgun stolen from her car, (2) a police officer left lis handgun in a men’s restroom, and (3) an FBI agent had his handgun fall out of his belt while he was doing some breakdancing at a nightclub. The loaded gun hit the floor and discharged, with the shot hitting another nightclub patron. See? It’s not as rare as you seem to think. And, again, those are cases just off the top of my head. You can google up the stories yourself. They’re not difficult to find.


4 people like this
Posted by Lupe M
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 19, 2019 at 7:22 am

I think it is a smart proposal that is common sense. Glad DeSaulnier is trying to make our country safer. Thankful he cared about Kate Steinly. G3
Sad that the Pleasanton Congressma Swallwell is nothing but a political suck up who only cares about himself.
Pleasanton neighbors need to take a good look at what he's done for us...nothing.He's chasing limelight instead of his job.
Aside from that...Congress is overpaid guaranteed lifetime benefits and perks for not working. We need to change that.
Hope DeSaulnier keeps trying.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 19, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Wombat - ok, three examples in recent times divided by the number of times officers did carry and secure their firearms over the same period of time.....

To your statement: See? It’s not as rare as you seem to think.

Nope....it actually is.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 19, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Lupe,
Completely agree - to add to Swalwell's "achievements" the most recent being acting like a child on the floor, to the point where his party chair walks away.

And for what, to get other's to agree that Trump's comments were racist. They absolutely were (nationalistic more so than racist...but offensive none the less), the intent of the message wasn't, but the words were. And some Republican's have agreed, more should, but they're no more likely to cross that line than Democrats are to call illegal border crossing a crime.

Our politicians are an absolute embarrassment.


Like this comment
Posted by pope john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2019 at 8:11 pm

Wombat as pointed out by previous posters is A "dingbat!


1 person likes this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 21, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@Wombat

Definition of a Wombat: Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials that are native to Australia. They are about 1 m in length with small, stubby tails.

Is this why he is having difficulty with his reasoning? Physically challenged?

I say this in fun, because he has shown a demeanor that is rude, arrogant, and uninformed.


2 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 22, 2019 at 3:07 am

@ Dingbat

Dingbat said:

“Finally, no, Zarate not “the one” responsible for Steinle’s death.”

Yet we all know Zarate pulled the trigger that fired the gun that killed Kate Steinle.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said

“...some people did something...”

Yet we all know it was Muslim extremists who attacked America on 9/11.

Dingbat is a deflector and excuse maker. Blame everyone else but the person involved, eh? But since you outed yourself as a Trump hater, now we all know how your logic flows. LOL! That’s okay, you and AOC would make a fine, fine, pair.

In closing, the one thing Dingbat did not say - mostly out of ignorance I imagine - is that the Steinle case would have an entirely different outcome had the case been tried outside of San Francisco. Case in point: In 2004, Kamala Harris said she would not seek the death penalty against David Hill for killing Officer Isaac Espinoza. The reason? Because attempting to get a death penalty conviction in San Francisco was impossible.






X


3 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 22, 2019 at 5:27 am

Ahhhh....the wonderfully nice, relaxing life of living totally rent-free in the minds of Trump supporters.
I love it!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Willy
a resident of Old Towne
on Jul 22, 2019 at 11:32 am

Willy is a registered user.

@ Wombat and some other dumb liberals making comment here!

GO TRUMP!


3 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 22, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Lots of candidates other than Swalwell have been lining up to run against America’s openly racist president:

News headline:
“VP Pence Says Trump ‘Might Make an Effort’ (???!) To Stop Racist Chants At Future Rallies”

Sit back and get some popcorn and watch the Republican Party continuing to go into Self-Destruct mode!


3 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm

From the “Yeah, sure. That will work files”:

Republicans doubling down on being the party of Trump as he goes Full Loco:

News headline:
“Republicans take to Sunday shows to mount vigorous defense of Trump’s racist attacks”


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 22, 2019 at 2:58 pm

oh I get it, when you're loosing an argument, pivot to blame Trump.

Its Trump's fault Kate Steinle was murdered by Zarate.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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