Local investigation prompts change of gun ammo storage
The shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School was hundreds of miles away, but South Lake Tahoe is still feeling the shock wave. This week the wave rolled over South Shore stores that sell ammunition.
Julie Abner and Skye Zink, both mothers, decided to investigate where guns and ammunition are kept. They wanted to know how accessible it was to children. What they found disturbed them.
“The ammunition was open and could be easily reached by even a very small child,” Abner said referring to Longs Drugs’ hunting department. “With everything that has been going on, I found that completely unacceptable.”
The ammunition was kept in a display on shelves that run from the floor to the ceiling.
The women filed a complaint with general manager Alan Dugan on Monday. By Tuesday the ammunition was locked behind a newly installed glass display.
Dugan, however, said long before the Denver tragedy he had already decided to place the ammunition behind a locked glass display. “When we enlarged our stock and went from just carrying shotgun shells to carrying assorted ammunition is when the decision was made,” he said.
For the last five months, Dugan said he has been waiting for local venders to finish the project. Monday night, in response to Abner and Zink’s concerns, Dugan pulled the ammunition from the shelves and said it would not return until the glass was in place.
“We try to react with public sentiment. The ammunition ought to be less accessible. They are right,” he said.
By Tuesday afternoon the glass was in, and Dugan said the ammunition should be stocked in the new case and back on sale starting today.
Although there is no law in California requiring that vendors keep ammunition locked, several Tahoe stores have their own policies.
Kmart managers said ammunition is kept locked behind the counter and can only be purchased at the sporting goods register. And no employee under the age of 18 is allowed to work in that department. A sales person at The Sportsman said their supply is also kept behind the counter and customers have to request it.
Guns of Tahoe in Round Hill deals mostly in antique guns and ammunition, and all are kept in locked cases.
Abner said she plans to write a letter to the City Council suggesting that they create an ordinance requiring stores to lock up ammunition stock.
“I was very pleased that Longs responded to my concerns. I just wanted it away from kids,” she said.
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