He cited New York City's program as an example of success.
Because Oakland has been so reluctant to spend money on policing, Donohue said he worries the data would sit unanalyzed. However, he said, academics would probably be willing to help.
For proponents of gun rights, this measure would open the floodgates.
"There's no more clear outcome than very hostile municipalities trying to create more and more difficult regulatory schemes," Combs said.
It's a scenario that the Law Center to Prevent Violence welcomes.
Cody Jacobs, a staff attorney at the San Francisco-based nonprofit, which backs the bill, said a handful of cities across the country have gun registration and licensing programs, but none are in the 45 states — California among them — that by statute restrict such local efforts.
Jacobs said California cities have been increasingly adopting other regulatory measures that aren't banned by state law — restrictions on the location of dealers, for example — and would probably jump at the chance at greater authority.
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"We hope Oakland can be a model," he said.
The Oakland mayor and City Council — along with the police chief and police union — have backed the measure.
Brown's inclinations are unknown, but his deep history here will no doubt play into his decision.
Said Zimring: "He knows every skeleton in most of the closets, but he also knows what the problems are.""