The Los Angeles City Council has voted to outlaw the possession of high capacity gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, in response to a series of mass shootings across the country.
The ordinance, approved by a 12-0 vote on Tuesday, July 28, addresses a loophole in a state law that bans the sale and manufacture of so-called high-capacity magazine clips, but not the possession of such devices.
Anyone already possessing high-capacity magazines will need to remove them from the city, give them up to the Los Angeles Police Department to be destroyed or sell or transfer the magazines according to state law, within 60 days of the city ordinance going into effect.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, who led the push for the ban, joined advocates for restricting gun use, victims of gun violence and others at a City Hall rally prior to the council vote.
Laurie Saffian, chair of the group Women Against Gun Violence, said the ordinance, along with another proposed law that would require guns to be kept in a locked box, are “life-saving measures.”
Gun rights groups are expected to challenge the measures, but Krekorian said, “Bring it on!”
Krekorian and other gun law advocates noted that while the newly approved measure takes a small step toward reducing gun violence, it could inspire other cities or federal and state officials to push forward their own gun safety laws.
Krekorian, speaking to his colleagues prior to the vote, pointed to communities such as Isla Vista, Sandy Hook and Chattanooga “that have gained new significance to our nation because of the tragic mass killings that have happened in those places.”
Ruett Foster, a member of Women Against Gun Violence, told the council that his young son Evan died 18 years ago while protecting his younger brother from a rain of bullets that numbered about 75 rounds.
“If it had been a low-capacity weapon, who knows what might have happened,” Foster said. “Evan might still be here today … to dote on his brother, to love his brother, to encourage his brother about his life … If it had only been 10 (rounds) or less, he might be with us today.”
The council’s Public Safety Committee next week will consider an amendment proposed by Councilman Mitch Englander that would exempt retired law enforcement officers.
Mayor Eric Garcetti was quick to back the ordinance, which is headed to his desk for signing.
“Every day, 89 Americans are killed by guns. As national and state leaders struggle with a way to move forward with much needed gun laws, I applaud our city leaders for taking decisive action today that will help us save lives and prevent crime,” Garcetti said. “I wholeheartedly support a ban on the possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines and am eager to sign it into law.”
Chad Cheung, a director on the board of the nonprofit CalGuns Shooting Sports Association, told City News Service on Monday, July 27, he doesn’t believe the ban would do anything to combat crime.
“You’re banning the possession of something that you can have outside the city limits,” he said. “I don’t know where they come up with this stuff. I don’t think it will do anything.”
He noted that if he lives in Burbank and legally owns a high-capacity magazine, “I could not drive through the city of L.A. without breaking the law.”
“It will put an undue burden on people living in and around Los Angeles who use their firearms for lawful sporting purposes” and for hunting, he said.
Krekorian complained earlier this month that the proposal had languished before the council’s Public Safety Committee for two years, and he threatened to exercise a rarely used rule to try to force the issue before the full council. But the committee chair, Englander, agreed to waive the committee’s consideration of the ordinance, according to Krekorian aide Ian Thompson.
Krekorian had also wanted his other “gun safety” proposal — requiring guns kept at home to be stored in a locked container — to be taken directly to the full council, but it will go first to the Public Safety Committee, according to Thompson. The measure received some pushback from members of the Los Angeles police union, which recently asked again for amendments to exempt reserve or retired law enforcement officials from the proposed law.
Revisions are also being proposed to give leeway to some who carry guns on their person, mirroring language used in Sunnyvale, rather than San Francisco, which had been the initial model for the law, Thompson said.