Los Angeles approves law requiring locked guns

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California: County Sheriffs & CRPA Sue Los Angeles over Ordinance Prohibiting Possession of “Large-Capacity” Magazines.

Handgun owners in Los Angeles will be required to store their firearms in locked containers or disable the weapons with trigger locks under a law unanimously approved Tuesday by the City Council. As previously reported, the City of Los Angeles has adopted an ordinance that prohibits the possession of standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds.The rule, which would require gun owners to keep their handguns either disabled with a trigger lock or stored in a locked container, is similar to ordinances in San Francisco, New York City, and a statewide law in Massachusetts.

Los Angeles lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a new law requiring Angelenos to lock up or disable their handguns at home if they aren’t close at hand. The council voted 14-0 to pass the ordinance that requires handguns be locked up, disabled, kept on the owner’s person or placed within that person’s reach. In an impassioned speech before the vote, City Councilman Paul Krekorian argued that the new rules would help prevent deadly accidents and youth suicides by stopping the guns from falling into the hands of curious children or despondent teenagers.

In June, the Supreme Court turned down a National Rifle Association-led appeal aimed at loosening the restrictions, when it let stand lower court rulings that upheld the San Francisco measure. This ordinance will not prevent violent crime or mass shootings, but will limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners who choose these magazines to defend themselves and their families. Krekorian said more preschoolers are killed with guns annually than police officers. “It’s unacceptable to live in a country where it’s more dangerous to be a preschooler than to be a police officer — and we can do something about that today,” Krekorian said.

That law, which goes into effect next month, came amid increasingly urgent debate over gun laws following recent mass shootings in the United States, including last an attack on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina and a campus shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. Now, 30 duly elected California Sheriffs, two law enforcement organizations, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), and several other individuals have filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the ordinance. Law enforcement groups had pushed for exemptions for off-duty or retired police officers, but those were excluded from the final draft approved Tuesday.

On Monday, many U.S. police chiefs called for universal gun background checks and on Tuesday, President Barack Obama called for the nation’s police chiefs to push tighter gun controls. Gun rights activists have warned they may sue over the rules, arguing that city lawmakers shouldn’t decide how people choose to protect themselves in their homes.

Under the conditions of the ordinance, the mere possession of any “large-capacity” magazine within Los Angeles after November 19, 2015 will be a misdemeanor offense. L.A. is already being sued over another gun control measure passed this year — a ban on firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition — on the grounds that it is preempted by state law. It is unclear exactly what the rules could mean in specific situations — for instance, whether someone could sleep with a loaded gun on his or her nightstand. The law may be moot, however, because the city’s only gun shop, High Bridge Arms, announced last month that it will close rather than subject customers to new requirements.

The question of whether someone was in control “would be a case by case, fact-based determination made by a court,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Atty. Option #2: Sell or transfer all such magazines to a properly licensed person- There are limited options available to civilians under state law when transferring or selling “large-capacity” magazines. Krekorian said police won’t be going door-to-door to examine how guns are stored but could encounter violations while reacting to other calls or in the aftermath of a shooting.

Before the Tuesday meeting, a Krekorian aide emailed gun control activists saying that Councilman Mitch Englander’s office had sought to delay the vote on the gun storage rules. To avoid doing so, only you can have access to the stored magazine (e.g., only you have the key to the safe or storage area where the magazines are kept outside of the city). Krekorian and Englander stood side by side at a news conference after the vote, where Englander attributed the talk of a delay to “a miscommunication.” Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to sign the law, which would go into effect 30 days after he does so. The NRA and CRPA work together in California to fight for you in Scotts Valley, in cities and counties across the state, in regulatory agencies, and in the courts. Even with the generous rates that our team of civil rights attorneys, legislative advocates, experts and consultants grant us, these ongoing efforts are still expensive.

Second Amendment supporters should be careful about supporting litigation or other efforts promised by individuals and groups that lack the experience, resources, skill, or legal talent to be successful.

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