Los Angeles council OKs measure on locking away handguns

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

City Council Votes for Stricter Regulations for Guns at Home.

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles handgun owners will be required to store their firearms in locked containers or disable them with trigger locks under a law unanimously approved Tuesday by the City Council.

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 measure (PDF), which is backed by Councilman Paul Krekorian, aims to keep weapons away from children or others who could unintentionally harm themselves. 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. The new restrictions for gun owners in Los Angeles wouldn’t apply if a lawful user is carrying the handgun or the gun is within “close enough proximity and control” so that the owner or another authorized adult can easily grab the gun and use it.

Krekorian told KNX 1070 police will only be able to enforce the law under specific circumstances, such as “when the police have an interaction with a family for example that’s engaged in domestic violence, or when a county work checks on home in a child welfare check.” (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. As Republican and Democratic presidential candidates continue to agree to disagree about gun control, L.A.’s leaders have reached a consensus on how handguns should be handled and stored at home. 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. The law will also keep guns safe during burglaries, said Krekorian, noting handguns are frequently swiped “because they’re so easy to get out onto the black market.” California cities Sunnyvale and San Francisco have similar safe storage laws, said Allison Anderman, staff attorney with the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. That law, which goes into effect next month, is currently being challenged in a lawsuit filed by a pair of law enforcement groups, more than two dozen county sheriffs, and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, an official state affiliate of the National Rifle Association.

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. 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. San Francisco’s safe storage law was also challenged by gun rights advocates, but the federal appellate court last year upheld the law, Anderman said. The Council had already voted in favor of the gun storage rules earlier this year, but city lawyers still had to hammer out the final wording of the ordinance. 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 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. 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. 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.

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