Councilman Paul Krekorian asked Tuesday for a report on the feasibility and benefits of banning the possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines in the city, suggesting such a prohibition could improve public safety.
State law prohibits the manufacture, sale, import and gifting of such magazines, but does not ban their ownership.
In a City Council motion introduced Tuesday, Krekorian said the “gap in the law threatens public safety, because on the streets of Los Angeles, high-capacity magazines pose a daily threat to our citizens and police officers.”
Krekorian’s motion was made on the eve of President Barack Obama’s unveiling Wednesday of a series of proposals aimed at curbing gun violence, including a mix of executive orders and legislation requiring Congressional approval. Speaking from the White House, the president called on Congress to renew the ban on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004. He said it’s time to require criminal background checks on all gun purchases and to close loophole for gun show sales.
He also called for limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
On Tuesday, Krekorian cited the use of high-capacity magazines in the 1997 North Hollywood shootout between police and bank robbers, and the school massacres at Columbine High in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last month as examples why such a ban is needed.
Krekorian’s motion asks the city attorney, chief legislative analyst and Police Department to report back to the council on the feasibility and potential effectiveness of a ban, and on whether proposed state and federal laws might preempt a citywide ban on possession of high-capacity assault weapon magazines.
“While high-capacity magazines are not the cause of gun violence, they do make such tragic cases far more deadly,” Krekorian wrote.
Gun Owners of California President Sam Paredes blasted the proposal, calling it “ridiculous.” State law reserves the right to regulate guns for the state Legislature, he said.
Paredes said the so-called “government taking” clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights would require the city to pay owners fair market value for their high-capacity magazines if they became illegal to possess, which Paredes said are worth anywhere from $30 to $80 on average.
“I don’t think the city of Los Angeles has the tens of millions of dollars to buy back the legally possessed high-capacity gun magazines in the city,” Paredes said. “This is government telling them, ‘No, we will not allow you to protect yourselves how you want to. You can only do it the way we tell you to.’” Paredes said there would be “a united front” from all of the pro-gun organizations in the state to overturn a ban, “which will again cost the city millions of dollars. We’re prepared to go to court to prove (the city) grossly negligent.”