Los Angeles lawmakers reportedly voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The decision by the Los Angeles City Council thrusts the spotlight on the city in the midst of a heated national gun debate. Juliet Leftwich, legal director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence told the Los Angeles Times that such magazines have been “the common threat” in nearly all mass shootings that have plagued the U.S. Supports of the ban say it’s a small step to stop the bloodshed in the city.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights group argue the law violates the Second Amendment and have threatened to sue the city.
Councilman Paul Krekorian said defiantly before a cheering crowd in front of City Hall: “If the NRA wants to sue us over this, bring it on.”
An eager Mayor Eric Garcetti is ready to sign the measure that passed 12-0 with three council members absent in the voting. However, some gun control activists weren’t happy to hear about a proposal to exempt retired police officers from the rules.
California law already bans manufacturing large-capacity magazines, as well as offering them for sale or bringing them into the state, according to the newspaper. However, the law doesn’t ban people from possessing them. Krekorian says that “loophole” jeopardizes public safety.
Los Angeles officials first sought to draft the bill two years ago and were pressed to move forward by gun control activists. Among them were Ruett and Rhonda Foster, whose 7-year-old son was killed in a barrage of bullets fired at an Inglewood park in 1997.
On the other side, gun rights groups say the law violates the right for citizens to protect themselves. One official argues it puts citizens in danger.
Anna M. Barvir, an attorney with Michel & Associates, which represents the NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association said such magazines that hold more than 10 rounds “are in common use for self-defense and they are overwhelmingly chosen for that purpose.”
“I don’t think it’s going to have any effect on gun violence,” said Chad Cheung, the director of CalGuns Shooting Sports Association, at Tuesday’s hearing. Cheung argued that the ruling wouldn’t matter because residents of neighboring cities such as Burbank and Glendale could still possess the magazines.
The measure gives Los Angeles residents who own such magazines 60 days to remove, surrender or legally sell or transfer them after the law goes into effect. Breaking the law would result in a misdemeanor.
The Los Angeles Times reports the rules exempt police and military gun owners, licenses firearm dealers and people who obtained guns before January 1, 2000. Another proposal to exempt retired police officers will be debated next week, according to the newspaper.