Following the recent rash of fatal mass shootings throughout the state, Los Angeles County Supervisors Tuesday approved a series of new laws tightening regulations on the sale and possession of guns in unincorporated areas of the county.
“We know that blame for the gun violence epidemic lies with the failure of congressional leaders to pass even the most basic federal gun laws,” board Chair Janice Hahn said in a statement following the vote. “Because they have not acted, we have found actions we can take at the county level to protect lives.”
Hahn proposed many of the new ordinances in conjunction with Supervisor Hilda Solis.
The action bans sale of guns or ammunition of .50 or more and the carrying of firearms except by sworn officers on county property, such as parks.
The board also called for the development of an ordinance that would create a 1,000-foot buffer zone between gun stores and “child-sensitive areas” such as schools. It also requested the drafting of an ordinance that would require all privately owned firearms to be kept under lock and key, and one that would mandate liability insurance for gun owners. It also voted to explore the feasibility of developing a county gun database.
The new and proposed ordinances were the result of a study requested by the board last year in an effort to identify locally enforceable measures to regulate guns. That study led to a drafting of the initial ordinances by county attorneys.
The board also voted to support the bid by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, to reestablish the 10-year national assault rifle ban and to forbid the sale of such firearms and high capacity magazines to those under 21.
Sam Paredes, executive director of the California Gunowners’ Association, said he was skeptical the Feinstein measure would pass.
“Ms. Feinstein has been in the Senate for a long time,” he said. “She keeps resubmitting the same measure every session. I don’t think it will pass the Senate. It certainly won’t make it through the House.”
One of the motions that went before the board Tuesday noted that firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States. It also noted the Jan. 21 slaying of 11 people in a shooting at a Monterey Park dance studio, the deadliest mass shooting in county history.
“I intend to do whatever is possible to protect Los Angeles County residents, particularly following the tragedy in the First District community of Monterey Park,” Solis said. “Gun-related violence will continue to cause mass damage, trauma, and harm if we do not take the necessary steps at all levels of government. This includes supporting key gun safety legislation like Senator Feinstein’s recent action to reinstate the assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban. Today, living in the United States of America means being at risk of becoming a victim of a mass shooting. To that end, time is of the essence.”