Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Ammunition sales would be tracked electronically in Los Angeles under a measure tentatively approved Tuesday by the City Council, which also directed staff to draft an ordinance to  require gun owners to store firearms in locked containers or use trigger locks to disable them when not in use.

The City Council voted 11-0 in favor of a proposed ordinance that would require licensed ammunition dealers to transmit sales records to the city via an online form, doing away with what one councilman described as the city’s “draconian” method of requesting physical records.

If given final approval by the council on second reading and signed by the mayor, the measure would make it a misdemeanor crime if retailers fail to comply with the reporting requirements.

Sacramento adopted a similar ammunition reporting law that has been upheld, according to city officials.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who helped author both measures, said the law would speed up the reporting of information “that will allow our police officers to detect illegal purchases of ammunition from people who are prohibited from owning firearms.”

Ammunition dealers are now required to keep their sale records for at least two years, but do not have to turn them in unless requested by police.

The LAPD collects hundreds of pages of purchase records in hard copy, which officials say are time-consuming to search through.

The City Council also instructed the city attorney’s office to draw up an ordinance that would require gun owners to store or disable weapons when they are not in use. The measure will be modeled after a 2007 law adopted in San Francisco.

Proponents of the gun storage measure say that while the state requires guns to come with safety locks, there is no requirement for firearm owners to actually use them, or to store the weapons in locked containers.

San Francisco’s gun storage ordinance has withstood a challenge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, city officials said.

“There shouldn’t be any issues as far as challenges to this, but whether there are or not, we need to step forward, take a leadership role in keeping the people of Los Angeles, and especially the children of Los Angeles safe,” Krekorian said.

He said electronic reporting measures have not drawn the usual opposition from major gun rights groups, adding that resistance to such proposals has been limited to isolated displays of “hostility,” including from one letter-writer in Mississippi.

Councilman Paul Koretz praised the gun measures, saying they will make a “massive difference.”

“We don’t often get to say we vote on something that will directly, immediately save lives — this is it,” Koretz said.

City News Service

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