A National Rifle Association affiliate, 30 county sheriffs and law enforcement organizations filed a lawsuit Friday in an attempt to block the city of Los Angeles’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines from taking effect next month.
Those who own ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds must destroy or get rid of them before Nov. 19. or they would face criminal charges, under a law adopted by the City Council and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti earlier this year.
Attorneys for the California Rifle and Pistol Association — the offical NRA group for the state — filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to halt the city ban.
The attorneys from the firm Michel & Associates contend that existing state laws prevent individual cities from adopting their own laws on the issue. An existing state law bans the sale and manufacture of high-capacity magazines, but allows possession of the magazines.
“The city’s attempt to ban the possession of magazines that were lawfully acquired and are lawfully possessed under state law is preempted because it contradicts numerous state laws, and because it attempts to regulate in a field that has been both expressly and impliedly preempted by state law,” wrote the attorneys.
The lawsuit also contends the city’s ban puts law enforcement officials who are passing through Los Angeles “at risk of prosecution.”
The ban “creates a patchwork quilt of laws that transient citizens, including inactive and off-duty enforcement officers, must attempt to navigate under threat of criminal penalties,” attorneys wrote.
The group’s attorney, Chuck Michel, said the law enforcement plaintiffs “do not appreciate that this ordinance makes criminals out of people who are authorized to use these magazines to defend themselves or their families anytime their travels take them through the city of Los Angeles.”
The California Reserve Peace Officers Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America and individual county sheriffs also are part of the lawsuit.
“The fact that local governments would take the position that their judgment can supersede that of the state is unacceptable,” Jim Rene, an in- house attorney for the reserves officers group, told City News Service.
Reme said the city law is “ambiguous at best as to whether police officer and deputy sheriffs are permitted to possess a large capacity magazine when they’re off-duty.”
City Attorney Mike Feuer defended the city’s ban as “constitutional.”
He dismissed the lawsuit as “another baseless attempt by opponents of common-sense gun rules to undermine a law that will protect public safety.
“We’ll fight this lawsuit and we’ll win,” Feuer said.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, who authored the ban, said they anticipated this reaction by the “gun lobby.”
“This lawsuit is a predictable and desperate attempt by NRA lawyers to strike down a common-sense policy that will keep our city and its people safe,” he said.
Krekorian said the law gives law enforcement “another tool to protect the public and get these deadly devices off the streets.”
— City News Service