For the second time this summer, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Sept. 13, pursued a ban on large-caliber handguns and ammunition, and other regulations that would restrict sale of firearms in unincorporated county communities.
In a unanimous vote, the five supervisors asked the county’s attorneys to draw up a host of ordinances that would ban the sale of .50 caliber handguns and the one-half-inch bullets they fire, prevent gun vendors from operating near schools and parks, and prohibit anyone from carrying a firearm on any L.A. County property.
In addition, the supervisors want all gun and ammunition vendors in unincorporated areas to install video security cameras, restrict minors from entering their stores, maintain fingerprint logs and report inventory in real time to licensing agencies.
“We need to do whatever we can to keep our communities safe from gun violence,” said Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion with First District Supervisor Hilda Solis.
On June 14, the Supervisors passed a similar motion that included these and two other restrictions: raising the age from 18 to 21 to be able to buy rifles and shotguns, and banning anyone on the federal No-Fly List from purchasing firearms. But on June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1913 restrictive concealed-carry law in New York, weakening the ability of states, cities and counties to enact tighter gun-control laws.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case prompted the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office to write a confidential report that eliminated the two gun restrictions county supervisors had backed on June 14. The supervisors said the measures in the motion they adopted Tuesday fall within the parameters of the Supreme Court ruling.
“This fits well within the new restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court,” said Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “They are common sense, but that doesn’t always apply to the Supreme Court.”
The county counsel will now create a report on how the ordinances should be written, and in what form. It will come before the supervisors for a possible vote in 90 days.
The National Rifle Association criticized the L.A. County board’s action in an emailed response to the Daily News after the vote.
“The LA County Board consistently supports every ill-conceived gun control proposal while providing a free pass to the criminals wreaking havoc on their streets,” wrote Dan Reid, NRA western regional director.
“If they truly wanted to address violent crime, they would start by taking violent criminals off the streets and reject their soft on crime policies that’s turned L.A. and California into the criminal haven it is today,” Reid added.
Stephen Gutowski, editor of TheReload.com, a publication about gun politics, said the county could run into legal challenges. The “Bruen (case) will cast a lot of additional scrutiny on whatever the county wants to do,” he said.
But the supervisors said the epidemic of gun violence in L.A. County and across the U.S. requires local jurisdictions to take action. So far this year, there have been more than 470 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.
“This is something we can’t waste any more time (on) by putting this on hold,” said Solis. Her district includes unincorporated communities representing 300,000 people, including East Los Angeles, Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights.
The measures would only affect unincorporated communities — not the 88 cities in Los Angeles County. Hahn said she hoped the idea of tighter laws would spread. “I hope our action today will inspire actions in other cities,” she said.
Hahn also asked her fellow supervisors, along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, to hold more gun buy-back events. At an event in Lynwood earlier this year, more than 400 guns were surrendered by their owners, she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.