LOS ANGELES – Defying the warnings of gun rights groups, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the possession of firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Backers of the plan said it would help minimize the bloodshed of mass shootings by forcing attackers to interrupt their rampages to stop and reload.
Juliet Leftwich, legal director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called such magazines “the common thread” in almost all of the mass shootings that have devastated the country, from Newtown to Virginia Tech to Columbine.
Even as city officials celebrated the newly passed restrictions, gun control activists were dismayed to hear about a proposal to exempt some retired police officers from the rules – an eleventh-hour change now being sought by the union that represents Los Angeles police.
California law already generally bans the manufacturing of such large-capacity magazines, offering them up for sale or bringing them into the state. But state law does not prohibit people from possessing them – something that Councilman Paul Krekorian and others called a loophole that jeopardizes public safety.
“People who want to defend their families don’t need a 100-round drum magazine and an automatic weapon to do it,” said Krekorian, who championed the ban at a rally Tuesday outside City Hall. But if someone wanted to do harm, Krekorian added, “imagine what a gunman on this sidewalk could do with that kind of firepower with a crowd like this.”
Los Angeles lawmakers first sought to draft such rules more than two years ago. Survivors of gun violence lamented that it had taken so long for the council to press forward with the ban.
Rhonda Foster, whose 7-year-old son, Evan, was killed and younger son, Alec, injured when a gunman sprayed their car with more than a dozen bullets, said the ban would save lives.
“This is a no-brainer,” her husband, Ruett Foster, told the crowd, holding a picture of his sons.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups have threatened to sue over the new Los Angeles rules, arguing that they violate the Second Amendment and are pre-empted by California law.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.