In the wake of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 7 adopted two gun-control regulations, one that bans the sale of large-caliber handguns and ammunition and one that prohibits people from carrying guns in county parks, plazas, beaches and buildings — with exceptions for law enforcement, active military and others.
The two new ordinances only affect unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, such as East Los Angeles, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, Valinda, East San Gabriel, City Terrace, Agua Dulce, Topanga, West Whittier and many other communities — representing about 1.1 million of the county’s 10.2 million population.
First District Supervisor Hilda Solis said there had been 59 mass shootings in the U.S. since the start of the New Year. “That amounts to two mass shootings a day. Let that sink in,” she said during remarks at a press conference on the steps of the Hall of Administration.
“This series of mass shootings are plaguing our society like a disease and we need a vaccine to remedy this disease and our addiction to guns,” said new Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez at the press event.
In addition to the two ordinances, including a ban on .50 caliber handguns and the one-half-inch bullets that they fire, the board adopted motions to pursue several other proposed gun-control measures.
But those motions require more study and could face constitutional hurdles related to the Second Amendment and a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, the board noted. The proposed ordinances are scheduled to come back to the board in 90 days after getting a legal review of their constitutionality from the Office of County Counsel.
Among those proposed, the board directed the county’s Department of Regional Planning to draw up new zoning restrictions that would require gun stores to operate at least 1,000 feet away from schools, parks or daycare centers or other gun shops, creating “child safety zones.”
The board also said it wants to see new laws focused on gun store owners, including banning minors from entering gun stores, maintaining security cameras, keeping a fingerprint inventory of all customers, and providing a database of all gun purchases to law enforcement.
The board is also looking into new regulations that require all gun owners to safely store firearms in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock, to prevent someone from accidentally getting shot. Also, the board is looking into a mandate that all gun owners obtain liability insurance.
While state law requires gun owners with children to secure their firearms — with criminal liability for those who don’t — the county is looking into a regulation that would require safe storage in general for all gun owners living in unincorporated areas. The is intended to prevent guns from being stolen and used in fatal shootings, the board noted.
These additional tighter restrictions could be written in a way that does not violate the June 23, 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision, which struck down a 1913 restrictive concealed-carry law in New York, weakening the power of states, cities and counties to enact new gun-control laws.
The supervisors had asked staff to bring them proposals for gun restrictions in June, and also in September. Their actions on Tuesday are a result of those requests.
In September, the National Rifle Association criticized the board’s actions in an emailed statement. Dan Reid, the NRA western regional director, wrote, “The L.A. County Board consistently supports every ill-conceived gun control proposal while providing a free pass to the criminals wreaking havoc on their streets.”
At that time, the board said mass shootings in Texas, California and other places in the U.S. were an epidemic that claimed innocent lives. The two ordinances they adopted, and those being considered for the future, all received unanimous, 5-0 votes Tuesday, just 17 days after a gunman killed 11 people at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, opening fire with a semi-automatic handgun on a room full of people.
Members of the public spoke about the measures, and some were opposed and some in favor.
Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, supported the measures and hoped they would be copied and adopted by cities in L.A. County.
“They will have a positive impact, not only for our community but also for other jurisdictions as they become a model for action,” she told the board.
Steve Lamb told the board he has been a gun owner since age 7, often learning about gun safety from a local gun shop owner. “Locking guns in people’s houses so they can’t use them to protect themselves, particularly in Black and Latino neighborhoods where crime is rampant, is not going to protect anyone,” he said.
Jan Gould, with Moms Demand Action, said a high school teacher told her that in the last few months a student brought a family gun to campus, taken from an unsecured location, and pointed it at other students before the gun was discovered and taken away.
“More guns do not make us safer,” said Stacey Mosley, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. “It it were true, we would be the safest country in the world.”
The board also will send a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in support of her bill to ban assault weapons. If the ban is not passed in Washington, the board said it supports a separate bill to raise the age to purchase such weapons from age 18 to 21.
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