Santa Monica City Council supports gun control bill

File photo: Congressman Henry Waxman

After resounding support for legislation related to gun control, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday directed city officials to explore what types of guns and ammunition are being sold in the city.

Mayor Pam O’Connor asked her colleagues to support the recent Gun Violence and Prevention Act of 2013 that Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Santa Monica, announced he would introduce to Congress during a gun violence forum held at City Hall earlier this month.

The bill would address gun safety, mental health and gun violence research.

The mayor also asked councilmembers to support passage of the proposed state Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement Act and related bills designed to close loopholes in existing gun laws.

On June 7, Santa Monican John Zawahri, 23, shot his brother and father, Christopher and Samir, and made his way to Santa Monica College where he killed Marcela Franco, her father, Carlos Franco, and Margarita Gomez before being shot by law enforcement from the Santa Monica and Santa Monica College police departments.

Police said Zawahri made his assault rifle by ordering parts from out of state, which allowed him to get around state gun control laws. His finished product is illegal to possess in California. Zawahri tried to purchase a weapon in 2011, but the Justice Department issued a notice stating he was ineligible to buy one.

Zawahri reportedly had mental health issues and had once threatened to kill fellow students while attending Olympic High School. He was hospitalized for treatment.

Since the shooting rampage, there’s been a resurgence of statewide efforts to focus on tighter gun laws, mental health issues and treatment.

O’Connor said it was important for the council to continue that advocacy and support  gun control legislation.

City Councilmember Tony Vazquez asked his colleagues to direct city officials to look at what could be done locally, if anything, to restrict access to firearms.

Big 5 Sporting Goods is the only retail outlet allowed to sell guns in Santa Monica, according to City Hall records. In 2011 and 2012, Big 5 successfully renewed its permits to carry firearms. A representative from Big 5’s corporate office could not be reached for comment.

The location on Wilshire Boulevard sells .22-caliber and .308-caliber rifles, said store manager Tom Sullivan. He added the store doesn’t sell many rifles.

This story originally appeared in the Santa Monica Daily Press.