County supervisors pass series of gun control measures

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The LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a series of gun control measures on Feb. 7 following last month’s mass shooting in Monterey Park, where a gunman killed 11 people and injured nine others.

The package of new and proposed regulations is intended to reduce fatal shootings in LA County, but some of the ordinances will need to go through an additional vetting process before becoming law.

Only two of the ordinances are expected to take effect relatively soon — one would prohibit the sale of .50-caliber handguns (firearms with half-inch-thick bullets) in unincorporated L.A. County — which is just on the other side of Malibu city limits. The other would prohibit carrying firearms on county property, including beaches, parks, and buildings — even with a concealed carry permit (law enforcement excepted).

The board will take a final vote on the motion, authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, in two weeks. The Department of Regional Planning and Treasurer and Tax Collector will finalize the two ordinances and submit them to the board for approval.

“Here we are facing a gun violence epidemic that continues to devastate our communities,” Hahn said at the meeting. “Today, we’re taking steps forward in our fight against gun violence.”

The county director of regional planning is instructed to prepare an ordinance to implement zoning regulations requiring a 1,000-foot buffer zone between firearm dealers and sensitive areas (i.e. “child safety zones”), as well as a 1,000-foot buffer between firearms dealers. 

The county treasurer and tax collector are instructed to prepare the final amendments to enhance the regulation of firearm and ammunition dealers in the unincorporated county, including requiring ammunition dealers to obtain an LA County business license; and restrict minors’ presence in gun and ammunition stores, with signage posted at the entrance.

Firearms dealers would also be required to maintain annual sales reports, fingerprint logs, and real-time inventory; and make them available to the Department of Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTC) and/or law enforcement upon request; install and maintain security cameras and make footage available to law enforcement immediately upon request; and provide purchasers a letter regarding gun owner responsibilities and gun laws.

In the motion prepared by Solis and Hahn, they stated that “Gun violence continues to plague LA County communities, tearing families apart and spreading trauma that will last for generations. Most recently, the County experienced its deadliest mass shooting in history when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park on January 21, 2023, killing eleven people and injuring nine more as they were dancing on the eve of Lunar New Year. This tragedy has shaken LA County residents and has reminded us of the ever-looming threat of gun violence in our daily lives. In the week following this tragedy, the state of California was rocked by three more mass shootings, including another one in LA County that took place in the Beverly Crest neighborhood of LA.

“Gun violence is a complex issue that will require a complex, multi-pronged solution. The County is currently expanding community-based violence prevention programs and access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, all of which are important components of a strategy to prevent gun violence. Another component is to implement common sense gun regulations that will limit the number of dangerous guns on the streets and help keep our communities safe. While federal gun regulations remain tragically weak, the State of California has implemented a series of strong regulations that include robust background checks, limitations on military-grade weapons, and restrictions on who can carry a firearm on their person.”

Only nine people made public comments or sent letters to the county regarding the new regulations, with two in favor and seven against.