All handguns in Los Angeles homes will have to be locked up or disabled with a trigger lock under a new ordinance unanimously approved by the city council this week. A similar proposal already is law in San Francisco, and other cities across American are considering such laws.
Even retired L.A. police officers would have to secure their guns or face six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, Guns.com reported.
“Los Angeles will become the largest city in California to require all handgun owners in the city to store their handguns in a locked container or disable them with a trigger lock when kept in their home,” the ordinance’s author, city councilman Paul Krekorian, said in a press release.
The city council’s approval of the measure is part of a new nationwide push for stricter gun control on the local level, The Los Angeles Times reported. Krekorian hopes the ordinance will inspire cities across the country to adopt similar laws.
Such local action is “is the biggest change in the gun control movement in a generation,” UCLA Law School professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun laws, told The Los Angeles Times.
“The gun control movement has been re-energized in a way that it hasn’t been in several decades,” Winkler said.
Recent news stories seem to prove Winkler’s thesis.
Gun control groups in Colorado are already calling for such a law in that state.
“Recent statistics show more than 40 percent of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked,” former Colorado state senator and gun control advocate Pat Pascoe told a Colorado TV station. “Well, that’s irresponsible, I think.”
What the Los Angeles Ordinance Means
The ordinance still has not been given final approval, as the L.A. city attorney is drafting the language, The LA Times reported. Once it is written, the ordinance would have to be approved by the council.
Police would not conduct home inspections to see how guns are stored, Krekorian said. Instead, officers would enforce the law if they came to a home for another reason.
The union for L.A.’s cops — the Police Protective League — objects to the ordinance because it does not provide an exemption for retired officers with concealed carry permits, The Times reported. City Attorney Mike Feuer is considering adding such an exemption to the ordinance.
In Sunnyvale, California, which has had such an ordinance on the books since 2013, no one has yet to be prosecuted for improperly storing a gun.
In a dissent earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas criticized such laws. He was referencing the Supreme Court’s refusal to consider a lawsuit against the San Francisco law.
“In an emergency situation, the delay imposed by this law could prevent San Francisco residents from using their handguns for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” Thomas wrote. “And that delay could easily be the difference between life and death.”
Thomas added, “The law thus burdens their right to self-defense at the times they are most vulnerable – when they are sleeping, bathing, changing clothes, or otherwise indisposed. There is consequently no question that San Francisco’s law burdens the core of the Second Amendment right.”
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