County to prohibit guns on its property with exceptions, ban the sale of .50-caliber firearms and ammo
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved several motions seeking to regulate firearms in the county and unincorporated areas and directed county staff to draft a letter to state leaders to advocate for further gun control, all in the wake of the Monterey Park mass shooting in which a man killed 11 people during a Lunar New Year celebration.
“It was June of last year, shortly after 19 elementary school students were killed in the mass shotting in Uvalde, Texas, that I introduced a motion, along with Supervisor (Hilda) Solis, asking our county counsel to explore options for us to enhance gun regulations in unincorporated L.A. County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, 4th District, and chair of the board.
“I did not imagine that, when it came time to implement those regulations, we would be in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in Los Angeles county’s history,” she continued. “We’re taking steps forward in our fight against gun violence.”
The first ordinance would establish zoning regulations with a 1,000-foot buffer zone between firearm dealers and sensitive areas, specifically “child safety zones,” and between firearm dealers and other competitors in the unincorporated areas of the county.
It would also prohibit the carrying or possession of firearms on county property such as county beaches, parks, playgrounds, plazas and county department buildings, with certain exceptions for law enforcement and active military members. This includes individuals with a concealed carry permit, Hahn added.
The second ordinance would enhance the regulation of firearm and ammunition dealers in the unincorporated areas — it would ban the sale of all .50-caliber guns and ammunition.
“These are giant bullets that are half-an-inch thick and really long,” Hahn said, during the Feb. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting. “They tear through bodies and cause terrible destruction that just destroys someone’s insides.”
According to Hahn, the .50-caliber firearms and ammunition were developed for combat situations, and there’s no real reason for civilians to purchase or use them.
In addition, the ordinance outlined various regulations for firearm dealers, including restricting minors’ presence in stores that sell guns; requiring firearm dealers to maintain a fingerprint log; requiring firearm dealers to install and maintain security cameras; requiring firearm dealers to keep an up-to-date inventory of guns; and lastly, requiring them to notify purchasers and customers of the dangers of guns.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, thanked her colleague for bringing forth these motions. She noted gun violence and mass shootings has become “far too much of a routine.”
“In the case in Monterey Park, it was, I think, a legally bought gun out of another state that was illegally altered and would be illegal in the state of California with a silencer,” Barger said during the meeting.
Barger said she was in support of the motion, but she believed her colleagues were missing the “root” cause of the issue — a false sense of security because people are legally purchasing parts and building guns, and illegally using them.
“I don’t think this is a battle against the Second Amendment,” Barger said during the meeting. “I really do think it is about responsible gun ownership.”
The county Board of Supervisors approved these two ordinances and enacted them. Thereafter, the board approved the drafting of a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, seeking advocacy on two fronts related to federal gun safety regulation. These two items discussed in the letter would include banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazine and raising the age to purchase assault weapons.
Lastly, the Board of Supervisors instructed its county counsel to draft further gun regulations within 90 days regarding gun licensing amendments within county code and requiring signs to be displayed with specific language warning customers about associated risk of access to firearms at any site where firearms sales or transfers are conducted on county property.