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Following the string of mass gun murders in 2015, the city of Los Angeles is joining the fight for gun control and safety.
Mass gun murders in Paris, South Carolina, Colorado Springs, San Bernardino, which devastated families and communities, demonstrated that people are not safe from gun violence in their home, workplace, school or place of worship, according to Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, who authored three resolutions on gun violence. The city council unanimously approved all three resolutions on Tuesday.
Koretz said he has had concerns about gun violence for decades and said that President Barack Obama advocating for weapons control is right on track.
“These seem like such common minor steps, but there is still such strong opposition,” Koretz said.
Two of the resolutions target loopholes in federal gun laws. One loophole allows individuals on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) terrorist watch list to legally purchase firearms and explosives.
“Such a loophole needlessly places people in danger and increases the likelihood that similar mass shooting incidents will occur in the future,” the resolution read.
Los Angeles now supports HR 1076 by Representative Peter King (R-NY) and SB 551 by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Both measures would deny transfer of firearms or the issuance of a federal firearms and explosives license to any individual who has provided material support or resources to terrorist activities.
“Perhaps grassroots support, including from our city, may make the difference in getting such common sense measures approved,” Koretz said.
The other loophole allows individuals to purchase a firearm at a gun show without a federal background check.
“Individuals convicted of a serious crime and individuals suffering from mental illness that are a threat to themselves and others should not have access to firearms,” a separate resolution read.
Los Angeles now also supports King’s HR 1217 to enhance the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It would require criminal background checks for individuals seeking to purchase a firearm at a gun show.
A third resolution targets a law passed in 1996 that prohibits Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) from conducting research on gun violence. In the nearly 20 years since, no federally-funded scientific research on gun violence has been conducted. In the same period, deaths related to gun violence have grown to make up a larger percentage of premature deaths in the United States and are on track to surpass vehicle collisions as the leading cause of death among young people in the country.
“It will be impossible to develop any comprehensive solution to the gun-related death and violence epidemic facing this country without a body of federally-funded research to help identify its root causes,” the resolution read.
Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, commended Los Angeles for being “way ahead” when it comes to gun safety ordinances.
While some gun rights activists question whether the measures would prevent mass gun murders, Bennett said that question misses the point.
“No legislation, no ordinance, no laws are going to prevent all gun violence incidents,” she said. “The idea is to try to prevent some. That’s the case with all the laws we pass. Wearing a seatbelt doesn’t prevent all car-related accidents or deaths.”
Bennett said Women Against Gun Violence is also encouraged about Los Angeles’ new “Lock It Up” campaign.
Hundreds of Los Angeles Department of Transportation DASH buses hit the streets this week outfitted with new, educational advertisements urging Angelenos to “Lock It Up” and safely store firearms.
The ads read: “Lock it Up: Never let your gun get in the wrong hands.”
“It’s the law in Los Angeles to lock up your guns at home and this public awareness campaign will help spread the word across the city,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, 2nd District, who partnered with crime prevention organizations to create the campaign. “There are far too many avoidable tragedies that happen when firearms aren’t stored properly in the home. We are aiming to reduce the likelihood of accidents by getting responsible gun owners to act responsibly and follow the law.”
Los Angeles is the first city in the country to mount such a large-scale public outreach campaign urging gun safety.
“By safely storing your firearm, you’re doing your part to keep those around you safe,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “It’s great to see the community of Los Angeles getting behind this important issue and helping to prevent senseless tragedies.”
In 2015, the Los Angeles City Council passed Krekorian’s landmark law mandating the safe storage of handguns in the home by requiring that handguns be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. The law is meant to make children and families more secure in their homes, schools and around the city by keeping firearms out of the wrong hands. Los Angeles also outlawed the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines (more than 10 rounds) within city limits in 2015.
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1. ALL gun sales in CA require a background check
2. There are no gun shows in the City of Los Angeles.
3. Murders with guns have dropped by 50% over the past 20 years.
Most murders are gang and drug related.