Assault Weapons Sales to End : L.A. Police Chief Hails Decision by Gun Store

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates appeared in Costa Mesa on Monday to commend a decision by one of Orange County’s largest gun sellers to stop carrying military assault weapons like one that was used to kill five elementary school students in Stockton last week.

Gates appeared at a news conference at the Grant Boys store to lend his support to the business and to encourage other gun sellers to follow the example, LAPD spokesman Cmdr. William Booth said.

Randy Garell, president of the Grant Boys store, said Friday that he would cease selling all semi-automatic assault weapons after his current stock is depleted and that he would contact local law enforcement agencies about purchasing his merchandise.

Gates “thinks these military assault weapons have no place in general society. They are designed to kill people on the battlefield,” Booth said. Gates has sent a letter to Gov. George Deukmejian in support of legislation that would ban the manufacture and sale of such guns, Booth said.


Gates was disturbed to hear that sales of the military-style weapons were on the increase at many gun stores in the wake of publicity about the Stockton shooting, Booth said, and was pleased to hear of the decision of the Grant Boys’ store owner.

“He compliments the Grant Boys store for this kind of response and thinks it is the kind of thing that other gun stores should do, too,” Booth said.

Booth said Gates was invited to a news conference at the store after Garell received many requests for interviews by the news media, particularly television news crews.

Costa Mesa Police Chief Dave Snowden was also on hand to lend support. Snowden could not be reached later Monday for comment.

Garell said Friday that he decided to stop selling the weapons because he was “greatly disturbed” by the schoolyard killings by Patrick Edward Purdy, an unemployed drifter with a Chinese-made AK-47 semiautomatic rifle and a handgun.

His decision was prompted, Garell said, by Gates and others calling for a statewide ban on the weapons.