Three of five members of the Glendale City Council said last week that they support legislation to regulate, although not ban, the sale of military-style rifles. The other two council members opposed the idea, however, and one supporter was lukewarm.
Councilman John F. Day asked the city staff to draft an ordinance to regulate sales of assault weapons such as the Uzi and the AK-47, which police say are becoming the weapons of choice of gang members and drug dealers.
Day said he had not decided what regulations he will support. "Personally, I'd like to ban them altogether, but the ordinance I'd propose would be to impose some kind of regulation," Day said.
Council members Larry Zarian and Ginger Bremberg said they would support such a proposal.
City Manager David Ramsay said the draft ordinance will be ready in two to three weeks. He said it will be based on laws in other cities.
A handful of gun shops in Glendale would be affected.
In reaction to last month's Stockton schoolyard massacre, in which a drifter killed five children and injured 27 with a military-style rifle, the cities of Los Angeles, Stockton, Carson, Bellflower, Compton and Gardena in California and Cleveland, Ohio, have banned the sales of assault rifles.
Other cities are studying similar bans.
"There's a momentum going on against the sale of these weapons," Day said. "I don't think it's ever gone this far. I hope to continue that momentum here in Glendale so that the state will feel the pressure and take action against assault rifles, and eventually the pressure will reach the federal government."
'Kill Other People'
"The only reason people buy Uzis and AK-47s is to kill other people," Bremberg said. "If the buyer is in such a hurry to kill somebody, I guess we can make him wait."
Bremberg said she would favor imposing waiting periods and background checks similar to those in place for automatic weapons.
The assault weapons are legal as long as they are adjusted for semiautomatic fire, one shot per trigger pull.
Zarian said he would support an ordinance with "great reservations." He said only a federal law could have an impact on crime.
"I don't like panic legislation," Zarian said. He said he would rather spend the city's time and effort in educating residents about the use of guns.
Councilman Jerold Milner and Mayor Carl Raggio said they would oppose the ordinance.
They said regulating gun sales at the city level would be an exercise in futility since buyers can go elsewhere.
"I think the state should do something about it, but I don't think they have the guts," Milner said.
Raggio pointed out that Patrick Purdy, the gunman in the Stockton massacre, bought his rifle in Oregon.
"This is not a local issue," Raggio said. "Unfortunately, criminals don't respect city limits."
Pending legislation in Sacramento would outlaw the manufacture and sale of certain weapons such as the AK-47 and would establish a commission to determine the acceptability of other firearms as they come onto the market.