The City Council has voted 4 to 1 to send a letter to state legislators and Gov. George Deukmejian asking them to approve a ban on military assault weapons.
The action came after Councilman Richard Alexander, who cast the dissenting vote, spoke against a ban and displayed several semiautomatic weapons.
Alexander argued that the real problem is a drug war over crack cocaine that has put high-powered firearms in the hands of drug dealers and gangs. He said he doubts that gun owners will willingly surrender their firearms to local authorities or that taxpayers will want to compensate them for giving up the weapons. Cities that have made hand guns illegal, he said, still have high murder rates.
“The individual who shoots the firearm should be treated as a criminal,” Alexander said. “It’s the machine he uses that you’re criminalizing.”
Councilman Steven Gourley responded: “I agree that it (the ban) won’t solve the problems of drugs and a great number of issues in our society, but we have to start addressing some of these tough issues. If we don’t have the laws, we just express (the message) that we don’t care about the problem.”