Gun Control Advocates Stage Rally at Plant : Activism: Protesters outside Bryco Arms, many of them doctors and medical students, urge stronger government regulation.


Shots rang out, and 15 teen-agers fell to the ground. Medics converged.

“I need an IV!’ ordered a medical student.

“This one’s dead!” shouted a paramedic, as the wilted bodies were scooped up and loaded into two ambulances.

It was just a mock shootout, but it symbolized the scourge of gun violence on the nation’s youth, said organizers of a rally Saturday demanding more stringent gun control laws.

About 150 doctors, medical students and Southern California residents, many belonging to the organizing groups--Physicians for Social Responsibility and Orange County Citizens for the Prevention of Gun Violence--picketed in front of Bryco Arms, a handgun manufacturer near John Wayne Airport.


Bryco and five other Southern California plants manufacture 80% of the country’s Saturday night specials, cheap and easily concealed handguns, protesters said.

Known in the gun industry as the “ring of fire,” these companies include Lorcin Engineering and Davis Industries in Mira Loma, Arcadia Machine and Tool in Irwindale, Phoenix Arms of Ontario and Sundance Industries in Valencia. Lorcin Engineering was also picketed Saturday.

State Sen. Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) joined the crowd at Bryco and called for governmental control of the manufacture of handguns, especially the popular Saturday night specials.

“When studies showed motorcycle and bicycle injuries can be prevented with helmets, the Legislature moved in,” Polanco said before the rally. “But when the debate of gun control entered Congress to protect the public, it was defeated.”

In June, Republicans on an Assembly committee defeated Polanco’s bill that would have outlawed Saturday night specials and applied tough federal standards for imported weapons on the manufacture of Saturday night specials in California.

“It makes no sense that we ban the importation of these guns, but we have no standards for the cheap guns manufactured by six Southern California companies here in the United States,” Polanco said.


“We have more government regulation for the manufacture of teddy bears than for guns,” Polanco added, with his 8-year-old daughter, Liana, hugging a stuffed bear beside him.

Representatives of Lorcin Engineering and Bryco Arms could not be reached for comment. The Bryco plant appeared to be closed.

The National Rifle Assn. and opponents of gun control maintain that any adult who is legally able to purchase a firearm should be allowed to carry it concealed. The police, the NRA argues, are unable to protect citizens from criminals and are impeding efforts by citizens to defend themselves.

Scott Weissman, a third-year UC Irvine medical student, said that the physicians group believes gun safety is a public health issue.

“Our main pilosophy is to try to prevent what we can’t cure,” Weissman said. “We see gun violence as a disease that we’re trying to reduce in society.”

Citing a recent study, Weissman said that 1,000 emergency-room patients a year die of gunshot wounds nationally.


“Guns are bleeding into our communities and across the country,” said Mary Leigh Blek, founder of the Orange County gun violence prevention group, whose son was killed last May by a Saturday night special. “The gun that was used to kill my beloved son was very likely produced here in Orange County.”