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Panel OKs gun control package

Reston is a Times staff writer.

The Public Safety Committee of the Los Angeles City Council approved a package of gun control measures Monday that would make it easier for landlords to evict tenants with illegal firearms and ammunition, place new requirements on ammunition vendors and allow the city to permanently seize cars from some gang members.

The measures were introduced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Councilmen Greig Smith and Jack Weiss, a candidate for city attorney, in May as part of the mayor’s antigang initiative.

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo appeared at the news conference to show support for the efforts.

Delgadillo spoke in favor of the measure to seize vehicles used by gang members, which originated in his office according to his staff.

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Under the eviction measure proposed by Weiss and council members Janice Hahn and Eric Garcetti, landlords could evict a tenant who illegally used guns or ammunition within 1,000 feet of a rental property.

The committee also approved measures requiring ammunition vendors to obtain permits from the Police Commission for sales and to conduct those sales face-to-face with buyers.

Under one of the proposed ordinances, the employees handling ammunition would also be subject to a background check.

Another measure creates a requirement for gun dealers to inspect their inventory twice a year -- reporting any lost or stolen weapons to the Police Department and providing an affidavit of the inspections.

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The committee also approved an ordinance banning the sale of .50-caliber ammunition.

Rhonda Foster, whose 7-year-old son Evan was killed in Inglewood’s Darby Park in 1997 by a gunman wielding an assault-style weapon, spoke in favor of the measure at the meeting.

No one spoke in opposition to the measures at Monday’s committee meeting.

But Long Beach attorney C.D. Michel, the law partner of city attorney candidate Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich, wrote a letter to several of the committee members accusing Weiss of politicizing the issue to benefit his campaign for city attorney.

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Michel, who wrote the letter on behalf of clients -- the National Rifle Assn. and the California Rifle and Pistol Assn. -- said the majority of the measures were “costly, naive and ineffective policy” -- arguing that a number of the proposals were likely to face legal challenge and that others were redundant because they address areas already covered by state law.

Weiss noted that lawyers for the city attorney believe the ordinances are legally defensible.

“I’ve prosecuted gun crimes as a federal prosecutor, and I’m proud that I’ve worked on gun legislation my entire time in the City Council. It’s a sick industry, and this is the type of charge we expect from them,” he said.

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maeve.reston@latimes.com


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