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L.A. County supervisors OK motion to study stricter gun laws

L.A. County supervisors OK motion to study stricter gun laws
Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas, seen in 2015, co-authored a motion approved Tuesday to explore options for regulating firearms in Los Angeles County. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to explore options for regulating firearms, including restricting sales to anyone under 21, banning .50-caliber handguns, strengthening safe storage laws and prohibiting gun sales near schools.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended the review.

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“This is a very important motion to me and, I think, to many others who have contacted us after yet another mass shooting in this country,” Kuehl said. “A lot of people have said what can we do, what can we do?“

Kuehl said she believed the motion, co-authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, was an answer of sorts.

It calls for a review of four regulations that have already been successfully implemented by other California counties and cities and were cited in a 2017 county report requested in the wake of the 2015 terrorist attack on San Bernardino County employees.

Supervisor Janice Hahn asked that the review be expanded to consider a ban on assault weapons and a law to prevent individuals on the federal no-fly list or convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning weapons.

The motion also directs county staffers to develop a prevention plan that looks beyond guns to include other forms of violence, such as elder abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. Current county efforts are marked by a lack of coordination between departments, according to the motion.

“We put a lot of money into treating trauma [and] medical treatment [and] the results of violence,” Kuehl said. “We do not, as yet, invest very much in prevention.”

Ridley-Thomas said the issue of gun violence is bigger than the headlines that follow tragic mass shootings, noting that more than 30,000 Americans die every year from gunshot wounds.

“My view is we have no choice but to do this,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Many advocates of gun control turned out in support.

“We need to stand up to the NRA,” said Jenna Schwartz of Moms Demand Action. “We need to stop trying to put band-aids on bullet holes.”

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