Editorial: L.A. needs these sensible gun-control measures
Last week, it was a movie theater in Lafayette, La. The week before, it was two military centers in Chattanooga, Tenn. Before that it was the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, S.C. The mass shootings are like a steady drumbeat, and intermingled with them are the daily smaller-scale killings in homes, streets, schools and workplaces. And judging by the insufficient political pressure on Congress to force meaningful gun control, the body politic is satisfied with the bloody status quo, even as it laments each atrocity.
FOR THE RECORD
Gun control: A July 28 editorial said a proposed L.A. gun control ordinance applied to high-capacity magazines holding “10 or more rounds.” The measure, which was passed, applies to magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Yet Congress isn’t the only body that can deal with gun control. The Los Angeles City Council has a chance Tuesday to push forward two measures that would make the city a little safer. One would ban possession of the high-capacity ammunition magazines that allow automatic and semiautomatic weapons to fire multiple rounds, pushing up death tolls in mass shootings. The other would require owners to lock up their handguns or use trigger locks when the weapons are not being carried, which could help reduce accidental discovery and shootings, particularly by children.
Both measures are offered by Councilman Paul Krekorian, who has resisted efforts by Councilmen Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino to amend the trigger-lock measure to exempt retired police officers and people who have been issued concealed-weapons permits. The proposed ordinance already excuses active-duty and reserve police officers under the argument that they are highly trained and face an unusual level of risk of attack due to the nature of their work.
Krekorian is right to resist adding the exemptions. The arguments for them aren’t persuasive. Even if you accept that retired officers have an elevated risk of being attacked (which hasn’t been proved), a police officer’s unattended weapons are just as susceptible to getting picked up by a child or an untrained person as anyone else’s. In fact, so far this year two children of law enforcement officers, one in Gilroy and one in Fresno, have been wounded accidentally by their parents’ unattended handguns.
We’d like to see the City Council pass the trigger-lock ordinance Tuesday without the unnecessary exemptions. And banning magazines that can hold 10 or more rounds is smart policy too. State law already bars their sale; this would make it illegal to own them in Los Angeles. No civilian needs that kind of killing capacity. While these steps may be small when measured against the broader backdrop of gun violence in the country, they are still well worth taking.
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