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Petition aims to ban semiautomatic and automatic weapons from Huntington Beach

A SWAT team member shoots a target with a 9mm automatic rifle. A Huntington Beach resident is seeking signatures for a petition that would ban automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the city.
A SWAT team member shoots a target with a 9mm automatic rifle. A Huntington Beach resident is seeking signatures for a petition that would ban automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the city.
(File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

A longtime Huntington Beach resident is circulating a petition that seeks to ban semiautomatic and automatic guns in the city, contending such weapons are a “clear and imminent danger to the community.”

Dan Horgan, a local real estate agent and mortgage broker, said in an interview Thursday that he is tired of hearing about shootings involving such weapons “over and over and over.”

“I see this as getting worse, not better,” Horgan said. “I can let it bother me or I can do something about it. … These assault rifles don’t have any place in modern society, in my opinion.”

Horgan’s proposed law would make possession and sale of semiautomatic and automatic firearms in Huntington Beach a felony by April 1, 2019. Such weapons already in circulation would have to be surrendered to the Police Department by Jan. 1, though there would be a three-month probationary period to comply.

Horgan’s Committee to Reduce Gun Violence needs about 12,000 signatures from Huntington Beach registered voters by June 2 for the measure to qualify for the Nov. 6 election ballot, City Clerk Robin Estanislau said.

Horgan, a Huntington Beach resident since 1984, filed a notice of intent to circulate the petition in November. He said Thursday that he is “quite a ways away” from the 12,000-signature goal and has been getting the word out mainly via direct mailers.

“All I’m interested in here is helping stem the flow of these guns,” he said. “We’re at war. This is going to keep happening.”

Horgan’s petition has caught the attention of the California Rifle & Pistol Assn., a Fullerton-based gun-rights advocacy group.

In a post on its website, the association called the proposal “plainly unconstitutional” and part of an effort by “anti-gun proponents” to “eviscerate the Second Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution] in California.”

“Our members should be aware that at this stage in the process, there is nothing that can be done to legally challenge the petition,” the group stated. “But rest assured, [National Rife Assn.] and CRPA attorneys are watching and will be ready to file suit if necessary to stop this unconstitutional proposal from taking effect.”

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint


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