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City Hall Backs Ban on High-Capacity Gun Magazines

Frances Vega |
March 4, 2011 | 1:56 p.m. PST

Associate Entertainment Editor


High-Capacity Magazine on Hand Gun (Courtesy Creative Commons)
High-Capacity Magazine on Hand Gun (Courtesy Creative Commons)
Los Angeles City officials announced their support Wednesday of a proposed federal bill that would ban large ammunition magazines like the one used in the recent Tucson shooting. 

 “You know the US has got to get beyond its fascination with unrestricted access to fire arms and recognize that a civilized society does not need implements of war in the hands of its citizenry in order for home protection,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in an interview later. “There is no need for magazine capacity above 10 rounds in civilian hands.” 

Beck, City Council President Eric Garcetti, City Councilmember Paul Koretz, and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich held a press conference urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R. 308. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) sponsored the federal law that would prohibit magazines holding more than 10 rounds. A magazine is an ammunition feeding and storage device used in automatic and semiautomatic weapons.

The large capacity magazine that was used in the recent Arizona shooting allowed the gunman to fire more than 30 bullets in 15 seconds. Officials cited other deadly shootings that involved high capacity magazines including the one at Virginia Tech in 2007, which killed 33 people. 

“Looking at it through the eyes of the recent massacre that we’ve had and the fact that many of those people would in all likelihood not have been shot if the shooter was limited to a 10-bullet clip rather than a 30-bullet clip, [the ban] makes so much sense,” Koretz said in an interview later.  

Large capacity ammunition magazines were illegal up until 2004. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 law expired in 2004 and was not renewed by Congress.

“Large capacity ammunition magazines have no business being on our streets,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. 

Garcetti and Koretz co-authored the resolution to officially support H.R. 308. New York City is currently the only other city with a similar resolution. 

 “It’s important to support it because the city of LA has some good gun laws that actually reflect H.R. 308 but the city is not an island,” Police Chief Beck said. “It’s surrounded by multiple other municipalities and other states that do not have these laws.”

Even with support from LA and NY, chances of the bill’s passage are considered slim because of strong opposition from gun-rights advocates.

“Well we’re going to do whatever we can to help lobby for it. It’s not going to be easy. The current make up of the House of Representatives is very pro gun,” said Koretz.

The National Rifle Association released a statement on its website after the bill was proposed stating that the bill violates individuals’ constitutional right to bear arms. They also said the bill would not stop criminals from obtaining large capacity firearms. 

A father whose son was murdered by gang members a few years ago partly agreed with the NRA’s sentiment. John Maldonado of Fountain Valley, CA said he did not understand how a law would prevent guns from being sold on the black market. 

 “Really what’s the point because there’s still going to be guns out there,” Maldonado said. “It only took four bullets to kill Matthew so what good is it? All guns are dangerous if they’re in the wrong hands.” 

LA officials said they support the ban despite some of the concerns that have been raised.  They also said the second amendment is not limitless.

“Well I think it’s certainly a debatable issue. The constitution provides the rights for individuals to bear arms but certainly it does not provide an unlimited right,” Koretz said in an interview later. “There’s no indication in the Constitution that somebody could walk around with a bazooka in front of the White House and that would be perfectly acceptable.”


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