LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted to exempt retired law enforcement officers from the city's ban on possessing large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The vote to adopt the ordinance amending sections of the Los Angeles Municipal Code passed 11-4. Subject to approval by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the new regulations will exempt retired peace officers and qualified reserve peace officers.
Mitchell Englander, who tabled the motion, said in the face of opposition to the motion from councilmember Paul Koretz that it would be wrong to criminalize officers for carrying the magazines.
"It's only for what the officers have been carrying and are trained with and for not criminalizing police officers who have served for 30 or 40 years," Englander said.
Koretz said he would support the motion if Englander agreed to sever the exemption for retired law enforcement officers and wondered if it was "good policy" to allow retired officers to arm themselves with high-capacity magazines.
"If we were talking about taking all guns away from retired officers, I would oppose that but what we're talking about is large-capacity guns and in that case I'm not sure there are many cases that you could point to that you absolutely needed to spray 20 or 30 bullets to make a situation go as you would want to," Koretz said.
The councilman said there was a "danger" that retired officers could have mental health issues years or decades after they retire from the LAPD.
"There's nothing magical that keeps them from being an active shooter," Koretz said. "It's not going to happen very often but it doesn't happen that often with any particular occupation or segment of society."
Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told the council that all the officers under the exemption are properly trained to use high-capacity weapons. Albanese noted that a Beretta is a "very common law enforcement" firearm and holds 15 rounds instead of 10.
"In a situation where we have an active shooter where a reserve may be present, in my professional opinion I would want that retired officer to have the 15 and not the 10," Albanese said.
Noting that LA has the toughest gun safety laws of any city in the nation, Englander said that the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act already allows retired peace officers to carry concealed weapons but only firearms they have been trained to use.
David Michaelson of the City Attorney's Office said that the ordinance includes severability provisions that would give the courts the option of carving out sections of the law while leaving the rest of the ordinance intact.
The full list of those exempt from the magazine ban include officers, agents, employees of members of U.S. armed forces and peace officers, retired peace officers who have valid license to carry concealed weapons, and any qualified retired reserve peace officer.
Councilmember Paul Krekorian wrote the gun magazine ordinance passed by the city council in July. It bars the possession of magazines holding ten or more rounds within city limits.
Garcetti signed the ordinance into law in early August.
Los Angeles is the largest city in the state to pass the restrictions on high-capacity magazines, closing a loophole that exists in state law.
The deadline for removing high-capacity magazines from the city was Nov. 17. Owners were also permitted to surrender the magazines to the Los Angeles Police Department for transfer, sale or destruction.
In October, gun rights advocates and Los Angeles County sheriff deputies filed a lawsuit challenging the city's ban. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant declined to delay the ban in a November ruling.
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