LA County Considers Tightening Gun Laws After Florida Shooting

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Officials in Los Angeles County agreed Tuesday to review a set of ordinances to tighten gun-control laws in the region, including a ban on .50-caliber handguns, no-sale buffer zones around schools and age restrictions to purchase and own firearms.

The proposal comes a month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed. Since then discussion surrounding gun control and Second Amendment rights have played out in legislative forums across the nation.

As part of the debate, the LA County Board of Supervisors asked legal counsel to review age restrictions for the sale or possession of firearms, a ban on .50-caliber handguns and barring gun shops from setting up near schools and day cares in the county.

The bevvy of ordinances was called long overdue by gun-control advocates at Tuesday’s board meeting. Officials also asked the County Department of Public Health to coordinate violence prevention, which will include mental health services and domestic violence among other factors.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “I believe we must shift the debate and create a new narrative that is designed to, with laser-like focus, combat the issue.”

County counsel will report back within two months on the feasibility to adopt the ordinances.

Tuesday’s proposal follows criminal charges against two men who police say improperly stored their firearms. The charges stem from investigations into threats at two LA-area schools made by the sons of the men charged.

California law requires all firearms and ammunition to be locked up when not in use. Police say that in both cases, the boys suspected of making threats had easy access to their fathers’ unsecured guns and ammunition.

Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra highlighted the seizure of guns from people prohibited from owning them over the last week, including convicted felons and those listed in a national database. The guns seized include 6 assault weapons, 11 rifles, 3 shotguns, 5 handguns, 10,000 rounds of ammunition and 3 grenade launchers, according to the state Department of Justice.

Two of the assault weapons seized contain parts without serial numbers and are equipped with bump stocks, the same modification used in last year’s mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. California banned bump stocks in 1990.

Also Tuesday, Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, introduced legislation to require middle and high schools across California to have a mental-health counselor to identify potential threats to schools before they occur. Cooper said a fee on the sale of all firearms and ammunition would be deposited into a “School Gun Violence Protection Fund” to help schools pay for the counselors.

The bill, AB 2497, will be taken up by the Legislature soon, Cooper said in a statement.

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