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LA County Moves Forward On Gun Control Measures, But Could Face Legal Challenges

Three Asian women wearing winter coats kneel in front of dozens of candles. One woman lights incense using one of the votive candles while another places tea candles in a heart formation on the ground. Their faces are illuminated by the warm glow of candlelight.
Mourners light candles at the vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park. In the wake of the mass shooting, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is moving to adopt a series of gun control measures.
(Samanta Helou Hernandez
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In the wake of the Monterey Park shooting that killed 11 people, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed two gun control regulations this week that will apply to unincorporated parts of the county if they move forward. The board is also exploring the legality of several other proposed measures in the coming months.

On Tuesday, the board voted to:

  • Ban the sale of .50-caliber guns and bullets
  • Ban people from carrying guns on county property, like parks and beaches, even if they have a concealed carry permit 

The ordinances only apply to unincorporated parts of the county, like Rowland Heights, East Los Angeles, and other areas of the county that aren’t their own cities. The measures are set to go into effect 30 days after a second hearing, but it’s very likely they’ll face legal challenges, said Adam Winkler, a professor of law at the University of California Los Angeles.

“Gun rights advocates are very incentivized to bring challenges to gun laws,” Winkler said. “The Supreme Court has raised the bar for any gun violence prevention law to be constitutional.”

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The Supreme Court last year ruled to overturn a 100-year-old law in New York that restricted carrying concealed guns in public. L.A. County supervisors on Tuesday acknowledged the recent court decision, and have asked county attorneys to report back on other proposed measures.

More action on tightening local gun laws could be coming. Over the next several weeks, the board is looking into regulations that would:

  • Require gun owners in L.A. County to keep their guns in locked containers in their homes or disable them with a trigger lock (state law currently requires owners to keep their guns secured if there’s a child in the house)
  • Require gun owners to have liability insurance
  • Create a county gun registry or database
  • Require 1,000-foot buffer zones between gun stores and “sensitive areas” like schools
  • Ban minors from entering gun stores 
  • Require firearms dealers to maintain a fingerprint log, security cameras, and an up-to-date gun inventory

The proposed measures come after a June motion that called for more gun regulations in the county after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“I did not imagine then when it came time to implement those regulations, we would be in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in Los Angeles County's history. But here we are facing a gun violence epidemic that continues to devastate our communities,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.

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