Defying sharp warnings from gun rights groups, Los Angeles thrust itself into the national debate over gun control as city lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the possession of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, the Los Angeles Times reports. Such magazines have been “the common thread” in almost all major mass shootings in the U.S., from Newtown to Virginia Tech to Columbine, said Juliet Leftwich of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Backers of the plan said it was a small but meaningful step to minimize the bloodshed, by forcing attackers to at least interrupt their rampages to stop and reload.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups threatened to sue over Los Angeles' new rules, arguing that they violate the 2nd Amendment and are preempted by existing state law. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds “are in common use for self defense and they are overwhelmingly chosen for that purpose,” said attorney Anna Barvir, representing the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association. Councilman Paul Krekorian declared before a cheering crowd outside City Hall, “If the NRA wants to sue us over this, bring it on.” Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was eager to sign the measure, which passed 12-0 with three members absent. Some gun control activists were dismayed to hear about a proposal to exempt retired police officers from the rules, an 11th-hour change sought by the union that represents Los Angeles police. California law already bans the manufacturing and sale of such large-capacity magazines. State law does not prohibit people from possessing them, which Krekorian and others argued is a “loophole” that jeopardizes public safety.