Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz is pushing a complete citywide ban on the possession of guns defined as “assault weapons” under California law, but says it could take a year before the measure is signed into law.
Koretz said although he has opposed legal possession of assault weapons for about 30 years, he decided to propose this motion now because of the frequency of recent mass shootings.
“It’s more obvious that we should not be selling them, but there is also no reason for anyone to possess them,” Koretz said. “So in Los Angeles I wanted to take this to the next step and prevail the legal system to ban the possession of them in LA.”
Local gun control activists appear to be on board with the ban, though the head of one anti-gun group would like to see a compensated confiscation plan added to the gun ban legislation in a misguided attempt to put the proposed law on firmer legal footing.
Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, said her organization would be in favor of an assault weapon ban. The California-based organization was founded in 1993 and has worked to advance gun control and gun safety regulation.
“We did email Councilmember Koretz’s staff, and we will support it by getting our constituents to speak for it and will do whatever we can to make sure that this ordinance passes,” Bennett said.
Although WAGV supports banning the possession of assault weapons, Bennett said the city should prepare a buyback program in order to avoid property concerns.
“I can see how that might be problematic and they might be sued for that because they would have to do an enforced buyback so there would not be a taking of property,” Bennett said. “But hey, we would absolutely support something like that.”
I’m not an attorney, but I don’t think the city government taking guns in exchange for some cash would really help the city’s case if it does put a ban on the books. This isn’t a matter of eminent domain, where the government can acquire private property for a public use as long as it pays fair market value. No, this is taking private property because the government simply doesn’t want you to have it. Even in the bad old days of Prohibition, the alcohol you legally possessed when the ban on booze took effect was yours to keep. Not so with the new prohibitionists. You’re simply told to turn in your gun and accept some cash or else become a criminal.
UCLA law professor Adam Winkler believes the measure will likely pass the LA City Council, and says while he doesn’t expect a local ordinance to have much of an effect, it could lead to similar measures being introduced at the state level or around the country.
Winkler said this law could affect gun regulations in other states and cities, as Los Angeles has historically been at the forefront of gun control and gun safety regulation.
“When Los Angeles banned the possession of high-capacity magazines, it was followed by the state ban thereafter,” Winkler said. “So LA is often a leader in gun safety reforms.”
What Winkler doesn’t say is that the ban on possession of “high capacity” magazines is currently blocked by a federal judge because of concerns that it violates the 2nd Amendment rights of Californians. If banning commonly owned magazines is a violation of the right to keep and bear arms, then a ban on commonly owned firearms is likely to be just as problematic. Not that the constitutionality of a gun control proposal matters to the activists and politicians supporting it. They’ll pass the ban and worry about the legal consequences later. Gun owners in California and across the nation should get ready to see similar bans introduced elsewhere, however. It’s increasingly apparent that the gun control movement believes that the public will support a ban and “buyback”, and are becoming increasingly willing to push the unconstitutional plan wherever they think it might see success.