LA County's coming crackdown on gun stores

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen California lawmakers approved almost a dozen new gun control measures, and now the state’s most populous county is getting ready to impose some new local laws of their own. Los Angeles County supervisors are set to move forward today on a series of ordinances aimed at gun stores and gun owners in unincorporated areas of the county.

While at least one of the proposed ordinances would impose a ban on concealed carry on all county property, most of the measures are directed towards those who lawfully sell firearms in the county, including a ban on the sale of “.50 caliber handguns and ammunition” and the establishment of a “buffer zone between gun and/or ammunition dealers and sensitive areas (e.g., schools, day cares, parks)”. Other ordinances under consideration would impose a host of new bureaucratic regulations on FFLs in Los Angeles County.

The motion also would direct county staff to draft within 90 days a series of other regulations, including requiring ammunition dealers to obtain a county business license; restricting minors’ access to gun and ammunition stores; requiring such stores to submit annual sales reports to the county licensing agency and to submit weekly reports on inventory. The rules would also require weapons and ammunition stores to maintain a fingerprint log, install security cameras and notify all of its customers about “gun owner responsibilities and gun laws along with options for nearby gun safety classes.”

Keep in mind that all of these restrictions would be imposed on top of all of the state-level laws that FFLs are already required to follow, including a 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases, background checks on every ammunition purchase, a valid “Sellers Certificate” obtained from the State Board of Equalization, a Certificate of Eligibility obtained by the state Department of Justice, a listing on the state’s Centralized List of Firearms Dealers. Additionally, every employee of a gun shop must obtain a separate Certificate of Eligibility before they’re allowed to so much as touch a firearm inside the store.

If all this red tape actually worked to prevent violent crime, we probably wouldn’t be seeing homicides reach their highest level in 15 years in the city of Los Angeles. Instead of ensuring that the perpetrators of these crimes are caught, prosecuted, and face consequences, however, Los Angeles County has far-left District Attorney George Gascon in charge of prosecutions, and his soft-on-crime approach is definitely having an impact… just not a positive one.

The California penal code has more than 100 enhancements that could add time to a convict’s sentence depending on the situation, most of which date back to when California was facing soaring crime in the 1980s and 1990s.

But under Gascon’s reign, the use of those enhancements have been greatly reduced, with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office 5,138 enhancements during his first three months – a 71 percent drop when compared to the same time the year before.

His first three months also saw prosecutors filing only 106 gun enhancements – an 85 percent decrease.

Gascon also barred prosecutors from charging juveniles as adults, regardless of the severity of their alleged crimes.

The new rules aimed at restricting where concealed carry holders can exercise their right to bear arms and wrapping FFLs in a layer of red tape are almost certain to be approved by county supervisors, though it will likely be a few months before the proposed ordinances are ready for a final vote. Between now and then we’ll likely see thousands of county residents apply for a concealed handgun permit of their own, but we may also see many of the current FFLs in the county investigate a move to nearby counties that aren’t quite as hostile to the Second Amendment as we’ve seen in L.A. I wouldn’t blame anyone in the business of selling firearms for wanting to get out of Los Angeles County or California in general, and these proposed restrictions may end up being the final straw for some FFLs in southern California.