Bass grilled in LA mayors debate over gun storage and theft of her firearms

AP Photo/John McCoy, File

Los Angeles mayoral candidate and Democratic congresswoman Karen Bass was pressed to explain some of the more puzzling aspects of the recent theft of two guns from her home during Wednesday night’s debate with challenger Rick Caruso, including whether or not her guns were properly stored and, if so, why they were the only items taken from her home when strangers allegedly broke in.

Caruso had several pointed questions for Bass, including specifics about the type of firearms that were stolen and whether or not the congresswoman was in compliance with LA’s “very detailed” gun storage law. Bass, for her part, feigned offense at the line of questioning from her opponent.

Bass said she was “disheartened” by Caruso’s questioning and insisted everything was proper.

“My home was burglarized, I called the police, and later they arrested two suspects,” she said. “And the storage and registration were 100% legal.”

The Democrat then fired back with an accusation of her own.

“I think this is an act of desperation, Rick,” she said, mentioning the letter from [Los Angeles City Council member Joe] Buscaino “calling for me to be investigated for the theft that happened at my house.”

Bass then turned to Caruso and said she was “disappointed” because when his property The Grove was burglarized she called him to ask how he was.

“And instead you call on me to prove one thing or another and then the councilman calls on me to be investigated?” she asked.

By all accounts Karen Bass was the victim of a crime, but it’s understandable that there are some questions surrounding the theft of her guns. Bass has previously said that the firearms were stored in a locked box out of sight, which makes you wonder how the thieves knew where to look and why her firearms (identified as .38 caliber revolvers in the police report filed after the incident) were apparently the only things they were interested in.

REP. BASS’ CENTRAL TAKE: “Well, I came home one evening to see my house in disarray, and it was very traumatic… [the guns] were registered. They were locked in a safe box. And they were stashed away in a closet… you know, Angelinos all around the city are not feeling safe, and I did feel safe until my safety was shattered like so many Angelinos…

I don’t know that it makes me think any different, because I thought from the beginning that the number one job of the mayor is to make sure that Angelinos are safe. In many neighborhoods, people don’t feel safe, they would like to see an increased presence of police officers. My position then, and my position no, is that for those neighborhoods that want to see an increased presence, then the quickest way to get officers on the street is to get them from behind the desk. It takes a long time to hire – we definitely need to hire – but we need to get officers on the street as fast as possible…”

I don’t think Bass is involved in any sort of criminal conspiracy here, but I also get why Caruso and others have questions for the pro-gun control politician. Not only is it odd that her guns were the only things stolen from her home, her high-profile support for restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms make this story a little more interesting than the average home break-in.

The two men arrested for the crime have pled not guilty, and the guns stolen from Bass’s home have yet to be recovered, so expect these questions to linger. I doubt it’s going to be the overriding issue in the LA mayor’s race, but if nothing else it gives Caruso the opportunity to take Bass and other progressives to task for focusing so much of their energy on going after legal gun owners instead of cracking down on criminal behavior.