LA County supervisors want gun registry, insurance and storage mandates for gun owners

AP Photo/Morgan Lee

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is taking another step towards implementing a new wave of gun control restrictions aimed at federally licensed firearms retailers and individual gun owners in the unincorporated parts of the county. Tuesday’s board of supervisors agenda includes several items that should be concerning to gun owners, including a plan to establish a gun registration system. The agenda item, if approved, would direct the county attorney to:


Report back to the Board in 90 days with options for draft ordinance language that would mandate liability insurance for gun owners in the County and the feasibility of implementing a County gun registry, or in coordination with the Sheriff’s Department, ways to use existing data/records to create a gun database that is easily accessible for law enforcement first responders.

This registry and/or database would only cover legal gun owners, of course, and non-compliance would be a huge issue. There are plenty of current gun owners in L.A. County who simply wouldn’t comply, and those moving into the county from somewhere else might not even know the registration requirement exists. I’m actually curious to see how feasible the county attorney thinks this might be in theory, but in practice this registry would be nothing more than another burden placed on responsible gun owners at the expense of their Second Amendment rights.

The same goes for the mandatory insurance requirement being eyed by the same supervisors; a measure that’s already been put in place up in San Jose. Groups like the California Rifle & Pistol Association say they’re readying challenges to the San Jose measure based on Second Amendment grounds, and L.A. County’s proposed ordinance would face the same problem that San Jose’s ordinance poses: there’s no real historical evidence to support the notion that these laws are constitutional. 19th century “surety” laws that required some individuals believed to pose a heightened risk of dangerousness to post a bond before they could lawfully carry probably come closest, but even then those individuals were the exception and not the rule, unlike San Jose’s ordinance that targets all legal gun owners and threatens them with fines and the loss of their legally-owned firearms if they don’t comply.


While L.A. County supervisors are trying to infringe on the rights of individual gun owners, including creating new “gun-free zones” where lawful concealed carry would be banned, they’re also taking aim at gun stores in the unincorporated areas of the county under their control.

The motion calls for development of ordinances that would forbid sales of handguns or ammunition of .50 caliber or more and the carrying of firearms except by sworn officers on county property, such as parks. People under 21 would not be allowed into gun showrooms, and dealers would be required to have video cameras installed to tape all store transactions. It would further require “buffer zones” between gun stores and “sensitive areas” such as schools.

It would also require gun vendors to keep a ledger of local gun sales along with fingerprints of purchasers and that all privately owned firearms be kept under lock and key.

The board last year backed the measures, directing its attorneys to draft the ordinances and bring them back for a vote.

Again, from a practical standpoint these measures are absolutely worthless, at least in terms of preventing crime. If the goal is to run gun stores out of the county, on the other hand, they may be more successful… at least if they’re allowed to be enforced. I can’t imagine many would-be gun owners in the county will allow themselves to be treated like a criminal (including being fingerprinted) when they could drive to neighboring Orange County instead and suffer slightly fewer indignities by purchasing a firearm there.
Tuesday’s action isn’t expected to include a final vote on any of these ordinances, but their eventual passage is virtually guaranteed thanks to the far-left politicians who dominate the board, and litigation is a certainty as well once these bad ideas have been turned into law. If you’re an L.A. County resident who’ll be impacted by these proposals stay tuned, because groups like California Rifle & Pistol Association and Gun Owners of California are probably going to be looking for some plaintiffs willing to challenge these infringements in court before long.

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