Los Angeles Times

Ammo law grace period ends

No owners turned in high-capacity firearm magazines before start of ban, LAPD says.

- By Emily Alpert Reyes emily.alpert@latimes.com

When Los Angeles lawmakers passed a new ban on possessing firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, they warned Angelenos that they had a limited amount of time to get rid of them.

The city rules offered a few ways to do so, including turning them in to the police.

But when the ban went into effect Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department said nobody had handed over the devices. As of Thursday evening, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said none had been surrendere­d at Los Angeles police stations in the last 60 days — the grace period allowed under the city ordinance for the ammunition magazines to be turned in, removed or otherwise transferre­d.

Gun owners may have taken other legal steps to get rid of the banned devices, such as storing them outside city limits. “Either people are willfully disobeying the law or they’ve chosen some other way to comply,” said CalGuns Shooting Sports Assn. director Chad Cheung, who joined the California Rifle & Pistol Assn. and other critics in suing Los Angeles over the new law.

Cheung said he was using “legal means,” which he declined to specify, to follow the new law. His group distribute­d a legal guide for gun owners that listed several options in addition to handing them in at police stations during the grace period, including selling or transferri­ng the banned magazines to a federally licensed firearms dealer or permanentl­y altering them to take fewer rounds of ammunition.

The rifle group also cautioned gun owners against turning in the banned magazines after the grace period was over, saying they could be subject to prosecutio­n. Smith disputed that idea, saying that Angelenos could still surrender the ammunition magazines at any L.A. police station without fear of arrest.

Backers of the law say it is far too soon to gauge whether it will have a meaningful effect. “We have done outreach to encourage compliance, but like anything, it is going to take some time to sink in,” said Ian Thompson, spokesman for City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who championed the new law.

Los Angeles lawmakers voted earlier this year for the new rules. Gun control activists argued the ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would help reduce the deadly violence of mass shootings by forcing attackers to stop sooner to reload.

Gun rights advocates have challenged the L.A. ban in court, arguing that it is preempted by California law and adds to a confusing “patchwork quilt” of local laws for gun owners traveling around the state.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently denied their request to immediatel­y stop the law from going into effect, allowing the ban to be enforced while the court battle continues.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States