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Santa Monica Drafting 'Cutting Edge' Gun Law
By Jorge Casuso
June 15, 2023 -- The City Council on Tuesday unanimously directed staff to draft an ordinance that would be the "best gold standard" for placing restrictions on gun sales and ownership.
The measure -- which must be prepared within 60 days -- could ban the display of guns at the city's only licensed gun retailer and impose an annual fee on gun owners to pay for gun safety programs.
It also could require that gun sales be videotaped and that gun owners safely store guns at home and in vehicles, report guns that are lost or stolen and carry liability insurance.
"We want to make it as difficult as possible for (guns) to get into the hands of folks who might do something," said Councilmember Caroline Torosis, who co-sponsored the discussion item.
"I think that we have some additional work to do to be the best gold standard," she said.
Councilmember Jesse Zwick, who along with Mayor Gleam Davis co-sponsored the item, said, "We want to be limiting guns getting into the hands of people, whether it be our youth or those contemplating suicide or any number of other issues."
Councilmember Phil Brock noted that Big 5 Sporting Goods was the only store in the City licensed to sell guns and worried that restricting that right could open the City up to a legal challenge.
City Attorney Doug Sloan said that could be a possibility. "Big 5 is grandfathered in," he said. "They currently have the right to sell, so if you take away the right, that's a property right that we may have to pay for."
Sloan said his office has been exploring "some things we might be able to do," including measures taken up by other cities.
"For example, could we restrict display of guns where they have to be stored in a back room and only brought out on request of a customer?" he said. "There are some things like that we could do."
"We're already working on some of this, and we're looking at all the restrictions that you all discussed," Sloan said.
"This will be pushing it, the cutting edge," Sloan said.
The vote comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that requiring a "proper cause" to carry a concealed weapon violates the 14th Amendment, spurring an influx of license applications.
In March, the City Council increased the concealed carry weapon (CCW) licensing fee by more than four times what the LA County Sheriff's Department had been charging ("Council Sets Fees for Concealed Carry Weapon Licenses," March 15, 2023).
The Council also directed staff to explore banning legally carried guns in certain public spaces.
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