California already has some of the nation's most stringent gun laws. But in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, L.A. officials are pushing for new restrictions at the local level.
The issue has become particularly potent in the campaign for L.A. city attorney. Today, incumbent Carmen Trutanich announced today that he would back an effort by Councilman Paul Krekorian to ban the possession of high-capacity magazines.
His top challenger, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, is seeking to own the issue, today unveiling an array of new gun control measures he would support if elected.
Feuer argued for a new ordinance that would require ammunition sales be reported to the LAPD within five days. Another ordinance would call for reporting of bulk ammunition sales within 24 hours. Feuer also said he would back Krekorian's proposal to ban possession of high-capacity magazines, and would establish a Gun Violence Prevention Unit in the city attorney's office to crack down on gun crimes.
"It's a key issue for me," Feuer said after a debate on Monday. "It keeps coming up as a major focus of what people care about in the city attorney's office."
Feuer has touted his endorsement from the Brady Campaign, as well as his work on gun control issues when he served on the L.A. City Council during the 1990s. But until now he has not pushed for new local restrictions. "It's still the case there's more we can do," he said Monday. "We should be leading on a national level."
Speaking after the same forum, Trutanich said he, too, is a "big gun control supporter." He touted more than 1,000 gun prosecutions undertaken by his office during his tenure.
"The gun issue is an important issue," he said. "Who's going to predict where it's going to happen next?"
Sandy Cooney, Trutanich's spokesman, said today that Trutanich "completely supports" Krekorian's proposal to crack down on high-capacity magazines. It's already illegal to buy and sell high-capacity magazines in California, but possession is not forbidden.
Trutanich "supports any measure that are going to have the prospect of reducing gun violence in Los Angeles," Cooney said.
Before he became city attorney, Trutanich's law firm represented the National Rifle Association in litigation against L.A. and other jurisdictions that passed gun control laws. Trutanich got the NRA endorsement in 2009, and said at the time that he did not see a need for new gun control measures. When he was criticized on the issue during that campaign, he said that his law partner, Chuck Michel, handled the NRA cases.
Greg Smith, another candidate for city attorney, said that he supports a federal assault weapons ban. But he did not argue for any new local measures, saying that was not the city attorney's responsibility.
"The city attorney doesn't legislate," Smith said. "That's up to the city council. My job is to advise, and I will give advice."