The top candidates for L.A. city attorney continued their battle over gun control this week, with Assemblyman Mike Feuer calling on incumbent Carmen Trutanich to return any income he received from the NRA when he was in private practice.
Trutanich countered by calling on Feuer to return his salary from his years as a state lawmaker. “He sure as hell didn't earn his pay when you look at the results,” said Trutanich spokesman Rick Taylor.
The candidates also sparred over Feuer's bill to require microstamping of shell casings, which became law despite objections of the NRA and gun manufacturers.
Feuer “has portrayed himself as Mr. Gun Control, and Feuer calls himself the 'problem-solver-in-chief,”” Taylor said in a statement. “But Feuer's big gun control fix in Sacramento was to write a law to micro-stamp bullets. Whatever that means.”
The bill requires that all semi-automatic handguns sold in California be equipped with a microstamp that imprints a numeric code on the shell casing when the gun fires. Police can then use the code on the casing to find out who purchased the gun. The measure was backed by the Brady Campaign and by dozens of California police chiefs and sheriffs, including LAPD Chief Bill Bratton and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Taylor noted that the law, which was signed in 2007, still has not been implemented. The New York Times reported last year that the measure has been held up due to a patent dispute, and due to the maneuvering of gun rights organizations.
“Maybe it's unworkable, impractical,” Taylor said. “So far, Mr. Feuer's micro-stamping bullet plan seems like it's more of a gun control stunt, than a solution.”
In an interview, Feuer said it was “breathtaking” for Trutanich's campaign to “trivialize something that is so important to the sheriff and the police chief in his jurisdiction.”
Trutanich has been careful to portray himself as a “big gun control supporter.” But his campaign's arguments about the microstamping law mirror those of gun rights groups, which also argued that the measure was impractical.
Asked to clarify whether he supports microstamping, Trutanich's spokesman John Schwada said, “We are not opposed to the bill. We don't think it's a sensible solution. But we wish him good luck with it.”
Feuer also attacked Trutanich over his association with Chuck Michel, a prominent NRA attorney. Trutanich and Michel were partners for several years. When criticized over the association, Trutanich has said that Michel handled all the gun rights cases on his own.
On Thursday, Feuer called on Trutanich to return his share of the profits from his firm's NRA work.
“If Mr. Trutanich were truly committed to distancing himself from his NRA past and combating gun violence, he would rid himself of this tainted profit,” Feuer said in a statement.
Taylor shot back that Feuer has failed as a Sacramento lawmaker. “The taxpayers' paid Feuer to do a job. He failed miserably. Return the money, Mike. You didn't earn it,” Taylor said.
A Survey USA poll released on Wednesday found Trutanich leading the field with 27% of the vote. Feuer was second with 21%. Greg Smith followed with 14%, and Noel Weiss had 10%. However, the poll appears to overestimate voter turnout by a wide margin. A fuller discussion of the poll's shortcomings can be found here.