Erik S. Lesser / EPA / Landov

LA council OKs law on locking up handguns

LA handgun owners will be required to store firearms in locked containers or use trigger locks under new measure

Handgun owners in Los Angeles will be required to store their firearms in locked containers or disable the weapons with trigger locks under a law unanimously approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The council voted 14-0 in favor of the ordinance that also says owners must keep the guns on their person or within reach if they are not locked away or disabled.

The measure applies only to handguns and not to larger firearms such as rifles.

It was championed by Councilman Paul Krekorian and backed by activists who say it will help prevent children from harming themselves with guns.

Councilman Mitch Englander said before the vote that the intention was not to take rights away from responsible gun owners.

"It's really about having controlled access and securing that weapon," he said. "This is less about gun control, and simply more about controlling your gun."

The law is similar to a San Francisco measure that that requires handgun owners to secure weapons in their homes by storing them in a locker, keeping them on their bodies or applying trigger locks. In June, the Supreme Court turned down a National Rifle Association-led appeal aimed at loosening the restrictions, when it let stand lower court rulings that upheld the San Francisco measure.

The storage law is one of two gun-related measures the city of Los Angeles has tackled in recent months.

Earlier this summer, the city adopted a ban on possessing ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

That law, which goes into effect next month, came amid increasingly urgent debate over gun laws following recent mass shootings in the United States, including last an attack on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina and a campus shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. On Monday, many U.S. police chiefs called for universal gun background checks and on Tuesday, President Barack Obama called for the nation’s police chiefs to push tighter gun controls.

The Los Angeles magazine law is currently being challenged in a lawsuit filed by a pair of law enforcement groups, more than two dozen county sheriffs, and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. Similar ordinances in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California, have so far withstood legal challenges. Last year, a federal judge upheld a Colorado law banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

San Francisco, meanwhile, moved to further tighten its gun controls on Tuesday.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave first approval to an ordinance requiring firearms dealers to make video recordings of all sales and submit weekly reports to police identifying buyers along with the type and amount of ammo sold. A second board vote of approval is expected.

The law may be moot, however, because the city's only gun shop, High Bridge Arms, announced last month that it will close rather than subject customers to new requirements.

Al Jazeera with The Associated Press

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