L.A. City Council considering motion to ban the possession of assault weapons

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council is considering a motion to prohibit the possession of all assault weapons within the city, following a pair of mass shootings over the weekend that left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio.

Councilman Paul Koretz introduced the motion Wednesday, saying assault weapons "are clearly one of the things that make it easiest to do these massive shootings."

Two other council members, Greig Smith from the West Valley and Council President Herb Wesson, introduced separate motions that would push for laws at the state and federal level.

In addition to an assault weapons ban, they would like to see universal background checks for firearms and ammunition, a ban on high capacity magazines and harsher penalties for offenders.

"Now, I want to see all those off the streets. There's no reason for any American (to) own a weapon who shoots a lot of rounds or rapidly shoots rounds," said Smith.

Koretz expects there will be a lawsuit by pro-gun groups, but he says he fought a similar battle when he was in the city of West Hollywood.

"West Hollywood and Los Angeles both passed bans on 'Saturday night special' handguns and we were advised that we were highly likely to lose those cases and yet we took them up through the court system and we won at every level," said Koretz.

At an appearance in Southern California Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he likes the proposal to ban assault weapons and agrees it needs to be at the federal level.

There was a federal ban, sponsored by California Senator Diane Feinstein, that passed back in 1994. But, it expired in 2004.

"What a remarkable achievement looking back that she was even successful passing the original assault weapon ban. Sadly, it sunseted, (but) she's been at it ever since," said Newsom. "Again, it's pending determination by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put it up for a vote but he doesn't have the guts to do it."

If the ordinance passes in the city of Los Angeles, it would then go to the City Attorney's office which would prepare the ordinance to put the ban into effect.
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