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Local officials call for stricter gun laws after weekend mass shootings

LOS ANGELES — Responding to a week of mass shootings that killed nearly three dozen people, Los Angeles city leaders Aug. 5 reiterated their calls for stricter gun-control laws.

“The nation is reeling from these events,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said at the start of a news conference in his office on a separate topic. He said he has called on congressional leaders to enact stricter gun laws, such as expanded background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazine firearms.

“Our nation depends, for our future, on leaders who bring us together, rather than leadership that preys on potential to divide us from each other,” Feuer said.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, meanwhile, pointed to a motion he introduced last week calling on the Los Angeles Police Department to report on its ability to track confiscated firearms and registration numbers and determine whether the weapons are legal under state law. The councilman also called for an annual report from the department on the types of firearms seized in Los Angeles that came from outside California.

“Some states have no form of gun safety legislation whatsoever, and sometimes these firearms are transported across state lines and used in crimes in California,” O’Farrell said in a statement. “We must continue doing everything in our power advocating for gun safety legislation here in Los Angeles.”

The motion will be heard in the Public Safety Committee in the coming weeks.

City Council President Herb Wesson last week introduced a motion that would require entertainment venues that restrict off-duty officers from carrying a firearm while on the premises to provide a secure lock-box to store the firearms.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters that the recent shootings should be a call to action, saying it’s time that “America wakes up and understands that this shouldn’t be a checkmate. That we can work beyond this.”

President Donald Trump Aug. 5 wrote on Twitter that legislators should “come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” He also called for the Department of Justice to enact the death penalty in swift fashion against those found guilty of carrying out mass shootings.

Speaking to the nation, Trump called for improved efforts to identify “mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence.”

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” he said. “We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms.”

Richard Sherman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Republican Party, issued a statement calling on politicians on both sides of the aisle “to come together to end this long cycle of violence which has overtaken our country.”

“Locally, we need to continue to work on making Los Angeles County a safer place to live and work,” he said. “We need to expand access to mental health care, improve our education system, solve the homelessness crisis and fix our state’s affordability problem.”

The officials reacted to the second mass shooting in as many days, with nine people shot dead in Dayton, Ohio, a day after 20 people were killed in El Paso, Texas.

“Once again we wake up to horrifying news,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted Aug. 4. “Our prayers go out to all of Ohio for yet again another senseless act of domestic terrorism. Spare me the ‘now is not the time’ lecture — at the current pace there never will be time to prevent the next one.”

The Aug. 3 attack took place at a Walmart, where authorities say a 21-year-old man shot at a large crowd of weekend shoppers with an automatic rifle before he was taken into custody. Twenty people were dead and as many as 26 people were injured, some with life-threatening injuries.

Federal authorities were investigating an anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant screed allegedly posted by the El Paso shooter.

The next day authorities in Dayton said a 24-year-old man opened fire on a crowd of people in a popular downtown area at about 1 a.m., killing at least nine people, including his sister, before he was killed. At least 27 people were injured.

Both shootings were carried out with large-capacity or assault-type weapons, prompting many Democratic politicians to renew calls for federal gun-control legislation.

“There are more guns in this country than people, and more per capita than any other country in the world,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Twitter. “And there are more gun deaths by far. I continue to hope that opponents of commonsense gun reform laws will come to their senses and join the effort to save lives.”

“There are no words, thoughts, or prayers that can quell the unspeakable horror that has befallen the El Paso community,” tweeted Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles. “Shame on [Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell] for taking no action on Dem gun violence prevention bill! Shame on Trump for stoking hatred, racism, and white nationalism. It must end!”

Wave Wire Services