VAN NUYS, Calif.--The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to support a former colleague's proposed state law that would require records of purchases of shotguns, rifles and other "long guns'' be preserved like handgun purchase records.
Under current law, the state is required to destroy records of long-gun purchases five days after the transaction.
Assembly Bill 809, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman and former Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer, would treat the records the same as records for handguns, beginning in 2013.
The bill is in the early stages of the legislative process and scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
"We need to be cognizant of the fact that one-third of the crime guns in California are long guns,'' Feuer told council members, who met in Van Nuys.
"What this will do is provide law enforcement with an important tool to engage in the tracing of illegal weapons trafficking.''
Feuer said the bill also would enable law enforcement personnel responding to domestic violence calls to know if there's a rifle or shotgun at the residence.
Councilman Richard Alarcon said the bill would have a positive effect.
"(The proposed law) has a preventative measure, but it also would have a positive impact on the closure rate for many crimes that have heretofore gone unsolved,'' he said.
LAPD Capt. Rigoberto Romero of the gang and narcotics division said his boss, police Chief Charlie Beck, supports the measure.
"The knowledge that someone is armed with a long gun is very significant to us. That's probably one of the most dangerous weapons that a police officer can face,'' Romero said.
The National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of California, groups that lobby on behalf of gun rights, both oppose the bill.
"The registration of long guns serves no purpose whatsoever,'' Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, told City News Service.
"The fact is that criminals don't go buy guns from dealers,'' he said.
"They steal them and buy them on the black market. This law will only impact law-abiding citizens.''
Paredes said the bill would not help fight crime.
"Look at any high-profile crime that's been committed,'' he said. "The agency in charge is almost always able to trace back guns through good old-fashioned gumshoe investigation.''
Paredes also argued the bill would make it more cumbersome for gun owners to purchase rifles.
"There would be more fields to fill out on forms, and one additional period, one more crossing of a 'T' is unnecessary and the taking of freedom,'' he said.