LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to consider new ways of preventing violence in the community and workplace, including potential gun buyback programs and stricter controls on rapid-fire weapons.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas proposed that the sheriff, district attorney, probation chief and health officials develop a set of recommendations within 30 days.
“The recent horrific events in San Bernardino are tragic reminders that the Board of Supervisors must ensure it is doing all that it can to prevent violence in the community and the workplace,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said in his motion, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The county has taken steps to combat the underlying causes of violence, including creating school threat assessment teams and mental health first-aid training for community members and county staffers, but Ridley-Thomas said it wasn’t enough.
“Much more needs to be done in the face of a deeply troubling and recurring pattern of mass shootings,” Ridley-Thomas said.
His motion laid out a short list of options for consideration, including further background checks on the sale of guns within Los Angeles County, insurance for gun buyers (similar to car insurance) to cover any taxpayer expenses incurred from the injurious use of a gun, and taxes on firearms and ammunition. [Read the motion here.]
Supervisor Michael Antonovich said he couldn’t support the motion because it included those options.
“I support the efforts at improving workplace safety,” Antonovich said.
Antonovich asked county lawyers to provide a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the proposed gun policies.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused last week to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a Highland Park, Illinois, ordinance banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which was interpreted by some pundits as an opportunity for more local regulation.
Gun owners raised their own objections before the board Tuesday.
“You’re stereotyping all gun owners as bad people,” one Antelope Valley resident told the board.