The City Council has voted unanimously to ban the sale and possession of military assault rifles in Whittier.
"Steps need to be taken to restrict the availability of these weapons before we are overwhelmed by repeated instances of their misuse," Whittier Police Chief James F. Bale said in a letter to the council.
The ordinance applies to any semiautomatic weapon with a capacity of 20 rounds or more, shotguns with a barrel of less than 18 inches and capacity of more than six rounds, or any part used to convert rifles into assault weapons.
Gun owners have six months in which to turn the weapons over to a licensed gun dealer or to the Whittier Police Department. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to a year in jail.