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CULVER CITY : Council Rejects Ordinance to Register Ammo Buyers

June 15, 1995|MARY MOORE

The Culver City Council has shot down an ordinance that would have required store owners to register the identities of people who buy ammunition.

The 3-2 decision Monday runs contrary to recent restrictions on ammunition sales adopted in local cities including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

The Culver City meeting drew a crowd of about 40, most of whom spoke against the ammunition proposal. Several, such as Dan Retting, pointed out that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had required similar registration for ammunition sales, but that the federal law was repealed in 1986.

Retting, owner of Martin B. Retting Inc. gun shop, showed the council stacks of file folders and binders--all including old data, he said, that he collected on ammunition sales before the federal law was overturned.

"I brought stacks of records, 17 years' worth, that no investigator has ever looked through [except] to see if we were keeping them," he said.

Other critics of the proposal warned it would drive Culver City gun dealers to other communities that do not have strict laws. Fewer than five Culver City businesses sell ammunition, said Steve Rose, president of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.

One gun dealer in Santa Monica, which has a new ammunition registration ordinance, said he was sure to lose business to Culver City shops.

"I'm concerned," said Bruce Jochim, owner of Pacific Cartridge gun shop. "I think there should be equality [in area cities] or there should be no ordinance at all."

His sentiment was echoed by Culver City Councilman Albert Vera, who complained that the ordinance would create a black market for ammunition. "I think it's stupid," he said. "It takes the rights away from the people."

But the approval of similar ordinances by other Westside cities persuaded Councilman Ed Wolkowitz to vote in favor of the proposal.

"I wonder if Culver City will now become the haven for ammunition sales," he said. "If the ordinance results in the conviction of even one person who used a gun in a violent crime, it's worth the minute it takes to register the transaction."

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