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San Fernando | Valley Focus

Ordinance Aims at Local Gun Dealers

May 17, 1997|DARRELL SATZMAN

Local firearms dealers would be required to tighten their security arrangements or risk losing their licenses under a proposed ordinance that will be introduced at Monday's City Council meeting by Mayor Raul Godinez II.

If it passes, the ordinance would require firearms dealers in San Fernando to comply with a state law governing the storage of commercial firearms that currently only applies to cities with more than 50,000 residents.

On Friday, Godinez was joined by Assemblymen Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar) and Robert Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks) and Police Chief Dominick Rivetti at a news conference to announce the proposed ordinance. He said the law would make San Fernando and its surrounding communities safer by reducing the number of stolen weapons on the street.

"Firearm security is just as important in a small city like San Fernando as it is in a big city like Los Angeles," said Godinez, who was flanked by two tables containing dozens of illegal guns--from Saturday-night specials to automatic rifles--that have been confiscated by San Fernando police.

"Safeguarding the large amounts of firearms kept by firearms dealers is imperative to public safety," Godinez said.

San Fernando currently has eight licensed firearms dealers, several of whom sell the weapons out of their homes. The proposed ordinance would require dealers to secure weapons in one of three ways to reduce the likelihood of thefts. Annual inspections by San Fernando police would ensure that the new requirements were being enforced, Godinez said.

"These are very strict and specific requirements," said Hertzberg, who chairs the Assembly's Public Safety Committee.

Hertzberg said that when the Legislature passed the 1992 law governing the storage of commercial firearms it included the exemption for cities with fewer than 50,000 residents, with smaller, rural communities in mind. However, the Legislature also gave those small cities the option of adopting the tougher standards.

"Most of the firearms we come across are stolen," Rivetti said. "Violence committed with stolen firearms is a problem not just in San Fernando and the Valley but throughout the state."

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