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Glendale moves toward gun show ban

In the wake of Newtown, Conn., shooting, the City Council indicates that it will bar the events in a vote next week.

March 13, 2013|By Brittany Levine, Los Angeles Times

The Glendale City Council has indicated that it will ban gun shows.

Before Tuesday night's decision, the attorney for the operator of the Glendale Gun Show threatened legal action.

"This ordinance, in the way it's drafted … will necessarily require litigation," Sean Brady said to council members and the roughly 140 people packed inside City Hall.

No vote was taken Tuesday night but a majority of the council expressed strong support. The ordinance will return to the council next week for a final vote.

"This gun show being banned on Glendale city property won't make any difference on anybody's ability to purchase a gun," Councilwoman Laura Friedman said. "I don't believe that it's the responsibility of this city to host that gun show, given how unpopular it is with many of our residents."

After 27 people were killed, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Councilman Rafi Manoukian floated the idea of banning the gun show.

He tried to have it banned in 2006, but could not get the necessary support from other council members. That changed after the recent spate of deadly gun violence.

Councilmen Ara Najarian and Dave Weaver opposed the ordinance.

"This is a knee-jerk reaction," Najarian said. "It's an emotional reaction."

The ordinance blocks the possession or sale of guns at all city parks and facilities but exempts public rights of way, such as sidewalks and streets.

While the council began discussing the ban in January, it allowed the show's operator, Steve Friesen, to host one earlier this month. The event attracted thousands of shoppers, as well as dozens of protesters on both sides of the issue.

"The city of Glendale has a chance to stand up to the fear, manipulation and hastily crafted laws that deep down, we all know only harm law-abiding citizens," Friesen said, referring to the increased focus on gun control after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Although other gun show supporters echoed his sentiments, opponents said they were not ashamed to say they were partially motivated by fear.

"We have been moved to action by the mass murder of children; and what would it say about us if we weren't?" said Joal Ryan, a co-founder of Coalition for a Better Glendale, an advocacy group that supports the ban.

At one point during the meeting, a shouting match broke out between Mayor Frank Quintero and "tea party" advocate Jesse Lee Peterson, which ended in a Glendale police officer escorting Peterson, the founder of the South-Central L.A. tea party, out of the chambers.

Although gun show advocates said the ban would violate the 1st and 2nd Amendment rights to free speech and to bear arms, city officials disagreed.

The government isn't required to provide its property for the exercise of constitutional rights, and exchanging money for a gun is not considered "speech" by federal and state courts, according to a city report.

brittany.levine@latimes.com

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