Friday, October 20, 2017
Los Angeles Gangs Face Tougher Laws
By By Alice Walton, City News Service
Published June 5, 2008

Gang members who use guns to commit violent crimes could be evicted from apartments and have their vehicles seized under a series of motions introduced on Friday, May 30 in the Los Angeles City Council. The proposals are part of an ongoing partnership between local and federal law enforcement to crack down on gang- and gun-related violence in Los Angeles. Last year, 306 of 394 homicide victims were killed with a firearm, and another 1,895 Angelenos were shot but survived.

The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that 93 percent of gang- related murders are committed with a gun.

“If you engage in violent acts with guns, you’re not going to be allowed to drive a vehicle without that vehicle being seized,” said police Chief William Bratton.

“If you engage in violent acts with guns in Los Angeles as a gang member, we’re going to take your apartment, we’re going to kick your family out and we’re going to give you a new residence—and your residence will be a 12- by-8 cell with somebody you might not want to be in the cell with,” he said.

When the council meets tomorrow, members Jack Weiss and Greig Smith will introduce a series of motions intended to strengthen the city’s existing gun laws. In addition to seizing vehicles used in gang-related crimes and amending the eviction law to include weapons and ammunition, the motions would:

  • ban the possession of 50 caliber ammunition;
  • require the licensing of ammunition vendors;
  • require gun store owners to maintain inventories;
  • ban the installation of gun compartments in vehicles; and
  • require face-to-face ammunition sales.

That last motion is intended to prevent city residents from purchasing bullets over the Internet. City officials could not say how they plan to prevent Internet sales. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the initiatives are part of his overall plan to reduce gang violence. Beginning July 1, the mayor’s office will oversee all of the city’s anti-gang programs.

“We’re here today united for one reason—there are simply too many guns used in too many shootings, which cause too many senseless killings, and it must stop,” said Villaraigosa, who was flanked Bratton, council members, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien. Last month the mayor announced his intention to expand the CLEAR program—a multi-agency gang intervention program that uses Los Angeles County resources—to five areas of the city disproportionately affected by gangs.

Forty additional police officers will also be deployed to those neighborhoods. The $2.7 million needed to expand the program must still be approved by the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development and the full council. Bratton said the local-federal partnership sends a clear message to those involved with street gangs.

“If you’re a gang member, good luck to you. You can be a gang member from now until doomsday but if you engage in violent crime with a gun, we are coming after you whether you’re walking the streets, driving the streets or in an apartment somewhere,” Bratton said.

Categories: Local

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