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Local Gun Laws in Los Angeles (i.e. "Why can't that be sold in Reseda?")

For some time, the disclaimers on Turners' weekly advertisements confused me. "Not available in Reseda" is written under pretty much every small handgun they advertise. Of course, there's not a whole lot of responses that come up on the web when searching for Reseda gun law.

That's because Reseda is part of Los Angeles, and it's Los Angeles Municipal Code that prohibits these small handguns. The LAPD website presents an overview of LA gun codes, but this provides the actual safety and public health codes where LA placed its gun laws.


Ammunition Sales Restrictions

  • Time restriction: In order to cut down on idiots shooting their guns in the air at New Years' and the Fourth of July, LA has banned the transfer of ammunition (not only can you not buy from dealers, but it's a crime for people to give each other ammunition!) during the 7 days immediately before both of these holidays.
  • Recording: In order to purchase ammunition in LA, you have to be thumbprinted and the purchase must be recorded with your driver's license. The dealer is required to retain records of the purchase for two years.

Duty to Report Theft or Loss (enacted in 2006)

In LA, if you don't report the theft or loss of a firearm within 48 hours of when you "should have known" of the theft or loss, you have committed a misdemeanor. This applies to both residents of LA (regardless of where they are when the weapon is lost or stolen) and anyone who happens to have a gun stolen from them while in LA.

Disposal of Firearms and Ammunition

Firearms and ammunition must be disposed of by either transfer or by relinquishing to a police department. Otherwise, it is a misdemeanor offense (i.e. if you throw a bad round in the trash, you just bought yourself a sentence).

Firearm Sales Restrictions

  • No sale of 'ultracompact' firearms: (enacted 2001) Dealers within LA are forbidden to process transfers of 'ultracompact' handguns. An ultracompact handgun, in LA, is defined as having "an overall length of six and three quarters inches (6.75") or less of an overall height of four and one half inches (4.5") or less, measured with the magazine detached".
    • This law is useless because: LA residents can still legally drive outside of CA to purchase these handguns. The restriction is entirely upon sale within the city.
    • Exemption to PPT between C&R holders? The penal code states the following: "No dealer shall process, pursuant to Penal Code Section 12072(d), any ultracompact firearm transaction between persons not licensed as firearms dealers or not possessing Federal Firearms Licenses." A C&R license is a Federal Firearms License, and it should actually allow C&R holders to PPT ultracompact weapons between each other through a dealer. Finding a dealer who will accept this as legal, however, may be a problem.
    • Exemption for C&R handguns? 55.16.f.10 exempts "the purchaser of a firearm in a collector’s series, provided that such firearm falls within the definition of a curio or relic contained in Section 178.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations". A "collector's series" is not defined, which leads one to wonder if this can be taken to mean any serialized C&R handgun.
  • No 'ultracompact firearms' holsters, etc: It is illegal, within LA, to sell "accessories used to enable the concealment of ultracompact firearms" - i.e. holsters. There is an exemption stating that if the holster is designed for a larger firearm, it's ok. Otherwise, universal-fit holsters would be really problematic to sell.

50cal Restrictions

In 2005, LA implemented a ban on the sale of 50 caliber weapons. This is not just the 50 BMG cartridge, but also on weapons chambered in any other 50 caliber cartridge, such as the Desert Eagle's 50 Action Express or the Alexander Arms 50 Beowulf. Muzzle-loading firearms are exempt as long as they were manufactured prior to 1899 and the purchaser maintains a valid C&R license while in possession of the firearm in question.

Tear Gas (pepper spray) Restrictions

The tear gas restrictions are found in the Los Angeles Municipal Code, Chapter V ("PUBLIC SAFETY AND PROTECTION"), Article 5, section 55.04. Due to the City's reprehensible choice to not make their municipal code readily findable and viewable on the internet, I am forced to reproduce its text here as it appeared on 8/27/08 via http://amlegal.com/. The only link I can get for the code seems to be session based, and thus I can't make a permanent link to it here. It is interesting that I can't find any information on what the penalties are for unauthorized possession, etc of tear gas.


(Added by Ord. No. 151,335, Eff. 9/15/78.)

No person shall purchase, possess or use any tear gas or tear gas weapons without having first been issued a written permit therefor by the Chief of Police. Such permit shall be issued upon a finding by the Chief of Police that the applicant has satisfied all of the following conditions:

1. Is a resident of the City of Los Angeles.

2. Is not a minor.

3. Has not been convicted of a felony.

4. Is not addicted to any narcotic drug.

5. Has not been convicted of any crime involving assault.

6. Has not been convicted of misuse of tear gas under Section 12403.7(a)(8) of the Penal Code of the State of California.

7. Has completed a course certified by the Department of Justice of the State of California in the use of tear gas and tear gas weapons pursuant to which a card is issued identifying the person who has completed such course. Such a course may be taken in any training institution certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to offer tear gas training.

No permit required by this section shall be issued to any person until such person shall have paid to the Chief of Police a permit fee of $35.00, which shall be non-refundable in the event the application is denied. Such permit shall be valid for a period of seven years from the date of issuance and shall be non-transferable. Any permit issued hereunder shall be revoked by the Chief of Police if the applicant no longer meets all of the conditions set forth hereinabove.[/quote]

It's worth knowing that it is actually a crime to possess tear gas in Los Angeles unless you've been through a training class on its use, and possess a valid permit from the city of LA to possess it. The permits are, however, "shall-issue" and are good for seven years. It is interesting to note that LA does not seem to have a law against tasers.

-- SeanNewton - 25 Jun 2008

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Topic revision: r3 - 27 Aug 2008 - SeanNewton
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