LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Southland lawmaker whose father was killed in a deadly shooting last year wants to prevent would-be criminals from using “no questions asked” gun buyback programs to help destroy evidence of crimes they may have committed.
Legislation introduced Thursday by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) would prohibit police agencies from administering handgun buy-backs without taking steps to ensure firearms are property identified and tested as potential evidence.
Under Assembly Bill 2662, agencies that administer gun buy-back programs would be prohibited from destroying any functioning, non-antique handgun until either a Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (ATF) tracing or ballistics test has been completed on the weapon and the results catalogued.
Gatto told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that even though police agencies like the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sponsor annual buyback events, law enforcement officials are generally supportive of his proposal.
“There’s a whole lot of police chiefs who say, ‘This bill is common sense, my department tests every single gun that comes through the door,” said Gatto. “There’s a lot of rank-and-file officers who investigate crimes who appreciate this.”
Gatto’s father Joseph was murdered last November at his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane in Silver Lake.
Police say a family member arrived at the 78-year-old’s residence and found him slumped over in a chair at a desk. He had been shot at least one time in the abdomen.
In January, the LAPD announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect responsible for the Joseph Gatto’s murder.