LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance to repeal a longtime ban on the sale of “ultracompact” handguns.
The ban, which was enacted in 2001, prevented the sale of firearms with a length less that 6.75 inches or a height less than 4.5 inches within city limits.
It was passed 16 years ago under a motion authored by then-City Councilman Mike Feuer, who is now the city attorney. Feuer and other gun control advocates argued at the time that the smaller weapons, or “pocket rockets,” posed a risk to public safety because they would be easier for criminals to conceal.
Feuer prepared the ordinance that went before the council Tuesday.
The National Rifle Association and California Rifle & Pistol Assn. had long been opposed to the ban, and last year wrote a letter to Feuer threatening legal action if it was not overturned, arguing that state law allowed the sale of some of the weapons and preempted the local ordinance.
Gun rights groups argued that the law hurts women and the disabled, who need the smaller guns to defend themselves, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer, noted that the state law changed after the ban was enacted and that other cities and counties have already undone similar ordinances.
Wilcox also said that no person has ever been prosecuted for violating the ordinance.
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