LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Thursday he will move ahead with efforts to close gun stores in Los Angeles County.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department had temporarily suspended enforcement efforts to close gun stores during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The order announced Thursday will be effective for all unincorporated L.A. County and the 42 cities which the sheriff’s department contracts with for law enforcement services.
Villanueva said he would “defer to each individual chief of police to establish what it will be for their city.”
The city of Los Angeles has already closed all gun shops during the coronavirus emergency. Pasadena and other cities are expected to follow, Villanueva said.
But police in Burbank tell CBSLA they have no plans to shut down gun stores after long lines were spotted over the weekend at one local shop.
This comes after there was some confusion earlier this week when the sheriff temporarily suspended efforts as the county counsel’s office worked to clarify whether gun stores are considered essential businesses under California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide order, a sheriff’s spokesperson confirmed to CBS2 Tuesday night.
Newsom later said he would defer to sheriffs to make their own decision on the issue.
Villanueva made the announcement as tensions continued to rise between the sheriff and the county Board of Supervisors over a plan to place the county’s chief executive in charge of coordinating disaster preparedness instead of Villaneuva.
Supervisors say an audit in November recommended changes following the response to the deadly Woolsey Fire.
But Villanueva called the move a “power grab” by the Board, which he criticized for not working with home during the outbreak.
The motion is scheduled to be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.