The Los Angeles City council voted unanimously on Tuesday to roll back a sixteen-year ban on the sale of “ultracompact” handguns.
The decision comes after the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association threatened legal action. Attorneys for the NRA and CRPA argued that the city ordinance is “preempted” by state law, which allows the sale of any handgun listed on the California DOJ’s “Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.”
“By banning the sale of certain handguns labeled ‘ultracompact’ under the ordinance, the City prohibited the sale or transfer of certain handguns that are listed on DOJ’s roster—handguns that have been tested and are specifically approved for sale in California,” the NRA said in a statement. “Because the ordinance conflicted with state law in this respect, the ordinance is ‘preempted’ by the state law and invalid.”
The ordinance was championed in 2001 by City Atty. Mike Feuer, who claimed at the time that “these concealable, compact weapons are the weapons of choice for criminals.” The ban prohibited the sale of handguns measuring less than 6.75” long or 4.5” high, including the vast majority of the most popular concealed carry firearms like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
City officials said this week they did not know exactly how many kinds of handguns would become legal for sale in LA once the ban was reversed, according to a report from the LA Times. CRPA attorney Chuck Michel said “a few” of the guns that were previously banned would now be available within city limits.
A search on the Roster reveals that several Smith & Wesson Shield models made the cut, along with the Springfield XD Sub-Compact and the Ruger LC380. All of these guns are listed on the Roster but had previously been illegal to sell in LA due to their size.
Michel said in a written statement his clients will consider further legal action if they discover other cities that have passed laws in conflict with state law.
“We will continue to monitor local municipal codes throughout California and pursue the clean-up of these kinds of ineffective laws — which typically are never enforced once the initial press conferences are over.”
This isn’t the first time the NRA has convinced Los Angeles to amend an ordinance that conflicts with state law. In 2015 the city passed a ban on magazines with capacities greater than 10 rounds. When the state passed a similar law, the city agreed to sunset their magazine restrictions on July 1, 2017.
But since Judge Roger T. Benitez temporarily blocked the state’s magazine ban, standard capacity magazines are currently allowed to be possessed within LA city limits.