Gang gun users face losses in L.A.

From news service reports
Article Launched: 05/31/2008 12:28:33 AM PDT

Gang members who use guns to commit crimes could be evicted from apartments and have their vehicles seized under a series of motions introduced Friday in the Los Angeles City Council.

The proposals are part of an ongoing partnership between local and federal law enforcement to crack down on gang- and gun-related violence in Los Angeles. Last year, 306 of 394 homicide victims in the city were killed with a firearm, and another 1,895 Angelenos were shot but survived.

The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that 93percent of gang-related murders are committed with a gun.

“If you engage in violent acts with guns, you’re not going to be allowed to drive a vehicle without that vehicle being seized,” police Chief William Bratton said Thursday. “If you engage in violent acts with guns in Los Angeles as a gang member, we’re going to take your apartment, we’re going to kick your family out and we’re going to give you a new residence – and your residence will be a 12-by-8 cell with somebody you might not want to be in the cell with.”

Councilmen Jack Weiss and Greig Smith introduced the series of motions intended to strengthen the city’s existing gun laws.

In addition to seizing vehicles used in gang-related crimes and amending the eviction law to include weapons and ammunition, the motions would:

Ban the possession of 50 caliber ammunition.

Require the licensing of ammunition vendors.

Require face-to-face ammunition sales to prevent city residents from purchasing bullets over the Internet.

Two other motions, which would require gun store owners to maintain inventories and ban the installation of gun compartments in vehicles, were announced Thursday but not introduced at council.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the initiatives are part of his overall plan to reduce gang violence. Beginning July 1, the Mayor’s Office will oversee all of the city’s anti-gang programs.

The mayor plans to expand the CLEAR multi-agency gang intervention program to five areas of the city disproportionately affected. by gangs. Forty additional police officers will be deployed to those neighborhoods.

The council decided to release the $2.7 million needed to expand the program, instead of sending the issue to the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development.

The council also accepted a motion from City Councilman Richard Alarcon to allocate $600,000 for gang intervention services between July 1 and Sept. 30. Those funds are expected to come from fees collected for “extra-capacity” garbage cans that some homeowners receive from the city.

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