The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion on Tuesday, Jan. 24, stopping the practice by the county’s Probation Department of selling surplus guns in an online auction.
In a last-minute item proposed by First District Supervisor Hilda Solis, the Board voted 5-0 to approve the motion which asked the Internal Services Department to pursue a ban of future sales of firearms and ammunition by county departments.
The motion asks that all excess firearms and ammunition be destroyed, as in melted down, and not sold or put back into circulation.
Finally, the board moved to have the county Probation Oversight Commission and the County Counsel’s Office investigate the attempt to auction the surplus guns and ammunition.
Fourth District Supervisor and Board Chair Janice Hahn said she has participated in gun buybacks and was outraged that the Probation Department would put guns back on the street. This was of particular concern to Solis and Hahn who pointed out that 11 people were killed and nine others injured in a mass shooting at a dance club in Monterey Park on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Los Angeles Board of Supervisor, Hilda Solis during the press conference for the recent mass shooting that occurred in Monterey Park at the Monterey Park City Hall on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Solis had spent several days in Monterey Park, attending vigils for the victims. In the motion, Solis wrote: “Such an auction directly compromises the Board’s efforts to address the gun violence epidemic, is antithetical to the County’s values, and is highly insensitive in the wake of the recent tragedy in our community.”
The motion pointed out that the mass shooting in Monterey Park was the 36th mass shooting incident in the United States occurring within the first three weeks of the new year.
“I want to get guns off the street. I don’t want to put them back onto the street,” Hahn said, calling the intent to sell guns by the Probation Department “absurd.”
Hahn said she has spoken to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna to stop the sale and to collect the guns and destroy them. She indicated Luna had agreed.
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At first, the board said they needed to pass the urgency motion to stop the online auction. However, Dawyn R. Harrison, interim county counsel, told the Board the guns were no longer for auction on the internet sales site. “It has been pulled down,” she said.
The item was reported in a Los Angeles Times editorial board item that said the department had put guns on an online surplus site. The newspaper said there were 337 up for sale, all of them 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols. This type of gun was used by the shooter in Monterey Park.
“We wanted to send a message as a board,” said Hahn.