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Gun control roils council

A suggestion to restrict firearm and ammo ownership is rejected by members.

February 16, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani

Gun control was front and center at this week's Irvine City Council meeting following the slaying of two residents Feb. 3.

Mayor Steven Choi began and ended Tuesday's meeting in memory of Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach Monica Quan, 28, and her fiance, USC public safety officer Keith Lawrence, 27, the first alleged victims of suspected cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner.

Councilman Larry Agran, perturbed by the council's silence on the issue of gun control, suggested amending the city's 2013 State and Federal Legislative Platform to incorporate restrictions on gun and ammunition ownership.

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The legislative platform serves as a guide for city officials, staff and legislative advocates on the city's priorities for lawmakers at the state and federal levels.

"I have not met a single person in Irvine who didn't, in the aftermath of what happened at Newtown, ask whether Newtown could be our town — and of course, it could," he said.

Agran said every year about 12 Irvine residents die from gun-related violence, which is about half the national average.

The amendment failed 2 to 3, with Choi, Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway and Councilwoman Christina Shea dissenting. The legislative platform as originally proposed passed 5 to 0.

Residents came forward to rally the council's support for increased gun safety measures after Agran introduced the amendment.

"Gun violence in this country has become absolutely epidemic," Toni Dwyer said. "From Newtown, Conn., to Chicago, Ill., to right here in our very own city of Irvine — a very safe city. And we cannot ignore this devastating scourge."

Alan Meyerson cited Irvine's reputation as one of the nation's safest cities, adding that inaction regarding gun safety would damage the city's recognition.

"I'm not saying we should take guns away from people or take away their 2nd Amendment rights," he said. "What I am saying is that there should be a limit to what they can have, and we should set that example because people look to this city for leadership."

Lalloway flatly opposed the amendment, calling on California's already strict laws. Faced by a discussion about universal background checks and restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips and "certain" assault weapons, Lalloway suggested trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment altogether.

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