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Irvine council tackles gun control

Councilwoman Shea's suggestions, including looking into safety education and turn-in program, ultimately win approval.

March 16, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani

Although Irvine's City Council didn't get to it until almost seven hours after the meeting started, 17 public speakers waited to weigh in on local gun-control measures.

Tuesday's meeting started at 3 p.m., two hours earlier than usual, but the discussion, sparked by Councilman Larry Agran broaching the subject at the Feb. 12 meeting, didn't come up until around 10 p.m.

Agran first proposed a seven-point motion this week but narrowed it to two recommendations: appointing more school resource officers with Measure BB funds and urging Mayor Steven S. Choi to join Mayors against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition that includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states.

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He said he would later like to pursue his other five points — starting education and gun turn-in programs, participating in a state Armed Prohibited Persons Database program, making mental health services more widespread, tightening regulations for issuing concealed weapons permits and looking at other policies, such as creating a victims compensation fund.

"It's time for us to stop boasting — I say that to myself as well — and start leading," Agran said.

Eventually, the council, which recently flipped its majority and become more conservative, voted unanimously in favor of Councilwoman Christina Shea's 10 slightly different suggestions.

She granted city staff up to 90 days to return to the council with information about the availability of funds for gun-safety education and turn-in programs as well as community mental health services.

Irvine resident Felicity Figueroa, citing the Mayors against Illegal Guns' common-sense policies, said, "If you do not agree with what seem to be these reasonable tenets of Mayors Against Illegal Guns to get rid of illegal guns, the only logical assumption is that you are a mayor for illegal guns. I don't believe that to be the case, but I could be wrong."

Agran originally brought up gun control during talks about the city's Federal/State Legislative Platform for 2013. At the time, Choi, Shea and Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway voted against the amendment, which included universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and a ban on the manufacture, importation and sale of certain assault weapons.

"I'm in favor of education for gun owners," Lalloway said. "Contrary to some folks, I do think that gun owners are responsible with their weapons."

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