L.A. City Council Considers Ending Ban on 'Ultracompact' Handguns

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council is poised to undo a longtime ban on the sale of so-called ``ultracompact'' handguns today, bowing to legal pressure from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Assn.

 The ban was enacted in 2001 under a motion authored by then-City Councilman Mike Feuer, who is now the city attorney. Feuer and other gun control advocates argued at the time that the smaller weapons, or ``pocket rockets,'' posed a risk to public safety because they would be easier for criminals to conceal.

 The ban prevents the sale within city limits of firearms with a length less that 6.75 inches or a height less than 4.5 inches.

 The NRA and California Rifle & Pistol Assn. have long been opposed to the ban, and last year wrote a letter to Feuer threatening legal action if it was not overturned, arguing that state law allowed the sale of some of the weapons and preempted the local ordinance.

 Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer, noted that the state law changed after the ban was enacted and that other cities and counties have already undone similar ordinances.

 ``The other municipalities like L.A. County and West Hollywood and San Francisco and Sacramento also have repealed this ordinance,'' Wilcox told City News Service.

 Wilcox also said that no person has ever been prosecuted for violating the ordinance.

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