Following last week's schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced he and other law enforcement officials will send letters to all Los Angeles gun buyers reminding them of city laws regarding safe storage of weapons and reporting if a gun is lost or stolen.
In a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading the federal task force looking at gun control and gun safety issues, Trutanich pledged his support and said he would be contacting gun buyers to advise them of city laws.
"This week, in an effort to keep guns out of the wrong hands, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and I will be sending letters to all Los Angeles gun buyers," Trutanich said.
The letters are being sent to people who have bought guns and are in the 10-day waiting period before they can pick up the weapons. The state Attorney General's office maintains a database of all gun owners who register when they purchase a handgun.
The letters remind buyers of the responsibility to report the transfer, sale, loss or theft of a firearm to the state Department of Justice, the City Attorney's Office said.
"We have a gun violence epidemic in America and I want to do all that I can as city attorney in Los Angeles to help change that fact," Trutanich said in a statement. "If you choose to own a gun, we want to make sure that you store it safely, keep it locked up and away from children, and if you sell it or it's stolen that the sale or theft be reported."
A RAND Corp. study found that gun owners were twice as likely to report the sale or theft of weapons when they receive a letter reminding them of their responsibility, Trutanich said.
He said he has sent out similar letters in two LAPD Divisions, 77th and Devonshire. The new letter campaign will go citywide, he said.
The National Rifle Association said it was studying the letter, but had no immediate comment on it.
Trutanich is facing a tough re-election next year and one of the three candidates against him -- former Assemblyman Mike Feuer -- has been speaking out about the need for stronger gun control laws.
On Thursday, Feuer challenged Trutanich to reject any form of support from any element of the NRA.
"Los Angeles residents need a city attorney who will prioritize curbing gun violence -- not a city attorney who's beholden to, supported by, or on the side of the pro-gun lobby," Feuer said. "That's why today I'm challenging my two opponents, Carmen Trutanich and Greg Smith, to join me in rejecting any form of support from any element of the pro-gun lobby."
In his 2009 campaign against former Councilman Jack Weiss, Trutanich was repeatedly criticized for the involvement of his former law firm with the National Rifle Association and a letter sent out by the NRA Victory Fund urging voters to support Trutanich.
Trutanich said he never represented the NRA in any case and that the representation was provided by his legal partner.
Feuer noted that Los Angeles was among the cities in the 1990s that passed a number of gun measures, including a limit on the number of weapons an individual can buy in one month.
"These laws help combat gun traffickers who had been acquiring multiple firearms at a time...and then reselling them on the street," Feuer wrote for the Huffington Post. The laws have made it difficult for criminals to arm themselves, he said.