At the Aug. 3 City Council Study Session, Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti offered council members legislative and non-legislative options for increasing gun safety in Beverly Hills, at the request of Mayor Robert Wunderlich.
Wunderlich said he asked the BHPD for ideas due to rising crime nationwide, a recent district court ruling against California’s 32-year-old assault weapon ban, and a similar attempt in early 2020 by then-Mayor Friedman that was stalled by the pandemic.
The Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence says that California gun laws are the strongest in the nation. Currently, anyone who wants to purchase a firearm in the state must participate in a firearms safety course, undergo a background check, pass a written test, and perform a safe handling demonstration, among other requirements.
The state also places a series of strict limits on which type of firearms can be purchased, and who is licensed to sell them.
Beverly Hills also has its own rules applying to firearms dealers. The Municipal Code requires a special city permit for dealers, and forbids them from operating in residentially zoned areas. They must hold $1,000,000 in liability insurance and sign an agreement to assume responsibility for damages occurring due to their products. Anyone banned from owning a firearm or convicted of any firearm-related offense in the last five years is also prohibited from operating a dealership.
Additionally, the city forbids anyone under the age of 18 from entering a licensed location. Rivetti’s proposed non-legislative options would raise this age to 21, which is also the minimum age to buy a handgun in California.
To further increase gun safety in Beverly Hills, Rivetti worked with BHPD staff to propose legislative and non-legislative options.
Proposed legislative options include an ordinance mandating residents secure firearms inside their residence in a locked container; amend the Municipal Code to prohibit firearms dealers near schools or parks; amend the Municipal Code to prohibit people banned from buying guns from entering firearms locations; and enact an ordinance prohibiting the possession of firearms on city property and/or parks.
Non-legislative options include firearm safety courses for Beverly Hills residents who own firearms; a program to provide low-cost or free DOJ-approved trigger or cable locks; a city prosecutor to prosecute misdemeanor gun possession crimes; and a Gun Letter Program to provide recent firearm purchasers with gun safety information.
Chief Rivetti told the Courier that his staff is currently working to put non-legislative options in place, especially safety education programs for firearms owners.