Friday, June 14, 2002
Delgadillo Forms Gun Prosecution Unit to Enforce Local Permit Rules
By a MetNews Staff Writer
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo yesterday announced the creation of a new task force to crack down on federally licensed firearm dealers operating without valid local licenses.
Funded with a federal grant from the Department of Justice, the Gun Prosecution Task Force will be made up of three prosecutors assigned to investigate the more than 160 dealers in Los Angeles with federal firearms licenses to be sure they also have the local licenses issued by the Police Commission.
“With the formation of this task force, we take an important step in taking guns off our streets and out of the hands of criminals,” Delgadillo said in a statement.
Many federally licensed gun dealers fail to get Los Angeles permits because the requirements for local permits are much more stringent, city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said.
Permits issued by the Police Commission restrict dealers from selling guns in residential areas and in order to be approved, dealers must consent to the inspection of the business premises, books and records at any time by the Los Angeles Police Department in the course of an investigation, Mateljan said.
Prosecutors will work with the LAPD’s gun unit and other law enforcement agencies on locating sources of illegal firearms.
Prosecutors also will trace guns recovered by LAPD investigators in order to track down illegal gun sellers.
“Illegal firearms represent a serious public safety concern for all our residents,” Delgadillo said.
The formation of the task force signals a departure from the current office practice of allowing any criminal prosecutor to handle a gun case rather than shift it off to a specialized unit, Mateljan said.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company