Glendale City Council candidates asked about guns

With roughly a week left before the City Council election, an anti-gun group in Glendale has received only one response to a survey it sent to candidates earlier this month asking whether they would pledge to oppose any proposed repeal of a gun-show ban the council approved last year as well as a variety of other gun-related questions.

The single respondent, Paula Devine, a retired teacher, said she would protect the ban, which restricts the sale of guns or ammunition on city property, according to her survey answer.

Deborah Dentler, a co-founder of the anti-gun-violence group Coalition for a Better Glendale, said by phone Wednesday she was saddened that four of the five candidates apparently didn’t care enough to respond to the organization’s survey, adding that she thought the mass shooting in Isla Vista on Friday would make gun control a higher priority for the council candidates.

“I’m really, really disappointed especially in light of the Isla Vista shooting,” she said. “I drove to my P.O. Box hoping and expecting that the shooting would have motivated the candidates to respond.”

The Coalition for a Better Glendale formed in response to the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 26 people dead. The massacre also played a role in sparking some council members to push for the gun-show ban, despite strong opposition from the National Rifle Assn. and gun supporters.

In her survey, Devine said she would support a city-sponsored gun buy-back program and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines within city limits, noting that she is committed to taking any measure to keep teachers and children safe. She said that in 1988 she was a teacher at San Gabriel High School when a student armed with an assault rifle held 70 others hostage.

“It gives you a different perspective on what happens and on what can happen in our schools,” she said in a phone interview.

Cities such as Los Angeles and Oakland already have gun buy-back programs, and Sunnyvale and San Francisco have banned the possession of high-capacity magazines within city limits.

Candidate Rick Barnes, a real-estate agent who opposed the gun-show ban last year, said by phone Wednesday that the deadly rampage by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger in Isla Vista that killed six UC Santa Barbara students, has made him unsure about his former stance.

Due to the shooting that killed students from his daughter’s alma mater, he said he needs to reflect on whether he would change his position on the gun-show ban.

“This week, it’s too close to home to make that particular decision,” he said, although he went on to add that he would support a ban on high-capacity magazine sales within city limits.

He would, however, accept campaign contributions from the National Rifle Assn. and any other group, as long as the money didn’t come with strings attached, he said.

Devine said she would not accept campaign contributions from the pro-gun lobbying group.

Candidate Chahe Keuroghelian said he mailed his survey response two days ago, although it had yet to be received by the coalition on Wednesday He also said he would not accept money from the NRA.

Like Devine, the small business manager promised to protect the gun-show ban and said he would support a ban on high-capacity magazines and a gun buy-back program.

Candidate Vartan Gharpetian, who said he did not plan to fill out the survey, said he would not oppose the gun-show ban in the future, but he would support the Glendale Gun Show, which had operated at the Civic Auditorium for two decades before the prohibition, if it was operated at a private venue, such as the Hilton Glendale.

The business owner would support a gun buy-back program, as long as it didn’t take place at a location visited by the public, such as a park. However, he said he would have to research high-capacity magazines before he could form an opinion on that issue.

Candidate Mike Mohill said by phone that he was too busy to answer questions about the survey.

In the June 3 election, a single council seat is open with a 10-month term. The election was prompted by former Councilman Rafi Manoukian stepping down to become City Treasurer. Councilman Frank Quintero was appointed to fill the position through June.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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