WHITTIER >> What began as a routine traffic accident investigation earlier this week ended with police arresting of the involved drivers, a convicted felon, after finding an AK-47-style rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a handgun and drugs in his car, authorities said.
Joshua David Fink, 38, was booked on suspicion of being convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, possession of illegal weapons, possession of drugs while armed and existing warrants following his Wednesday morning arrest, according to Whittier police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Police responded to a two-car crash shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 15400 block of Whittier Boulevard, Whittier police Lt. Mike Przybyl said. Further details were not available regarding the collision itself, but it was not believed to involved any major injuries.
“As paramedics were treating one of the drivers, they noticed a handgun hidden in the car,” police said in a written statement. “Officers conducted a field investigation and recovered a handgun, assault rifle, sawed-off shotgun, ammunition and drugs from the vehicle.”
Fink appeared in Bellflower Superior Court Friday, where he was charged with seven gun- and drug-related crimes, court documents show. His arraignment hearing was postponed until Monday, officials said.
PHOTO courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.
LA HABRA >> A federal grand jury indicted a La Habra businessman Thursday on charges of illegally manufacturing and selling AR-15 style rifle parts, as well as completed firearms, authorities said.
ROHG Industries owner Joseph Roh, 46, of Fullerton agreed to turn himself in to authorities Friday, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in federal court in Los Angeles.
Roh is accused of making and selling hundreds of lower receivers for AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, Mrozek said. A lower receiver is the primary component of the rifle, containing the trigger and hammer.
“In addition to the lower receivers, the indictment alleges that Roh illegally sold complete rifles and pistols,” Mrozek said.
Roh was not licensed to manufacture or sell guns, officials added.
Starting with an incomplete lower receiver, Roh and his employees would complete the firearm part using machining tools.
“Roh attempted to avoid the licensing requirements by requiring that each customer play a token role in the manufacturing process, which often meant merely pushing a button on a (milling) machine, while company employees did the vast majority of the work,” Mrozek said.
While the manufacture and sale of incomplete lower receivers is not legally regulated, the manufacture and sale of complete lower receivers is, and requires proper licensing, Mrozek explained.
Only the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle must be serialized and registered as a firearm under state and federal law.
In some cases, at the request of customers, Roh would complete the assembly of the guns, adding an upper receiver, barrel and all other necessary components, according to the DOJ.
If convicted as charged, Roh faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
MONTEBELLO >> Police are inviting local families to a town hall meeting Saturday to discuss gun safety.
The Montebello Police Department and Project Child Safe are hosting the meeting at 9 a.m. at the Montebello Senior Center, 115 S. Taylor Avenue, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said.
After a discussion on safe firearm storage, free gun locks will be provided at the Montebello Police Department, 1600 W. Beverly Blvd., officials said. McGruff the Crime Dog will be on-hand to meet with children.
For more information, visit www.projectchildsafe.org.
MONTEREY PARK — Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Cerritos, joined with other political and law enforcement leaders Thursday to announce she has introduced legislation into Congress to fund gun buyback programs.
The Firearm Safety and Buyback Grant of 2013, also known as H.R. 793, would establish a grant program through the Department of Justice to be distributed to local law enforcement agencies for gun buyback programs, as well as anti-violence and gun safety campaigns, the congresswoman said.
She was joined at a press conference by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure, Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Commerce and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The funds for the proposed grant program would come from a 10 percent tax on new sales of “concealable” firearms, such as handguns, which are most commonly involved in gun violence, Sanchez said.
“My heart breaks when I see story after story of gun violence,” Sanchez said.
While highly publicized incidents such as the recent school Massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, has brought national attention to the issue of gun violence, she said, “In Los Angeles County, we already know the deep wounds created by gun violence. We know it all to well.”
Sanchez said that while no one law will be a panacea to address all the nation’s problems with gun violence, H.R. 793 is an important step in the right direction.
“Getting guns off the streets does make communities safer,” Sanchez said.
“We can’t stand here and say because we don’t have the perfect solution, we shouldn’t try,” she said.
Through the gun buyback grants, as well as the anti-violence and gun safety campaigns that would be created by the proposed legislation, the law would give local law enforcement officials additional tools to employ in their mission to protect public safety.
Sanchez added that the buyback programs are designed to give people a financial incentive to responsibly get rid of unwanted guns before they fall into the wrong hands. In buybacks, those who turn in guns are given gift cards for retailers ranging in value from $50 to $300, depending on the type of weapon surrendered.
Officials pointed recent at gun buybacks in Los Angeles County as signs that gun buybacks are useful and necessary.
Los Angeles police collected more than 2,000 firearms during a buyback event at two locations in December. Officials in Compton last month collected nearly 400 weapons at a buyback.
Sheriff Baca said the legislation would increase public safety, encourage responsible gun ownership and amounted to “common sense.”
“This is a prevention program,” the sheriff said.
“We’re not talking about infringing on the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution,” Baca said. “We believe we’re not asking too much.”
Over the past six years, 276 law enforcement officers have been assaulted with firearms in Los Angeles County, Baca said.
“This is unacceptable,” he said. “We believe the public deserves better. We believe our risk should be reduced.”
Chief McClure said he, too, was strongly in favor of the proposal.
“It’s common sense, it’s sensible, it’s responsible. It will reduce the violence. This provides financial resources to small agencies, like myself,” he said. “I encourage everyone to support this legislation.
SACRAMENTO — Legislation that has the backing of California’s attorney general would close a loophole in the nation’s toughest assault weapons law, making it more difficult for guns to be swiftly reloaded with high-capacity magazines.
Attorney General Kamala Harris and a Democratic state lawmaker are seeking the change after this summer’s massacre at a Colorado movie theater.
The state’s regulations allow gun manufacturers to sell weapons in California with magazines that can be removed and replaced quickly using a simple tool known as a “bullet button.”
Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco plans to amend SB249 next week to make it clear that state law bans rifles and shotguns with easily detachable magazines.
The National Rifle Association warns that hundreds of thousands of semiautomatic rifles legally sold in California would become illegal.
– Associated Press
ROWLAND HEIGHTS — Sheriff’s officials will be exchanging gift cards for guns next month in an effort to make local neighborhoods safer, authorities said.
The “Gifts for Guns” exchange will take place April 3 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and April 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a parking lot at 19725 Colima Road, near Fairway Drive, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Those who bring guns, unloaded and in their trunks, will receive their choice of gift cards from a variety of local retailers and grocery stores while supplies last, officials said.
Gift cards worth $100 will be given for most handguns, rifles and shotguns, while $200 cards will be exchanged for assault weapons, officials added.
No questions will be asked, and participants will remain anonymous.
For more information, contact the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station at (909) 595-2264.
* Photo: A Gifts for Guns exchange in Compton in December of 2008, in which a record number of guns were collected. (Courtesy of the Associated Press)
Possibly prompted by the faltering economy, sheriff’s officials collected a record number of guns this this year — about 1,000 — in the annual “Gifts for Guns” program in Compton. While in past years, most participants asked for Best Buy gift certificated in exchange for their weapons, this year grocery gift cards are the most popular. Participants received a $100 gift card for each working gun turned in, and a $200 card for every assault weapon. Here’s the story from the Associated Press:
COMPTON — A program to exchange guns for gifts brought in a record number of
weapons this year as residents hit hard by the economy look under the bed and in closets to find items to trade for groceries.
The annual Gifts for Guns program ended Sunday in Compton, a working class city south of Los Angeles that has long struggled with gun and gang violence. In a program similar to
ones in New York and San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department allows residents to anonymously relinquish firearms in return for $100 gift cards for Ralphs supermarkets, Target department stores or Best Buy electronics stores.
Turning in assault rifles yields double that amount.
In years past, Target and Best Buy were the cards of choice, with residents wanting presents for the holidays.
This year, most asked for the supermarket cards, said sheriff’s Sgt. Byron Woods.
“People just don’t have the money to buy the food these days,” he said.
Deputies were counting the weapons collected and expected to gather about 1,000. Authorities said 590 guns and two hand grenades were handed in during the last weekend in November, more than the total collected in any year and eclipsing last year’s 387 guns.