In the aftermath of the UCLA shooting lockdown, the Orlando massacre, and a possible threat to West Hollywood's Gay Pride Parade, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck joined AirTalk to talk about the ongoing debates around security, public safety and gun control.
"The continuing theme," the chief said, "is that we continue to [make available] high capacity weapons that fire rapidly and easily and are designed to kill people — solely to kill people — and then we wonder why they do."
Chief Beck pointed at several areas where Second Amendment supporters and gun control advocates could probably find common ground.
"Everybody agrees that we need to keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn’t have them. So we need to start with that," Beck said. "And then we gotta go backwards and say, ‘What are the steps we can take to make that happen?’"
On the law enforcement response to the Orlando shooting
Beck: [Orlando law enforcement officers] were faced with a horrific, no-win situation. By the time they were able to deploy inside, many people had already been killed, and then they had to mitigate the further carnage. So, at this point, I don’t have any criticism, but my sympathy is certainly with them. They were put in a difficult place. They performed courageously.
The continuing theme is that we continue to [make available] high capacity weapons that fire rapidly and easily and are designed to kill people — solely to kill people — and then we wonder why they do."
On whether a ban on larger capacity magazines or semi-automatic rifles would make a difference
Beck: Well, maybe not right away because there are so many in circulation already but maybe our children's children would see a difference. I think we have to take some affirmative steps as a society to make things better. You know, we are the only fully developed, first-world country that sees this level of carnage.
On finding common ground on the gun debate
Beck: I think we can certainly agree that folks on a terrorism watch list and people who are subject to an ongoing investigation because of terrorist activities should be denied access to firearms. I think even the most staunch gun supporters would agree to at least part of that.
So I think we could start there and I know that discussion is ongoing. I think that background checks and waiting periods are something we could get to in a reasonable way if we structure it correctly. There’s no reason why people should have immediate access to guns.
In Florida, private person’s transfer requires no background and no documentation, at least that’s my understanding. So I think we can get some common ground on that.
Everybody agrees that we need to keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn’t have them. So we need to start with that. And then we gotta go backwards and say, ‘What are the steps we can take to make that happen?’
On the LAPD's new iWatch app for reporting suspicious activity
Beck: It’s an application for your mobile device, you can go to lapdonline.org or your app store and it’ll give you a tutorial on what to look for. And then it’ll give you an application on which to report things. And then we will screen what we get and decide what’s actionable and what’s not. This is a great way for the public to be involved in their own safety.
One of the tragedies with every single one of these incidents, Orlando included, is that there are gonna be a number of people that say, ‘You know, I saw things and I should have said something.’
Don’t be that person. Say something. We’ll vet it. . . . We understand the limits of what we can do and what we should do, but we can’t act on information we don’t have.
Please note: This article has been updated and edited for clarity.