The Los Angeles City Council, in a meeting discussing a proposal to ban the private ownership of the .50 BMG in Los Angeles ...
... voted to have the city attorney draft an ordinance to ban the .50, and further, to instruct the city's representatives in Sacramento and in Washington D.C. to push for bans at their respective levels.
Ronnie Barrett, the owner of Barret Firearms Manufacturing, Inc., attended the meeting and attempted to present the facts of .50 BMG ownership in contravention of statements by the Violence Policy Center. (See also here.)
Unfortunately, the VPC press releases had apparently swayed the council members even before the meeting started, and his arguments seemed to have no effect.
Perhaps decisions of the council were pre-determined. Certainly Barrett's position was undermined by the presence of a LAPD member who brought a Barrett .50 BMG to the meeting, sat with it in the front row, and testified that the LAPD supported the ban on public ownership of the firearm. After the meeting, the LAPD member provided the rifle to council members for "photo opportunities".
Upon returning home, Barrett was surprised to find that the LAPD had returned for servicing one of the .50 BMG rifles which they had bought from Barrett.
In a letter to LAPD Chief Willam J. Bratton, Barrett apologized for the "slow service" and stated:
I will not sell, nor service, my rifles to those seeking to infringe upon the Constitution and the crystal clear rights it affords individuals to own firearms.
Here's the most important FACT of this situation:
The letter from Ronnie Barrett to the LAPD Chief of Police was dated December 11, 2002.
It may be "news", but it ain't NEW news.
I have no idea if Barrett has actually established a policy of not selling, nor servicing rifles sold to, the Los Angeles Police Department. Nor do I know if the policy, if actually established, has continued during the intervening 2+ years since the letter was published. I can't find anything on the Internet, and the item is too old to find any information in the LA Times, the LA City Council, or Barrett's website.
I guess the lesson here is: when you read something on the web it's a good idea to check it out before you get all excited about it.
I generally check out the Snopes website as my first step to determining the probable veracity of an 'urban legend', but this is a bit too eclectic to show up on the 'Snope Scope'.
(hat tip: Publicola)
I just received an email from Publicola:
I called Barret before I posted. If you look in the extended entry you'll see that they verified that they weren't selling to any government agency in Cali.
The letter is two years old & only dealt with L.A. but this thing they're doing now is statewide.