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Analyzing the facts in city attorney's race ads [Updated]

May 16, 2009 |  7:47 am

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Los Angeles city attorney candidate Jack Weiss aired a provocative new television ad this week that again attempts to brand opponent Carmen Trutanich with the gun clients represented by Trutanich's Long Beach law firm, Trutanich-Michel.

 But Trutanich’s campaign has cried foul, saying a number of the claims in Weiss’ ad take Trutanich’s comments out of context. Here’s a look at the claims and the candidates’ positions:

Weiss ad: “Trutanich proudly claims the National Rifle Assn. is his client." [Updated, 2:32 p.m.: The Weiss ad cites an Aug. 15, 2008 Daily News article in which Trutanich is quoted as saying, “The NRA is one of my clients.” Trutanich has said he was misquoted.]

Analysis: Trutanich says that he has never represented the NRA -- this was confirmed by the group’s spokesman -- and that he disagrees with many of the group’s positions. His law partner, Chuck Michel, is an attorney for the NRA. Trutanich and Michel share their firm’s profits. Weiss has said one reason he is running for city attorney is to fight the NRA.

Weiss ad: “He [Trutanich] says we don’t need more laws to control guns."

Analysis: Trutanich has said that because California has some of the most pervasive gun laws in the country, prosecutors need to be more vigorous in enforcing current laws: “We need to enforce the gun laws that exist and then we need to be surgical in regards to those gun laws that need to passed to stop the proliferation of illegal weapons in California,” Trutanich said. Weiss has argued that Los Angeles needs more gun control laws to fight gun violence.

Weiss ad: “Trutanich even called the ban against murderous .50-caliber ammunition 'ridiculous.' "

Analysis: During a Hollywood debate in April, Trutanich was actually making the argument that state laws are more effective in addressing gun violence than a patchwork of local laws that vary city to city. As an example, he brought up the city’s ban on .50-caliber ammunition, which was proposed by Weiss. Here’s Trutanich’s full quote at that debate: “I am for gun control. I am for gun laws. I am for putting people in jail who violate those laws. I’m not for window dressing. There are 80 cities surrounding Los Angeles. To pass a .50-caliber [ammunition] ordinance in the city of Los Angeles when you can walk across to Torrance and get the same piece of ammo is ridiculous. You want to do something? Go to Sacramento and get a pervasive law – do it statewide. Don’t window dress. Don’t run for office on the backs of what you say you’re doing. Go to Sacramento. Politic for the state to change the law. That’s how it’s done. And ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to gun laws, I will go to Sacramento.”

-- Maeve Reston

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