SFO Handgun Ban

In a bizarre move, San Francisco is considering banning handguns. Via Alphecca where I see the occasional article rounding up gun bias in the media, we reach this editorial on the ban at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Clayton Cramer also comments on the article, posting out that guns are already confiscated from those that carry openly, carry without a permit, commit crimes with them and so on. The point of the gun ban, then? To get rid of the ones that are not carried illegally or used in crimes.

He points to a full article on the issue at SFGATE.com.

How many residents would be affected by the ban is unclear, since California does not require residents to register handguns that are kept in a private residence of business.

How on Earth will the ban be implemented then? With a house-to-house search?

The measure, which will appear on the municipal ballot next year, would bar residents from keeping guns in their homes or businesses, Bill Barnes, an aide to Supervisor Chris Daly, said Wednesday. It would also prohibit the sale, manufacturing and distribution of handguns and ammunition in San Francisco, as well as the transfer of gun licenses.
Barnes said the initiative is a response to San Francisco's skyrocketing homicide rate, as well as other social ills. There have been 86 murders in the city so far this year compared to 70 in all of 2003.

As mentioned in the article, they are disappointed being behind Washington, D.C., the only city in the United States with a handgun ban, and certainly a more violent place than San Francisco. It appears SFO doesn't like being behind DC in murder rates. Either than or they are trying to rival the dramatic increase in violent crime exhibited by Great Britain, after their handgun (and other gun) ban.

The proposal was immediately dismissed as illegal, however, by Gun Owners of California, a Sacramento-based lobbying group. Sam Paredes, the group's executive director, said the state has for years had a “pre-emption law” on the books that bars local governments from usurping the state's authority to regulate firearms.
“The amazing thing is they are going to turn San Francisco into ground zero for every criminal who wants to profit at their chosen profession,” Paredes said. “People are going to be assaulted, people are going to be robbed, people are going to be pushed around by thugs and the police are going to be powerless to do anything about it.”

Indeed, the law may violate California's weak pre-emption law, but liberla bastions have looked for ways around pre-emption statutes all the time. The fight from 2001–onward in Portland, OR over the banning of carrying concealed with a legal state permit (which statewide pre-emption prohibits localities from further regulating) has been fascinating. The city hires a private contractor and the local cronies on the courts upheld this move saying that private businesses are not affected by pre-emption even though their employers are. That and local schools have tried time and time again to prohibit permit holders from carrying on their campuses.

How many residents would be affected by the ban is unclear, since California does not require residents to register handguns that are kept in a private residence of business. Only 10 people in San Francisco have been issued concealed weapons permits allowing them to carry guns and the city has only three licensed gun dealers, Barnes said.

Compare ten permit holders to seventy or eight thousand in the greater Portland area. That's the difference between a state where permits are issues to cronies (California) to a state where permits are required to be issued to those to meet the legal backgound and training requirements (Oregon). Washington, just across the river, has no training requirements, and yet doesn't havemore crime committed by permit holders.

Update: Some reminders from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF):

“This issue was decided by the California courts more than 22 years ago, and the gun ban extremists lost,” recalled SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “Why some city supervisors want to waste the time, and money, of voters to revisit an issue that was unanimously trounced by the State Court of Appeals makes no sense. Even if the ban were to pass, it will not hold up in court.”
In late June 1982, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein pushed through a handgun ban in San Francisco that lasted only three months before it was overturned by the California State Court of Appeals. Twenty days after the ban was enacted, SAF took Feinstein and the city to court, ultimately beating the ban on Oct. 30 of that year. The city appealed that decision to the California Supreme Court, which allowed the Appeals Court ruling to stand in January 1983.

Josh Poulson

Posted Friday, Dec 17 2004 07:32 AM

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