San Francisco to vote on banning handguns

Read all the details here

San Francisco supervisors want voters to approve a sweeping handgun ban that would prohibit almost everyone except law enforcement officers, security guards and military members from possessing firearms in the city.

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.

Under the language of the measure, the ban would not apply police officers, security guards, members of the military, and anyone else “actually employed and engaged in protecting and preserving property or life within the scope of his or her employment.”

If approved by a majority of the city’s voters, the law would take effect in January 2006. Residents would have 90 days after that to relinquish their handguns.

One of the more interesting aspects of this is that the ban would be illegal because of state prememption on firearms laws so it couldn’t really be enforced.  Another potentially illegal aspect–it’s possible there is some sort of compensation scheme in mind which isn’t mentioned in the news articles but if there isn’t I also suspect there is a problem with taking of property without renumeration.  And of course there is that pesky 2nd Amendment issue.  But California hasn’t been bothered by it for as long as anyone can remember.  And politicians, and liberals in particular, generally don’t really care if what they want to do is illegal so I doubt that any of those things will slow them down any in their lemming like rush for the ocean (an urban legend by the way).  As pointed out in the article:

Washington, D.C., is the only major American city that currently bans handgun possession by private citizens. Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association, said San Francisco would be remiss to use that city as a model.

“If gun control worked, Washington, D.C., would be the beacon. However, it’s the murder capital of the United States,” he said.

Technically D.C. is the only major American city that bans handguns, but IIRC Chicago only allows handguns if they have been registered and “grandfathered” since 1976.  So in essence handguns are banned in Chicago as well.  The end result is that D.C. and Chicago tend to alternate in terms of which city is “the murder capital of the United States”.  One must presume that San Francisco wants to join in the competition.

Update 19:30 12/16/2004: The Second Amendment Foundation came out with this press release.