We must have missed this in the midst of all the Apprentice hoopla, but last week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors did what they do best- passed a sweeping, half-baked but well-intentioned measure to put on the ballot. The legislation this time? Handgun ban. And we’re not just talking about the sale of handguns, but the owning of handguns. In something right of the fevered dreams of the NRA, the legislation calls for the confiscation of all handguns owned by residents (but not non-residents) within 90 days of the measures' passage. Like this is going to go over quietly.
The legislation, proposed by Chris Daly (natch), calls for the banning of selling, distribution, and ownership of handguns except for law-enforcement officials, members of the military, and security guards. If the legislation passes, residents will have 90-days to hand in their guns without fear of penalty. What happens afterwards is still unclear, especially as there’s no way of actually checking to see whose been naughty and whose been nice- California has no such thing as hand-gun registration so there is no way of telling who has a gun. Such things as penalties for not turning in your guns and how the thing will work are also unclear. Also unclear is whether or not this thing is even legal as state law forbids local governments from usurping the state's authority to regulate firearms (a similar measure passed in 1982 was shot down- err, sorry for the pun- in the California Supreme Court). Then there’s the whole 2nd Amendment thing.
The legislation was passed by five of the Supervisors in response to the rising murder rate (86 so far this year, up from 77 last year) and will appear on the ballot next November. The only other city which has tried such a ban is Washington D.C., where it has worked out just swell- nobody is shot in D.C.. As expected, the gun-nuts and wing-nuts are in full lather over the legislation, with the Second Amendment Foundation blasting the legislation as “anti-gun bigotry.” Ouch! Incoming Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, however, counters with: "How many more Michael Moore films does it take to tell us that the Second Amendment is absolutely archaic, and other nations do it better than we do?" Touché!
Photo courtesy of the BBC