District Attorney Chesa Boudin got a writeup in the Times for charges he's bringing against three online retailers of "ghost guns" in California. And the Chronicle finds that he's charging more cases this year compared to his first year in office.
In conjunction with the gun control group founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Boudin filed suit Wednesday in California Superior Court against three gun-part sellers, citing the impacts of untraceable "ghost guns" — which are assembled from parts and have no serial numbers — on violent crime in San Francisco.
"Ghost guns are a massive problem in San Francisco — they are becoming increasingly involved in murders, attempted murders, and assaults with firearms," he tells the New York Times. "We know that the rise in gun violence is connected to the proliferation of, and easy access to, guns that are untraceable, guns that are easier to obtain by people who would be otherwise prohibited by law from getting them."
As SFPD Chief Bill Scott has said, 44% of guns recovered in homicide cases last year were ghost guns, up from just 6% in 2019. And the chief of police in Los Angeles, Michel Moore, said this year that ghost guns now account for a third of all weapons being recovered on the street.
The three online retailers, G.S. Performance, Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, and MDX Corporation, claim they are in full compliance with state and federal law. But Boudin's suit says they are marketing their gun parts to those who want to commit — and the suit seeks to make the sale of gun parts illegal in California.
Boudin's suit is one of several being pushed by gun-control activists to address the urgent issue of ghost gun proliferation. Another retailer, Polymer80, was sued earlier this year by the City of Los Angeles and the gun control group founded by Michael Bloomberg, Everytown for Gun Safety.
As the Times notes, Attorney General Merrick Garland has launched his own effort to ban the sale of ghost gun kits under a federal rule change, but the process will take time. Garland said earlier this year, "Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement."
Meanwhile, in other Boudin news, the Chronicle has a feature today that casts a generally positive light on the DA as he faces a potential recall. The piece refers to the June stabbing of 94-year-old Anh Peng Taylor on Lower Nob Hill, and the much publicized fact that suspect Daniel Cauich had been let out of jail just weeks earlier in a burglary case, and he had been imprisoned for months before that, also on burglary charges.
Cauich had previously served three years on a murder charge that was dropped in early 2019 — as SFist first reported, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence, in part due to a technicality and a Miranda rights issue, though one man still faces trial in the same killing.
Boudin has sought to make sure the public knows that his office asked the judge in Cauich's recent burglary case to hold him pending trial, but it was the judge that set him free with an ankle monitor.
The paper also analyzed charging documents and case data from the DA's office finding that while his office filed charges in 46% of cases brought by police and others in 2020, so far this year his office is prosecuting 56% of cases, which is a couple of points higher than Alameda County's less progressive DA Nancy O'Malley.
Boudin also may be responding to public outcry with some charging decisions this year. The Chronicle notes that charging percentages in some categories have gone up significantly this year, from 59% to 79% in auto burglary cases, and from 61% to 82% in commercial burglaries. Charges are filed about 70% of the time in home burglary cases, and that was true last year as well.
Pointing the finger at police when it comes to some charging decision, Boudin gives this quote: "In every single case where police bring us sufficient admissible evidence, my office vigorously prosecutes."
Elsewhere in the Chronicle today is a tidbit that probably isn't going to win him any popularity contests though: the Food Department went around asking notable San Franciscans what their go-to burrito spots are, and Boudin's is, well, an outlier. They tuck it at the end of the list, because it's Hook Fish Co. out in the Sunset — because I guess he likes fish burritos, and they make one there.