San Francisco supervisors want to make the city the nation’s second ban handguns. Whether such a law would prove to be more than symbolic remains to be seen, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Legal challenges are being readied by those who see the proposed law — set to go to voters next fall — as conflicting with state law that says law-abiding citizens do not need permits or licenses to keep handguns in their homes. There are practical hurdles, such as enforcement of a ban in the absence of a public registry of gun owners in California? Police have the authority to take guns from criminal suspects.
Supporters say a ban would reduce the number of weapons available. Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, one of five supervisors who signed off on placing the proposed law on the next ballot, said it was concern about guns’ falling into the wrong hands that motivated her. Gun-owner-rights groups say such a law would invite crime, not prevent it, by prohibiting law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves and would not take guns out of the hands of criminals. The ordinance, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2006, if passed by a simple majority of voters, would prohibit the sale, manufacture, and distribution of all firearms in the city.