Gun owners wasted no time yesterday in challenging San Francisco’s newly enacted prohibition on handgun possession by filing a lawsuit in the same court that tossed out a local handgun ban 23 years ago, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The critics vowed to use shotguns to protect themselves if necessary. The lawsuit argues that Proposition H, approved Tuesday by 58 percent of the city’s voters, oversteps local government authority and intrudes into an area entirely regulated by the state.
Some gun owners are preparing for the possibility of having to give up their handguns on Jan. 1, when the law is to take effect. The measure doesn’t make it illegal for San Franciscans to possess shotguns. Under Prop. H, residents have until April 1 to surrender their handguns to police without penalty. The proposition also makes it illegal to sell, manufactur,e and distribute firearms and ammunition within city limits. The lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association argues that California law, which authorizes police agencies to issue handgun permits, implicitly forbids “local attempts to ban the possession of handguns by law-abiding, responsible adults.” Larry Barsetti, a retired San Francisco police lieutenant who is one of the plaintiffs, owns three handguns and has a license to carry a concealed weapon, but he fears that Prop. H means he will not be able to carry a gun on the streets of the city he once patrolled. “My problem is if I can’t have a handgun when I go to any of the areas were I worked for 30 years and arrested thousands of people, I can’t protect myself,” he said.