Vet­eran cops chal­lenge San Fran­cisco on gun lim­its

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY VALERIE RICHARD­SON

Gun rights ad­vo­cates are chal­leng­ing a newly signed San Fran­cisco law that bans am­mu­ni­tion mag­a­zines hold­ing more than 10 rounds and gives own­ers 90 days to hand them over to po­lice.

The San Fran­cisco Vet­eran Po­lice Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion, rep­re­sented by at­tor­neys from the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, filed a fed­eral law­suit Tues­day against the am­mu­ni­tion limit signed Nov. 8 by San Fran­cisco Mayor Ed Lee, a Demo­crat.

“There are lots of bad guys and gangs out there with guns com­ing out of their ears,” said plain­tiff Larry Barsetti, who re­tired in 2003 af­ter 32 years with the San Fran­cisco Po­lice Depart­ment. “What leads peo­ple to be­lieve if you put lawabid­ing cit­i­zens at a dis­ad­van­tage by lim­it­ing their mag­a­zine rounds, that some­how that makes them safer?”

San Fran­cisco City At­tor­ney Den­nis Her­rera vowed to mount a “vig­or­ous de­fense” of the city’s 10-round mag­a­zine limit, which was passed unan­i­mously in Oc­to­ber by the city’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

“I have faith that the fed­eral ju­di­ciary will agree that San Fran­cisco’s gun laws pro­tect pub­lic safety in a man­ner that’s both rea­son­able and con­sti­tu­tional,” Mr. Her­rera said in a state­ment. “San Fran­cisco has been one of the NRA’s top tar­gets for years, and I’m proud of the suc­cess we’ve made to pro­tect our sen­si­ble gun safety laws.”

San Fran­cisco, known for some of the strictest firearms laws in the na­tion, is al­ready fight­ing two law­suits filed by the NRA. One suit chal­lenges the city’s or­di­nance re­quir­ing guns to be locked up when stored at home, while the other bans cer­tain types of am­mu­ni­tion.

The city’s lat­est gun-con­trol or­di­nance goes be­yond the state law ban­ning the sale of mag­a­zines ex­ceed­ing 10 rounds signed Oct. 11 by Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Jerry Brown. The San Fran­cisco law bans pos­ses­sion, mean­ing that own­ers will be re­quired to turn in their un­law­ful mag­a­zines by March 8, 90 days af­ter the or­di­nance takes ef­fect Dec. 8.

Those who refuse to re­lin­quish mag­a­zines hold­ing more than 10 rounds would be sub­ject to hav­ing them con­fis­cated by po­lice.

“The city’s or­di­nance would con­fis­cate any pro­hib­ited mag­a­zines and, be­cause of state laws, re­strict their trans­fer with­out re­place­ment,” said a state­ment by Michel & As­so­ci­ates, the Orange County law firm fil­ing the law­suit.

Am­mu­ni­tion mag­a­zines hold­ing more than 10 rounds have been com­monly used by firearms own­ers “for nearly two cen­turies,” said the Michel & As­so­ci­ates state­ment.

“Al­though the San Fran­cisco or­di­nance de­scribes the banned mag­a­zines as ‘large-ca­pac­ity,’ mag­a­zines with ca­pac­i­ties of more than 10 rounds are stan­dard for many com­mon hand­guns and long guns,” the state­ment says. “Mil­lions of firearms that have been sold in the United States come from the man­u­fac­turer with mag­a­zines ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more than 10 rounds.”

Gun con­trol groups were suc­cess­ful this year in push­ing am­mu­ni­tion-mag­a­zine lim­its in Colorado, Con­necti­cut and New York. All three state laws are now fac­ing law­suits filed by law en­force­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco and Sun­ny­vale have both ap­proved mea­sures lim­it­ing ac­cess to am­mu­ni­tion even af­ter Mr. Brown signed 11 gun con­trol bills in Oc­to­ber. The gov­er­nor, a Demo­crat, also ve­toed seven firearms mea­sures, in­clud­ing a bill that would have banned sale or pos­ses­sion of ri­fles with de­tach­able mag­a­zines of any size.

NRA at­tor­neys are plan­ning to file a law­suit against a sim­i­lar 10-round am­mu­ni­tion-mag­a­zine limit ap­proved Nov. 5 by Sun­ny­vale vot­ers.

In their law­suit chal­leng­ing the San Fran­cisco or­di­nance, at­tor­neys ar­gue that the Supreme Court af­firmed in Dis­trict of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that arms “typ­i­cally pos­sessed by lawabid­ing cit­i­zens for law­ful pur­poses” or those “in com­mon use” are pro­tected by the Sec­ond Amend­ment.

“Firearms with mag­a­zines ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more than 10 rounds can be traced back to the era of rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Four­teenth Amend­ment,” says the law­suit, filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court in San Fran­cisco. “Mil­lions of firearms that have been sold in the United States come stock from the fac­tory with mag­a­zines ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more than 10 rounds.”

Mr. Barsetti said he still owns two Glock pis­tols, the same kind he used dur­ing his years on the force. Their mag­a­zines hold 15 rounds and 17 rounds, but while the law con­tains ex­emp­tions for mil­i­tary per­son­nel and po­lice of­fi­cers, it makes no ex­emp­tion for re­tirees.

“I’m a Glock guy. I car­ried Glocks dur­ing my en­tire ca­reer,” said Mr. Barsetti. “So the sec­ond I re­tire, I’m a law­breaker?”

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