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Shannon Linton

San Francisco is posed to pass an ordinance to require all guns not carried on your person to be unloaded and locked up.  It would be very close to the Washington, D.C. case of District of Columbia v. Heller, where the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment was a fundamental, individual right to keep and carry arms for self defense. The difference with this ordinance: it allows a person to carry a loaded handgun on their person, in their home, but requires all other firearms to be unloaded and secured. From . . .

The proposal comes after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal filed by the National Rifle Association seeking to block a city 2007 ordinance that requires residents to store handguns in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock that has been approved by the Department of Justice.

Farrell is now proposing to add what are called long guns to the requirement, which are rifles or shotguns.

Farrell’s legislation advanced toward approval Monday out of the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee. The full board is expected to approve it next week.

It’s likely that the ordinance will be challenged. One of the main findings in the Heller case was that it was unconstitutional to remove a whole class of firearms as being useful for self defense in the home.

From Heller:

3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment . The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster.

Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

The ordinance essentially removes most possibilities of using long guns for self defense in the home.

Long guns are used for self defense many times more often than accidents occur in the home. While defensive uses of firearms are not tracked by police or any official agency, surveys show that firearms are used for defensive purposes between 500,000 and 3 million times each year.  Long guns total about 2/3 of all guns in the United States, and many households only own long guns, and not handguns. Anecdotal accounts of the use of long guns for defensive purposes are common. From 26 April, 2016

“I think when he punched me, he thought he’d knocked me out. Because he kept coming toward, down the hallway. And that’s when I went right back into the bedroom and grabbed the gun,” said Linton.

Now armed with the 12 gauge, she intended to use it to keep her daughter safe.

“The only thing I can remember is the guy at the door hollering ‘oh…’ and running. And I just fired, like I said, all I could think was it was him or me. And I had to protect my daughter,” Linton said.

Total accidents involving firearms have been trending down for decades. In 2014, the last year available for record, the CDC reports  15,928 accidental, non-fatal injuries involving firearms.  There were 586 fatal firearm accidents. It is likely that there are about 30 – 180 defensive uses in the home for each accidental injury with a firearm.

It seems doubtfull that this ordinance could survive a Constitutional challenge on its face. But the San Francisco Board of Supervisors may be emboldened by the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the challenge to the 2007 ordinance, and by the death of Antonin Scalia, a strong supporter of a literalist interpretation of the Constitution.

Supervisor Mark Farell states on Facebook that the Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed his firearms storage ordinance:

 Mark Farrell

Thanks to my colleagues for just voting unanimously to enact my gun safe storage and trigger lock law! Special thanks to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence for their partnership with me on this proposal and for all of their work to reduce gun violence!

The ordinance has yet to be challenged, or heard in an court. Any judicial decision will be months or years in the future.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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  1. How can they know your guns location/ condition if they cannot search your house? This is just another unenforceable law.

    • It’s unenforceable until you have to use a gun in a self defense situation. The DAs in SF are more than zealous to tack on any bogus charges especially if it’s a gun charge. So you fired your gun in self defense. Well , how did you get to it so fast? How did you unlock it so fast? Oh, you were home carrying? Well where’s your holster? Gotcha questions like these are sure to frighten legal gun owners into compliance, thus rendering the purpose of having an accessible firearm obsolete in the first place

  2. Requiring guns not in use to be secured comes under the authority of Congress, as well as under the meaning of “well-regulated”.

    Designating which guns can be in use… fails.

    • “Requiring guns not in use to be secured comes under the authority of Congress,…”

      Really? Where does it say that?

      Because I see the phrases “Congress shall make no law…” and “…shall not be infringed.” plain as day.

      “as well as under the meaning of “well-regulated”.”

      Your comprehension of the vernacular of the 1700’s… sadly, *fails*…

      • Read Article I, Section 8. Proper security for the weapons of a militia member falls under “discipline”. It is also part of “well-regulated”, at least according to G. Washington.

        I don’t know what you’re quoting, as there is no “Congress shall make no law” involved.

        • “Well regulated” just meant “in good working order,” “of good quality,” etc…it has nothing to do with government having any authority to regulate. The Bill of Rights is all about restraints on the government, not a granting of authority. Article I, Section 8 deals with training of the militia at large, not how people store their weapons at home.

          Would be interested in seeing the reference from George Washington you are referring to however.

        • I have my doubts about your reading comprehension. A “well-regulated Militia” is, yes, “one in good working order”. And according to G. Washington, that included the things I have mentioned. That’s about definitions; it has nothing to do with the government.

          Congress is given authority to discipline the militia. That means to set rules that serve to enhance its being well-regulated. And that means that Congress has the authority to address the issues I related from G. Washington.

          Thus, Congress has the authority to require secure storage of any arms not in use.

          Given, however, the strength of “shall not infringe”, the term “in use” would have to be construed broadly; it cannot be limited to “on one’s person), as, for example, a shotgun over the refrigerator for home defense is clearly “in use”, because it has been placed so as to be quickly available for its function.

  3. It strikes me that not leaving guns lying around is generally a good idea. The problem here is that they’re taking a generality and turning it into a hard and fast rule.

    Sure, I lock my shotguns to the wall in various parts of my house with a “shot lock” but at night I also keep a suppressed USP on my bedside table. Clearly that’s not locked or secured on my person because I’m not sleeping with a holster on. No one makes a locking system that would work with the way that gun is set up anyway. Why should that be a crime?

    Then there’s the technical aspect of exactly how this could be parsed in court. OK, I went to the range with four rifles. I have them out and I’m cleaning them. Now, clearly the one in my hands has a legit reason to be out but how much do you want to bet that under this sort of law each of the other three on the table waiting to be cleaned or waiting to go back in the safe could be argued successfully to be a violation? This sounds to me like it would potentially require me to put 3/4ths of the rifles in my safe, lock the safe, clean one individually, unlock the safe, place the cleaned rifle in the safe, take out another one to clean and relock the safe. Rinse and repeat until all guns are cleaned.

    But then again, ignoring all that, what business does any government have telling me what I can and can’t do in my own house if no one is being harmed by my actions?

  4. There is a law to this effect here in MA.

    In the event that some miscreants decide to invade my abode in the middle of the night, they will be stunned to find that I can walk over to my gun safe, open it, withdraw my weapon of choice, load it and fire in exactly the same amount of time that it would take just to pick it up from my nightstand.

    It’s a miracle!

  5. I think all gun owners need to carry their black rifles on them at all times at home. Especially near the windows with the shades open. best be at low ready too.

        • Missed the humor completely. And jwm obsessed. It happens to women, mostly. Not that I have anything against gays, but I’m hetero. And happily married. So it won’t ever happen. Need to find another to fullfil your fantasies.

  6. The problem with this law is if you invite the police into your home for some other reason
    For instance to make a police report about stolen property
    If they see your collection displayed on a rack
    You are now in violation of the law

    • As one example, yes. Anytime the police lawfully come into your home they may view anything “in plain sight.” And if what they see constitutes a crime, they may arrest, seize, whatever.

    • If you need to make out a stolen property report — go to the police station as I did a few years ago. But don’t invite police into your home.

  7. “It seems doubtfull that this ordinance could survive a Constitutional challenge on its face.”

    Sorry, Dean, I have to disagree. That’s what the plaintiffs in Jackson v. San Francisco, who challenged the same ordinance as it pertained to handguns, thought too, but they were shot down in the trial court and in the Ninth Circuit. The ordinance was designed to get as close to the D.C. ordinance invalidated by Heller without crossing the line. Since the Supreme Court declined to hear Jackson, the probability that this ordinance will be invalidated in the trial court (which is bound by the Ninth Circuit decision in Jackson) is absolutely zero, and the probability that some other panel in the Ninth will be willing or able to distinguish Jackson is near zero. And after denying review in Jackson when Scalia was still on the bench, the probability of a grant of review of this ordinance is also essentially nil.

    • Yup. Which is exactly why the LCPGV crafted the law the same. Its called incrementalism.

      Democrat pols are competing for glory pandering to the limosine liberals. DeLeon and Newsome dont care about citizen rights, just getting elected.

      6 years after Peruta and a year and a half of the 9th sitting on its hands. Meanwhile Kamal Harris is rewarded for executive authority abuse on the illegal Roster of handguns, with Boxers Senate seat.

      Time to leave cA.

  8. This kind of crap is why I don’t go places that don’t have reciprocity with Georgia. If they can’t meet that rather minimal standard, then they don’t deserve even minimal tourist dollars from my wallet much less adding my money to their economy or tax base.

  9. This is only the first step. Next will be an ordinance requiring the Building Inspector to verify the safety of all firearms storage areas. Followed by a requirement for annual inspections of firearms storage areas to make sure they haven’t become insecure. Followed by a $2,000 annual firearm storage area inspection fee. Followed by a requirement that a warning sign must be posted on the exterior of any building that contains a firearm storage area letting the public know that a firearms storage area is on the premises. Followed by a requirement that the warning sign contain a map to the firearm storage area for the use of firemen, inspectors, and police. Followed by a sign permit fee of $2,000 per year………Australia require firearms storage inspections.

  10. Leaving a safe dial a few numbers off from the last number, is a common practice where people ( businesses ) are in and out of it a lot.

    It’s called a ” day combination “, it’s common for burglars to turn the dial while applying pressure to handle , because that practice is so widespread .

    One would be wise to spin it before leaving the house .

  11. So in San Fransisco, it IS okay for homeless men to pull down their pants and spray passersby with urine, but its NOT okay for someone to have an unlocked rifle in a private residence?

    • So in San Fransisco, it IS okay for homeless men to pull down their pants and spray passersby with urine

      Not only is it okay, but I understand that they charge extra for that.

  12. So the law in San Fransissyco will be “firearms MUST be locked up” but “biological weapons of mass destruction” like HIV/AIDS+ Board of Supervisors members Scott “Chokes On” Wiener and others of his ilk will be unrestricted, permitted to roam the community spreading deadly diseases. Yeah I get it, “it’s for the children” that is unless that “child” you’re having sex with is someone, lets say a teenage/pre-teen male.

  13. Get a sign printed that reads: “Gun Safe” and nail it to your front door. Now, when the door is locked, your guns are safely locked in the safe.

  14. Interesting point. I do not know of any non-licensed entities that are required to lock up any other private property, such as prescription drugs, automobiles, machetes, axes, gasoline, or even explosives.

    Explosives have had storage requirements outside of densely populated areas.

  15. I support the law 100 per cent. Only a Moron would leave any loaded weapon laying around with kids in the house. With lock boxes that can be accessed with only a couple touches of a key pad the law does not impede one from access immediately to a hand gun.

    And as far as the ignorant comments that it cannot be enforced. Not true because the Conservative being as cheap and tight as they are only has to see one example made of someone that is not only jailed but more important to their twisted minds fined for thousands of dollars as that really makes the Conservative sit up and take notice.

    By the way I am a gun owner and when I had kids at home I did just exactly that, kept all guns unloaded and locked up except one which was in a lock box or on my person depending on what time of day it was. According to NBC News last night over 80 some children lost their lives either from shooting themselves or being shot by another child and most were an average of 3 years of age, way to young for the ignorant Conservative excuse that you can teach a child at any age to respect guns. Pure horseshit.

    • You support the government deciding that one kind of weapon is off-limits for defending yourself? Wow.

      I met a police officer who would be dead if this law had been in force, because the 14 year-old kid who came to his rescue with a rifle wouldn’t have been able to do so. So as far as I’m concerned, this is just another law favoring criminals.

      Congress has the authority to require secure storage of any arms not in use. Arguably, that means no one else does, since that authority is assigned to Congress and not to anyone else.

    • cisco kid,

      What is wrong or dangerous about having a loaded rifle or shotgun on a shelf that is near the ceiling and away from anything a young child could climb or employ as an improvised ladder? By the time a child is old enough to move and stack up tables, boxes, and chairs to reach that shotgun, they are old enough to know that they must leave it alone.

      That is an incredibly safe and responsible method to store a rifle or shotgun … which is still available for immediate use in the event of a home invasion. However, the San Francisco law precludes this option.

    • The law doesn’t say anything about having kids in the house.

      I happen to think it’s a good idea to keep unused guns locked up with kids in the house. I just don’t think my every opinion is the proper subject for legislation.

      • This is correct. The law applies if you have kids or not, and even if you are single with no children. Having a trigger lock on your firearm(s) isn’t going to stop a theft, nor for that matter will most bedside vaults. But since guns are dangerous delinquents, they must be locked up for our own good.

  16. This ordinance will spread through the state when enough enmity has built between the paragons of 2A infringements, DeLeon and Newsom, finally unfurling their rank grotesqueries as a combined force of constitutional negation.

    This is simply a trial run to institute new measures to treat us like children, and yet, will the pending gun violence research center find data that shows that ever more restrictions leads to non-compliance, or that many people in the state will die trying to assemble their firearms and be killed, raped, beaten in home invasions, robberies, and assaults? Stupid question of course, they only see disarmament as the answer.

    There is a single point that this ordinance alludes to and it is a strong one, there are many people who disrespect their firearms, themselves, their families, and others by taking their responsibilities as firearm owners for granted, but this pending ordinance mucks up that message.

    Within the people of the gun, there are dumb ass es, who take their firearms for granted and every time one of them hurts themselves, or kills themselves, or others, it makes the People of the Gun look bad, only because of the violent discrimination of the anti 2A crowd, they speak at the behest of rich statists who only want to take more from the people in ever increasing ways. These people “own firearms” but they are not the People of the Gun.

    Apologies that took so long to get out.

  17. I know no one reads my rants, but wtf is wrong with them? What are they planning to do to people in their too-expensive domiciles?

    • You are probably correct as to the former, dead bang wrong on the latter. After Jackson affirmed the same ordinance as applied to handguns, I would not be surprised if no one bothered to challenge this ordinance.

  18. Sounds like a silly ordinance to me, I know that if someone broke into my house I wouldn’t want to have to unlock my gun, find ammo, and load it. I feel like the city is really messing with peoples safety.


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