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Not to tweak liberal gun rights champion Dan Baum‘s nipples again, but lefties hate guns. And crime. And violence. And social policies that create a criminal underclass by denying disadvantaged Americans the chance to better themselves through education, subsidized housing and federal job creation. But definitely guns. So it’s no surprise that San Francisco residents want a gun store in their city about as much as they want Rush Limbaugh to join the City Council. But there is one—count it one— gun store in The City by the Bay. High Bridge Guns. Which needs a permit to reopen . . .

Pity the poor writer who favors the store’s survival at its current location, but must address the most gun-aversive audience in the United States. That would be Phil Bronstein. Mr. B starts as his readers would like him to finish: excoriating Americans for not being as sensible on gun control as . . . Bosnia?

I just got back from Bosnia, and the only guns I saw were rusted relics in makeshift museums.

Somehow the capital, Sarajevo, managed to emerge from four years of hyperviolent siege with lots of bullet-pocked buildings and mortar casings as objects d’art in street stalls but with no apparent firearms problems.

Back here in San Francisco, though, where plastic bags, soda drinks and mishandled recycling cause health-hazard panic, the reopening of a totally legit gun store was bound to catch some neighborhood flak.

These aren’t gangbanger street guns but licensed firearms, complete with background checks and more official limitations than we put on torture.

See how he does that? Begins the piece with an anti-gun slant and then slowly turns it around. Clever man. Although it has to be said, well, check this from Bosnia’s state run tourist agency: “The overall crime rate throughout the country remains relatively low.” Now, the same info from The Overseas Security Advisory Council:

The overall crime rate in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) remains high, with the greatest concentration of incidents occurring in urban areas.  Crime statistics for 2008 indicate that there were 8,831 criminal offenses reported in Sarajevo, 8.5 percent fewer than in 2007.  While this appears to be a positive development, it is widely accepted that this only reflects a decrease in crimes reported, and not an actual decrease in crime . . .

Along with street crime, there is a significant organized crime element in BIH.  Crime groups are involved in smuggling, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking for prostitution, and other transnational crime.  Violence among organized crime groups or connected individuals is quite common.  As a result of the war in the early 1990s, military grade firearms and munitions are abundant in BIH. Violent crimes are often committed with these weapons to include: machine gun attacks, car bombings, rocket attacks, and an increasing amount of grenade attacks. Though the expatriate community is not specifically targeted, they could become victims due to circumstance or proximity.

Now there’s something to which any American city should aspire! Not. OK, moving on dot org, back to Mr. Bronstein’s gradually pro-gun shop polemic.

Still, the Northwest Bernal Alliance and three other local groups are urging authorities to deny a permit to High Bridge Arms gun store on Mission Street after a brief closure because its members don’t want such a place “near our homes and/or schools.”

Officially, the organizations are not opposed to people owning guns, Alliance member Jaime Ross told me. They’d just “rather have something the neighborhood could enjoy – a laundry or wine and cheese shop.”

Do we really need to make a high-caliber stink about reopening the only legal firearms sales outlet in the city, even in a nice neighborhood? No. The place has been a gun store for 50 years, and local Ingleside police Capt. Louis Cassanego says that as far as he knows, “there’s never been a problem.” The captain is for the permit “so long as certain precautions are taken,” including all legal requirements and then some. But e-mails he’s seeing are running 10-1 against the store’s permit application.

It’s not a puppy store, after all, or community center. Neither is it a bordello.

The word you’re looking for there is “bathhouse.” And it’s nice to see the moral relativism deployed against gun rights groups turned on gun control advocates, for a change. But I would like to know more about that “brief closure.” Remodeling? New management? Problems with the ATF? Phil?

Here’s the letter sent by the Northwest Bernal Alliance to their members:

Friends and Neighbors,

Once before we asked that you write letters to SFPD Permit Office telling them to deny High Bridge Arms (3185 Mission Street) a permit to sell guns in our neighborhood. That hearing has been continued 5 times and is now due to be heard SEPTEMBER 8TH.

It’s become more urgent now.

There have been several robberies at gunpoint right in our neighborhood and one recent hold up with a gun,  at the Cancun restaurant right next to the High Bridge Arms Gun Store.

We’ve been successful in causing delays in the permit process by forcing the owner to comply with the SF Planning Code but the hearing is slated for Sept 8th and we believe unless there is a great outcry from the neighborhood, the permit will be granted and once again we’ll be home to the ONLY GUN STORE IN ALL OF SAN FRANCISCO.

No matter how you feel about guns, I think you’d agree that they should not be anywhere near our homes and/or schools.
PLEASE WE URGE YOU-  take the time to send an email to the SFPD Permit Office and let them know how you feel.
And if you can call the Sergeant directly   415.553.9550

So the best way to stop armed robberies is to stop gun stores. Someone needs to think it out again. But not our Phil! All he is saying, is give guns a chance.

One group rooting for High Bridge is the Pink Pistols, a gay gun rights organization. Local chapter head Tom (he wouldn’t give his last name) put a uniquely green spin on this. “California now has a law that you can’t receive ammunition through the mail. And many people in San Francisco don’t have cars.” Therefore, a city gun store is helpful and encourages the use of mass transit.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But Tom notes that High Bridge is “a lawful business conducted in a lawful way for people who want to lawfully participate in the shooting sports.” Lawful. I get it.

Now can everyone just be sensible?

Well exactly.

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  1. Well, somebody’s got to ask it so I will.

    So what? The mom-and-pop gun store is an endangered species here in gun-friendly Colorado, too, and not because of any sort of organized opposition but because of the prevalence of big-box stores like Wal Mart, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, et al. My guess is that any town big enough to have a Super Wal Mart or similar type store has probably seen the diminution of its proprietor-owned gun shops anyway. Between big-box stores and the internet (via I’m not surprised to see the decline of the small gun shop.

    And honestly, isn’t the “gun shop” itself a creation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 anyway? I know in the little town where I spent my earliest years, smack in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma, there was no “gun shop” because you could buy guns at the hardware store (OTASCO – Oklahoma Tire and Supply Co – was the “big box” store of its day, although it wasn’t in a big box it was in a little store front on main street, right next to the 5 and 10 cent store.) Although it was a bit before my time I seem to have read that it was GCA68 that required FFL licenses for dealers and the 4473 forms (and the attendant strict accounting that those forms require) for purchasers. Without those requirements, anybody was free to sell guns which makes a “gun store” about as logical as a “phillips screwdriver” store.

    Not that gun shops didn’t exist – big cities have always had “boutique” gun shops, and a town too small for a franchise store might have a locally owned sporting goods store that sells firearms but I’d be willing to bet that for most of the last 100 years, the vast majority of new firearms have been the likes of Sears/ J.C. Penny/ Woolworths, (in the old days) and Wal-Mart/K-Mart/Big Box Sporting Goods stores (today.) Put more simply, the closing of one small gun shop is not likely to deprive Bay area shooters of a place to buy guns, ammo and other accessories.

    So is the consternation about the “anti gunners” winning a symbolic victory? Even if it is, it still gets a big “meh” from me. San Fran prides itself on being the most liberal big city in the US. The people that live there presumably like it that way.

    It’s been said that in a democracy, people get the government they deserve, and I can think of no better example of that than this.

  2. Update from Mr. Bronstein.

    “The reason High bridge closed depends on where you ask the question.
    Opponents say the owner wasn;t doping well on the retail side and wanted
    to go into exportation only. But, after closing, realized he needed to
    continue to run a retail business if he wanted to operate out of that
    location given local zoning laws.

    Steve, the new manager, basically says he was the reason the owner
    decided to re-open – because he found a great manager.”

  3. This is probably very late to reply to but what the heck:

    Bosnia isn’t gun averse as people think, its just that we know to not talk about stuff like that. OPSEC and all.

  4. Not to tweak you articles premise, but I’m a lefty, a San Francisco resident, and I shop at High Bridge Arms. Their prices are high, but the people who work there are cool. I’m glad to have an independent gun store in The City.

    As for gun-related crime in SF, the firearms are undoubtedly coming from outside the city. There are plenty of flea markets and swap meets where the gang-bangers can get firearms no questions asked.


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