Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SF Moves to Require Long Guns to be Locked up in Home

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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 is that it allows a person to carry a loaded handgun on their person, in their home, but requires all other firearms to be unloaded and locked up.

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 is 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.

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

Update: 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!

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


Anonymous said...

The underlying problem exists in this vein - that ANY and ALL "laws" passed by a legislature and signed by an executive are "deemed" constitutional by default. With so MANY laws passed exactly that way and then shown plainly to be unconstitutional on their face and in practice, it is high time we REQUIRE a citation of Constitutional Authority accompany each and every law passed. This simple step will entirely eliminate the chicanery we witness with not only the Second Amendment but also every other Constitutional limitation upon government authority that is being flatly ignored by government today.

Democracy, direct or representative, simply must be checked, it must have boundaries. For when it does not, when it is given a free hand, well, then we see what we witness now - unbridled democracy infringing upon individual liberty to the tune of total usurpation of it.

Why would it possibly be too much to ask our "legislative leaders" to supply a Citation of Constitutional Authority" attached to the things they do "on our behalf"?

Might it be exposed that almost everything they do at all levels of government rests upon the false premise called "interstate commerce"? Ummm, yupppppers.
Can't have the truth getting out, now can we?

Anonymous said...

It might help to take some responsibility for electing decent and honorable men with integrity. Instead of holding a popularity contest every two years. It might help to start impeaching and recalling those that fail us by violating their oath of office every time they turn around. It might help to remove even supreme court justices when they ignore the constitutional limitations on their authority and clean out the state local and federal court of judges that are called activist judges. It might help to make it clear that our laws must be equally applied to everyone even those in government and in the legal system and it sure as hell would not hurt for more people to actually know what those limitations are on governmental authority. It would not hurt for people to know that a jury has the power to strike down an unfair or unconstitutional law. It might interest people to know that most of the required knowledge for these purpose was erased by a supreme court ruling. When it ruled that judges were no longer required to give jury members all of the facts of their power when the case goes to the jury. the court is no longer required to give all of the once required jury instructions. and it stopped being taught in our schools back as far as the 1950s. Have you ever heard the term jury nullification? It is actually the power of the jury to nullify a law. the jury actually has more power than the court.

Anonymous said...

Some people do not understand that we do not live in a democracy. The United States of America is a democratic Republic. Not a democracy. You may want to do some research and learn the difference.

Anonymous said...

It is not even a democratic republic.
We pledge allegiance to the Republic.
The Constitution forms the Republic and its gains its authority and legitimacy from the Declaration of Independence itself. Indeed, the Constitution rests upon that rock solid base.

As for the popularity contest aspect, well, that would mean accepting that the two parties are really just two sides of the same coin. This coin is a illusion, just as Washington himself warned. That uniparty has usurped authority not its to own. It has muscled and cajoled its way into power and now acts as a insulator between us and our government and governance all while it bills itself/themselves as conduits to access and even run it.

Now, to the jury point. Of course the people can over rule the court as it applies the "law" just as is is over ruling the legislature that crafted that law being applied. This is shunned by those running government because it undermines the premise that the 9 robed kings have the final say on what is and is not "Constitutional" as a matter of jurisprudence. They cannot have this idea in the heads of the people......for they just might want to exercise it and diminish the power they hold today.

It has gotten so bad that the 9 court jesters (well 8 at the moment) are in a position now to have to choose between political assault on the Constitution that they want to impose in order to keep control over guns and gun rights OR protecting the ill gotten gains the judiciary has assembled through its own self declarations of authority. Karma. It is entertaining to watch spiders weave a web that is so sticky and so tangled that it eventually traps them in its own treacherous wed of deceit. And that is where the judiciary is today, why it tries to "decide" each and every "case" as "narrow" as it possibly can. Heck, today it even ADMITS that it COULD answer this or address that but decalares it isn't necessary! When it knows it is trapped, well, it just pretends it doesn't exist and denies cert without explanation (leaving a Citizen or Citizens to rot under a ton of dishonest and unconstitutional slavery). Yeah, some "justice" system.

The saddest part of it all is this. The system as it was set up, and even as it was changed in some instances, does and will work. The truth is that what is Constituted is not being enforced. So who is responsible for enforcing it?

Yuuuuup, the JURY. The People themselves, as locally as it can get are tasked with this. Jury Nullification is indeed a huge part of the answer.

Anonymous said...

No one is required to own or buy a gun, but when you do buy a gun the individual may have any number of reason to buy either a hand gun or a long gun . there is nothing that allows government to tell any one to buy a hand gun or a long gun. Government has no authority to tell you what you can buy for self protection. You may only be able to afford one gun. You can not be required to lock up a self defense gun. depending on the circumstances at the time of need it could a time for a long gun or a time for a hand gun. I personally like to have a hand gun and a long gun that shoot the same ammunition. I do not think I would like a 12 ga. pistol.