California reacts to High Court's gun decision

June 26, 2008 7:21:05 PM PDT
There was a major ruling on gun ownership from the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in history. The justices said Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on gun control for the first time in its history, saying Americans have a constitutional right to own a handgun. So, what does this mean for California?

The court said individuals have the right to protect themselves under the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms. This ruling pertains only to the gun ban that Washington D.C. has had for more than three decades.

But now there is precedent, which means the ruling will having an impact on future litigation in California and other states and cities.

The Supreme Court's decision says gun owners cannot be banned from keeping a gun at home for self-defense. It was a victory for gun owners.

"You are constantly hearing about shooting in front of people homes, someone recently got shot in front of their home. They are talking about buying a gun for their own protection and I am in favor of that," said gun owner Dennis Vasay.

But it was a narrow ruling. It's still illegal to carry handguns outside the home, felons or the mentally ill cannot carry guns and concealed weapons are not allowed in schools or government buildings.

"It's typical with a court ruling they are taking up a narrow question and they were careful to not say that this is overboard, they'll consider those questions as they are presented," said Matt Dorsey from the San Francisco City Attorney's Office.

Which means the ruling now leaves the door open for the NRA to go after any restrictions on guns.

"It's an excellent day for San Francisco because the stupidities of the laws that have been shoved down our throat here in San Francisco have been shown up," said gun advocate Peter Buxtun.

San Francisco does not have a ban on handguns; it was struck down by a state court. But the NRA is expected to sue cities like San Francisco that ban residents of public housing from keeping handguns.

An attorney for the NRA says they should enjoy the same rights as everyone else.

"Certain individual, fundamental individual rights that all humans share cannot be infringed on by states anymore than they can be infringed on by federal government," said NRA attorney Chuck Michel.

Even California's ban on assault weapons will likely end up in court.

"This is something we will probably be litigating for years to come and that is true of other cities as well," said Dorsey.

Stephen Sposato's wife Jody was one of eight people killed in 1993 during a massacre at the 101 California office building in San Francisco. The gunman was carrying a 45 caliber handgun as well as a Tec9.

Sposato has long been anti-gun advocate.

"The irony of what has happened at the Supreme Court is that these guys work in an environment where you have to go through two metal detectors to go to work. And it's let them eat cake attitude of yeah let them have handguns out there it's ok as long as I work in a building where you have to go through two mental detector to see me," said Sposato.

Sposato says he'll continue supporting anti-gun groups in any future litigation. The mayor of San Francisco said he will "fight any NRA lawsuit that challenges our common-sense gun law every step of the way."


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