NRA files suit to overturn SF handgun ban

June 27, 2008 6:32:38 PM PDT
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is promising to fight a lawsuit filed Friday morning by the National Rifle Association. The gun advocacy group is seizing upon Thursday's Supreme Court ruling to try to overturn a San Francisco handgun ban.

The NRA is targeting San Francisco's gun laws-- just one day after a historic Supreme Court ruling. Gun advocates filed a lawsuit on Friday, aiming to overturn the city's ban on guns in public housing.

The NRA seems emboldened by the courts decision on our freedom to bear arms. Now they've set their sights on state and local bans.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is furious, pointing out guns were used in 80 percent of San Francisco murders this year. He says the NRA needs to experience the freedom of living in fear.

A news conference to announce new initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence in San Francisco was derailed Friday by a lawsuit filed against the mayor and the city's Public Housing Authority.

The NRA and pro-gun lobbyists representing an unnamed San Francisco resident seek to overthrow a three-year-old gun ban in public housing units. It's also aimed at prohibitions against possession or sale of fire arms on city property.

"I just want to challenge the director of the NRA to come out to San Francisco and spend some time walking the streets with me. Spend some nights in public housing, start experiencing this not from the luxury of his pedestal," san Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

On Thursday, The U.S. Supreme Court asserted for the first time ever, the right of an individual to own a firearm.

Since 2005, residents of San Francisco's public housing have been required to sign a lease which prohibits them from having a gun on the premises.

Many of the 52 recent homicides in San Francisco have occurred in and around public housing units.

Peaches Star Merchant has lived in public housing for 21 years.

"Do you think there are guns in there now?" asked ABC7's Tomas Roman.

Oh yeah, yeah everywhere. I mean my son got shot over here one time," said Merchant.

The mayor, the chief of police and the District Attorney agree allowing guns in already violent areas, is a recipe for trouble. The mayor says it's going to cost the housing authority money it doesn't have.

"It's not the city budget that's going to defend the lawsuit, it's the Housing Authority's budget," said Newsom.

The NRA says prohibitions like the public housing gun ban accomplish nothing.

"Criminals by definition ignore the law. The law abiding gun owners are the only ones who are really affected by some of these counterproductive ill conceived prohibitions," said Chuck Michel from the National Rifle Association.

The unnamed San Francisco resident named in the lawsuit is a gay man who says he needs a weapon to protect himself against hate-related attacks.

The NRA suit doesn't challenge laws requiring that guns be kept in lock boxes and have trigger locks.

San Francisco is not alone. The NRA has also filed suit against Chicago's gun laws.


Load Comments