I’ve often heard that line from gun control advocates, who are trying to pooh-pooh people’s concerns that some seemingly modest gun controls are just the prelude to much broader gun bans. Well, here’s what the AP reports reports:
San Francisco supervisors want voters to approve a sweeping handgun ban that would prohibit almost everyone except law enforcement officers, security guards and military members from possessing firearms [I assume they just mean handguns -EV] in the city.
The measure, which will appear on the municipal ballot next year, would bar residents from keeping guns in their homes or businesses . . . .
Under the language of the measure, the ban would not apply police officers, security guards, members of the military, and anyone else “actually employed and engaged in protecting and preserving property or life within the scope of his or her employment.” . . .
So in Washington, D.C., handguns are generally banned, and people may not even keep rifles or shotguns loaded and ready for self-defense. In Chicago, handguns are generally banned. San Francisco is trying to do the same. And no-one is trying to take people’s guns?
Of course, some might argue to pro-gun-rights people living in (say) Texas or Florida or Virginia, “no-one is trying to take your guns — only those of people in more pro-gun-control places, like San Francisco.” That, though, presupposes that gun rights activists are only interested in their own rights. Why should anyone assume that?
I take it that abortion rights activists in California wouldn’t be persuaded by anti-abortion activists’ arguments that “Oh, don’t worry, we won’t ban abortions in California, since obviously we wouldn’t have the votes; we’re just trying to ban them in Texas.” Presumably the abortion rights activists would say that they care about what they see as the fundamental rights of people all over the country. Likewise, I would think, with gun rights activists.
(It’s possible that courts will conclude that the ordinance is preempted by state law, as they did with a similar San Francisco ordinance passed in 1982, and backed by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein; but given recent developments in state law, including the upholding of a West Hollywood ban on sales of so-called Saturday Night Specials, it’s not clear that the courts would indeed do so.)
UPDATE: The ordinance is even broader than it sounded like at first — it would ban the sales of all firearms and ammunition, including shotguns and rifles, though it would only ban the possession of handguns. Of course, this wouldn’t keep people from buying them out of town, but presumably its backers would like to see similar law enacted in other cities, too. Here are the operative provisions:
[2.] Within the limits of the City and County of San Francisco, the sale, distribution, transfer and manufacture of all firearms and ammunition shall be prohibited.
[3.] Within the limits of the City and County of San Francisco, no resident of the City and County of San Francisco shall possess any handgun unless required for professional purposes, as enumerated herein. [The law then exempts various government employees, armed forces members, and professional security guards doing their jobs.] . . .