NRA sues SF over high-capacity ammunition ban 

The National Rifle Association has sued San Francisco again over one of The City’s tough gun ordinances.

This time the group is trying to overturn a ban passed by the Board of Supervisors in October on the possession of high-capacity magazines that can hold 10 rounds or more.

Lawyers representing the NRA filed a suit in federal court Tuesday on behalf of the San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association in an effort to overturn The City’s law, arguing that it violates the constitutional right to own and bear arms.

“Prohibiting the citizens of San Francisco from possessing standard firearm magazines is not an effective means of targeting behavior by violent criminals. The San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association is challenging this law for that very reason,” said Chuck Michel, senior partner at Michel & Associates, West Coast counsel for the NRA.

Meanwhile, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said he plans to fight the lawsuit.

“The NRA is continuing its attack on common sense with its lawsuit today, and San Francisco is prepared to litigate aggressively to defend gun safety laws that save lives,” Herrera said in a statement. “The NRA is clearly focused on a litigation strategy to push its extremist agenda. But the U.S. Supreme Court — even in expanding the Second Amendment’s scope — has been unequivocal that state and local governments are constitutionally entitled to enact reasonable firearms regulations.

In 2000, a state law banned buying, selling or carrying high-capacity magazines, but made an exception for such magazines purchased before 2000. The City’s new law banned high-capacity magazines whether purchased before 2000 or not.

Under the new ordinance, anyone in possession of a high-capacity magazine now has 90 days to surrender it to police or be guilty of a misdemeanor, though the law does not apply to members of the military or law enforcement. There are also exceptions for museums and ammo magazines “used as props” in television or movies under the legislation, which was authored by Supervisor Malia Cohen.

The City is currently fighting another effort by the NRA to stop two other San Francisco gun safety ordinances. One is a law requiring gun owners to keep their firearms locked when in their home. The other banned the sale of enhanced-lethal ammunition.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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