Newsom introduces new firearms legislation 

Four new pieces of legislation that would give a slight turn of the screw to gun sales and gun possession in San Francisco were filed with The City Tuesday by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office.

The legislation — which will be formally announced at a press conference today in Bayview-Hunters Point — would create a local registry of gun offenders convicted in San Francisco, require that all handguns located within a residence be kept in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock, prohibit the possession or sale of firearms or ammunition on property controlled by The City and require licensed firearms dealers to give the police an inventory of firearms every six months.

District Attorney Kamala Harris and supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Sophie Maxwell are co-sponsors of the proposed gun laws.

The legislation follows the ban on handgun possession approved by 58 percent of San Francisco voters in 2005, which was subsequently struck down last summer by a judge who said The City had no authority to preempt state law. City Attorney Dennis Herrera is appealing the ruling.

The four laws proposed for San Francisco would stand up to a court challenge, Harris said, because there are no preemption issues.

"This is not prohibiting the ownership of a gun, but this legislation is mandating smarter and safer possession of those weapons and it’s heightening the significance of monitoring people who have been convicted of gun crimes," Harris said.

The legislation comes at a time when San Francisco is struggling against a rise in homicide rates and violent crime. Last year, San Francisco police recorded 86 murders — up from 64 in 2001 — nearly 80 percent of which were committed with guns.

How much impact the legislation will have is difficult to determine. San Francisco only has one registered firearms dealer — High Bridge Arms on Mission Street — and according to Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard, the legislation was not tailored to a particular location. The law against sales and possession of firearms and ammunition on property controlled by The City is also an effort to control any future gun shows that might want to come to town.

Similarly, the extra protection on guns kept at home is a preventative measure meant to protect against accidental shootings by children and teenagers, Ballard said.

Supervisor Chris Daly, often a critic of Newsom and the author of the 2005 ballot measure to ban guns, said he was skeptical, but not surprised by the Mayor’s interest in gun control legislation, since the Mayor is up for re-election this year. In 2005, Newsom told a reporter that he didn’t believe the gun ban was legal, but would vote for it on principal.

Gun regulations

New gun laws drafted by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office.

» Ordinance to prohibit the possession or sale of firearms or ammunition on property controlled by the city and county of San Francisco.

» Ordinance to require licensed firearms dealers to transmit to the chief of police an inventory of firearms every six months.

» Ordinance to create a local registry of gun offenders convicted in San Francisco.

» Ordinance to require that all handguns located within a residence be kept in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock.

beslinger@examiner.com

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?

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