Patterico's Pontifications


Good Luck With That…

Filed under: Politics — Angry Clam @ 4:11 am

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

In the midst of all the other special election news, you might be interested to know that San Francisco passed a ballot measure banning the sale of all guns, including long guns and ammunition, in the city limits, as well as requiring residents to forfeit any handguns they own.

Problem: they tried this in the 1980s, when Feinstein was mayor. It didn’t work then, because the California Court of Appeal ruled that state firearms regulations preempt such local regulations, and localities lack the power to ban guns. Likewise, when West Hollywood tried to ban “Saturday Night Specials,” a different district of the Court of Appeal rejected the law as preempted by state law.

First, gun bans. Then, gay marriage. Now, gun bans again. San Francisco: flouting state law for decades.

— The Angry Clam

21 Responses to “Good Luck With That…”

  1. State law? How about the Second Amendment?

    Steven Den Beste (b57a45)

  2. How about their approval of the measure that purports to prohibit the United States government from military recruiting of students within city limits? Will the Presidio be the next Fort Sumter?

    lincoln republican (6ec212)

  3. The Second Amendment’s contours are not nearly as defined as state law’s are, and, after all, you’re still allowed long guns, which might pass a Second Amendment challenge. Plus, keep in mind that the Ninth Circuit, which is the controlling jurisdiction, has explicitly adopted a collective rights reading in Silveira v. Lockyer.

    Plus, there’s a general judicial doctrine of constitutional avoidance- if the courts can rule on non-constitutional grounds through, say, preemption, they will prefer to do so rather than address the constitutionality of a statute.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  4. Davey Jones, chairman of the Committee to Oppose Handgun Ban, said a recent wave of gun violence in the city may have hurt his campaign, but opponents believe the right to possess handguns is necessary for self-defense.

    “We focused our message to seniors and to women and to the gay community,” Jones said. “Of course we’re disappointed. We believe that we did not get the message out.”

    The logic that people who tend to be vulnerable to violent crime will want handguns in the city is not totally without logic, but it’s not hard to see why it didn’t ultimately work. Those people have no ideological/personal attachment to guns. They will probably prefer to give a handgun ban a try before they start clamoring for the right to pack heat.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  5. Clam, slightly off topic, but relevant to the doctrine of constitutional avoidance: does that doctrine also apply to constitutional challenges, as well? Granted, if a court is forced to rule on a constitutional issue, it will, but if it is presented with two constitutional issues, at least one of which must be addressed, will it still invoke the doctrine of constitutional avoidance to dispense with the other? IOW, does this doctrine explain Judge Alito’s decision to strike down the machine gun ban in Rybar on commerce clause grounds, while not saying a f’ing thing about the Second Amendment issue even while his colleagues buggered up in that same ruling?

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  6. That’s a really interesting question, actually.

    I am unaware of anywhere that has explicitly said so. However, I think that it would make sense to avoid ruling on a more difficult (in that case, precedentially unsupported) ground when an easier ground is available.

    This can be seen in the Supreme Court’s decision in Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 588 (1999), where it held that courts may avoid ruling on subject matter jurisdiction if personal jurisdiction provides an easier way to dispose of the case. Since both types of jurisdiction have constitutional implications, I think that your belief is correct.

    That’s to say nothing of judicial minimalism, where the courts strive to issue as narrow of rulings as possible…

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  7. Sigh. I wish the Dems would quit doing this. Now the NRA is going to have a field day with it and scare the wits out of my gun-toting friends and a lot of other people. I’m a democrat, but we have lost on this issue. America isn’t ready to put down their guns.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  8. San Francisco has very different politics from anywhere else in the state, even the other bay area counties. This can be seen by things like the county’s support for Proposition 80, which went down in flames everywhere else.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  9. Why is it that I can go down the street to Wal-Mart and buy a 44 magnum handgun; but if I want some firecrackers, I gotta go drive all the way to the state line? That’s a little silly, doncha think?

    (I swiped that from some comedian, BTW.)

    Tillman (1cf529)

  10. Sounds like they’ll run up against a super-de-duper precedent!

    Crank (5f5694)

  11. Xrlq – That’s a rule of prudence, but a dissent doesn’t need to set out every argument for reaching a different result if one would be enough.

    Crank (5f5694)

  12. Tillman:

    I agree – guns are by far the biggest issue on which the Dems have been allergic to political reality. Opposition to guns is by no means an essential part of a progressive agenda; rather it’s a constant reminder of the elitism and geographic concentration of the money end of the party.

    biwah (f5ca22)

  13. First, gun bans. Then, gay marriage. Now, gun bans again. San Francisco: flouting state law for decades.

    Don’t forget the proposition to regulate ATM surcharges in the City and County of San Francisco. After Supervisor Tom Ammiano failed to pass a city ordinance, proponents circulated petitions to get the measure on the ballot despite the fact that every time a city or county had attempted it in the past the court had ruled that municipalities had no regulatory authority over bank fees. It got on the ballot and passed by a wide margin. Of course, the banking lobby took the proposition to court where it was promptly thrown out.

    You see, in San Francisco it doesn’t matter if it’s good law that will stand up to a court challenge. It matters that it “send a message”. Well, San Francisco can send all it likes. But no one’s receiving…

    Patrick (42932f)

  14. San Francisco is one of America’s best cities, I love it. One of my college chums went to Hastings Law there in the late 70’s and I was a frequent weekend visitor, you could fly from Santa Barbara round trip for about $50 bucks.

    One night he left his second story bathroom window unlocked and awoke to a gun at his head. The robber told him to pull the covers over his head and keep quiet. He did as told, but couldn’t keep from uncontrollable shaking in fear he would be shot.

    The robber took his time, took all he wanted, and walked out the front door. I don’t think he’s likely to turn in his handgun just because a ballot measure passed.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  15. No, but I’m sure all the robbers will.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  16. Good luck with that!

    It seems that the good citizens of San Francisco have banned all private ownership of firearms. Have they looked at the murder rates in other cities that have banned firearms?

    Common Sense Political Thought (819604)

  17. What this measure does is simply cement Dems as anti-Gun. The MOST Democratic city in the MOST Democratic State in the Union bans guns. Any voter in the South or Midwest or West knows that the first things Dems will do is ban their guns and confiscate them. The anti-Recruiting measure also places Dems as anti-Military (not that it needed much help there).

    Why the gun ban (after Rodney King Ritos, New Orleans and France show what happens when public safety collapses)?

    It is because Dems are the party of the very, very rich and liberal elite (who have private security and bodyguards) and the very very poor who’s various tribunes often act as thinly disguised political cover for organized criminals (see: Republic of Ireland and Sinn Fein, IRA, etc). Both groups have interests in making sure most people are defenseless. The Rich can bask in their ability to be safe while others are not; the tribunes of the poor can extort political patronage in exchange for keeping the violence level down.

    With all that you probably would not have seen the vote go the way it did if Oakland was not separated by the bay from SF.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  18. Why is it that I can go down the street to Wal-Mart and buy a 44 magnum handgun; but if I want some firecrackers, I gotta go drive all the way to the state line? That’s a little silly, doncha think?

    (I swiped that from some comedian, BTW.)

    I suspected as much. Anyone who has tried to buy a .44 magnum handgun at Wal-Mart, let alone tried to buy a handgun in another state, would know better than to make a dumbcrack like that.

    Xrlq (ffb240)

  19. I agree with 14 that SF is a beautiful city,
    I worked and lived there in the 70’s,and in the 80’s I took my bride to visit there. We were doing the usual “touristy” things and stopped in a T-shirt shop.
    One shirt stuck out because in large red letters it proclamed..”S.F.Where men are men and women are
    men, and even the weather is Queer.”
    It seems that they could add their politics to that statement.

    Paul Albers (7494b1)

  20. Xrlq, gimme a break. It was joke, OK? You can buy guns at Wal-mart. Sheesh!

    Tillman (1cf529)

  21. I don’t know of any Wal-Mart that sells pistols, however. Only pistol ammunition.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

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