Court Strikes Down Prop H’s Ban on Handgun Possession, Firearms Distribution in City Limits

City Attorney Evaluating Whether to Appeal 30-Page Ruling by Judge Warren, Which Held ‘Proposition H is Adjudged Invalid as Preempted by State Law’

SAN FRANCISCO (June 12, 2006)-San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren today granted a writ of mandate invalidating both substantive sections of the voter-approved Proposition H, which sought to restrict handgun possession among San Francisco residents within City limits to police and certain security professionals, and to ban the manufacture, distribution, sale and transfer of firearms and ammunition within San Francisco. According to the 30-page ruling issued late this afternoon, “Proposition H is adjudged invalid as preempted by state law.”

“We’re disappointed that the court has denied the right of voters to enact a reasonable, narrowly tailored restriction on the possession of handguns, and the sale of other dangerous weapons,” said City Attorney Spokesman Matt Dorsey. “San Francisco voters spoke loud and clear on the issue of gun violence, which has taken a devastating toll on this City in recent years. City Attorney Dennis Herrera is right now evaluating Judge Warren’s ruling, and I expect him to make a decision about whether to appeal today’s ruling in the next day or two.”

Passed by nearly 58 percent of voters in the Nov. 5, 2005 election, Proposition H was almost immediately challenged by the National Rifle Association and several other plaintiffs in the California Court of Appeal, which declined to hear the challenge until a trial court had ruled. The NRA’s subsequent challenge in San Francisco Superior Court led the City to voluntarily stay enforcement of the measure while the case was under submission.

The two substantive provisions of the measure are Section 2, which bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and distribution of firearms and ammunition within City limits; and Section 3, which restricts handgun possession among San Francisco residents to peace officers and those requiring them for professional purposes. The measure was placed on the ballot with supporting signatures from Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Bevan Dufty and Matt Gonzalez, while the latter was still on the board. San Francisco’s Elections Code allows four or more Supervisors to place proposed ordinances before voters directly.

The case is Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CPF-05-505960.