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Fire Away! 

A judge has overturned the ban on handguns passed by S.F. voters last November. Are you worried about firearms flooding our streets? Take this quiz and find out!

Wednesday, Jun 21 2006
Last week, a state judge struck down a ban on handguns in San Francisco passed by city voters, arguing that the measure conflicted with state laws that regulate handguns. Proposition H, which won a 58 percent majority last year, would have outlawed the possession of handguns by all city residents (but not nonresidents or tourists) except law enforcement officers and people who used the guns for "specific professional purposes." It also would have barred the manufacture, sale, and distribution of all guns and ammunition within the city. The National Rifle Association sued the city the day after the measure passed, saying it violated citizens' Second Amendment rights. City officials, led by Supervisor Chris Daly, who championed the measure, have said they plan to appeal the judge's decision. Are you an apologist for handguns in San Francisco? Take our quiz and find out!

1) In his ruling, Judge James Warren said that state law authorizes police agencies to award handgun permits, which implicitly supersedes the right of cities or counties to individually ban handgun possession. If San Francisco were allowed to ban handguns within its borders, he wrote, surrounding counties could be awash in handguns expelled from the city — a situation that illustrates the need for a comprehensive, statewide law. Do you agree?

A) Well, sure, if you're gonna be all pragmatic about it.

B) Of course. Who wants to see an armed and dangerous Pacifica?

C) I couldn't have said it better myself, unless I employed the phrase "ripped out of my cold, dead hands."

2) The NRA's chief attorney, Chuck Michel, greeted the judge's decision by saying: "We're thrilled that the judge recognized that law-abiding citizens who possess firearms to defend themselves and their families are part of the solution and not part of the problem." What's your response?

A) Actually, Chuck, the judge didn't go that far.

B) I really, really hope Mr. Michel issued his statement while firing a pair of pistols into the air.

C) Exactly! And since when were homegrown militia ever a problem?

3) The Board of Supervisors placed Proposition H on the ballot amid residents' frustration over the rising number of gun-related homicides in San Francisco. The city recorded at least 94 murders last year, a 10-year high. Do you believe changing the handgun laws would have an impact on S.F.'s wave of shootings?

A) Absolutely. More of them would occur in South San Francisco.

B) Nah. You take away guns, gang members will just go back to using knives. And singing.

C) Not really. Although, come to think of it, maybe we should ban toy handguns, just so the police-related shootings go down.

4) Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb thinks the city should pour its money and resources into other areas. "Think of all the better uses that money could go to," he said in the wake of the court verdict. "Couldn't that money be far better spent on programs for the homeless, public health clinics, AIDS research and hospices, shelters for battered women, and other programs? How many additional staff could be hired at San Francisco General Hospital? ... The money could be spent on park maintenance, public transportation — anything but this folly." What do you think of Gottlieb's statement?

A) Better yet ... let's spend it on ammo!

B) Finally! A spokesman for the gun lobby who genuinely cares.

C) I agree — let's get more doctors for S.F. General. Especially the ones who specialize in gunshot wounds.

5) In response to critics' charges that he squandered taxpayer money on an unrealistic plan, Supervisor Daly characteristically fired back in a snarky statement: "I gladly will personally pay for San Francisco's appeal of Judge Warren's decision, when the gun industry agrees to civil liability and pays for damage they have caused families and local governments.'' What's your take?

A) On a supervisor's salary?

B) Oh, Chris. The gun industry isn't like the tobacco industry — they're allowed to intimidate people with weapons.

C) My dream has come true: An over-the-top, hyperbolic crazy-off between the National Rifle Association and our very own Chris Daly. (Bonus point for adding: "I only wish Charlton Heston could issue some sweeping, reactionary sound bite about contemporary moral values in San Francisco.")

6) In 1982, a state appeals court rejected a similar ordinance that would have prohibited handgun possession in San Francisco, so gun-control proponents tried to craft a narrower bill this time. Still, legal observers argued that Proposition H obviously overreached, and NRA lawyers argued that if enacted it would even have prevented movie producers from shooting action films in the city. Do you think the legislation was too ambitious?

A) Well, ask yourself this question: Do we really need another The Rock?

B) Not ambitious enough, to be honest. You're telling me some yahoo from Nebraska can stroll down Fisherman's Wharf with a .44 in his pocket but I can't? Do you know how much vengeance those trigger-happy tourists wreak?

C) I've got a question: Are Army recruiters allowed to carry guns? If so, that'll be, like, two slaps in the face when they hit San Francisco campuses.

7) And finally, do you think the Board of Supervisors should turn its attention to other issues or continue to work toward a handgun ban?

A) I think the Supes have found their issue. In fact, it's time for them to pass a resolution calling for the banning of all handguns in Baghdad.

B) If they really wanna cut down on the violence in this city, why don't they pass a ban on drivers who text-message? (Bonus point for adding: "Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest.")

C) Keep working! Next step: a ban on hot glue guns.

How to score:

Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."

0-6 points: Hey, Millbrae, no hard feelings about trying to send you all our guns, right? Right?!?

7-10 points: Not sure where you stand? Fine, fine, just make sure you're out of range.

11-14 points: Congratulations! You're a true apologist for handguns in San Francisco. And if you can hit this quiz from 20 paces, I don't want to tell you you're wrong.

About The Author

Matt Palmquist


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