SAN FRANCISCO—In an effort to increase safety initiatives, San Francisco will be changing its policy regarding owning and selling firearms within city limits. The legislation is currently being drafted by city attorneys, and expected to be introduced to the Board of Supervisors by San Francisco’s District 2 Supervisor, Mark Farrell.
According to the proposed legislation, all transactions of firearms and ammunition sales and/or transfers, would be videotaped, and all identification, as well as sales transactions, would be transmitted to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Additionally, the legislation would mandate that the authorized vendors keep all records for a minimum of five years.
If passed, this law would only affect one business within city limits. High Bridge Arms, Inc. is the sole gun shop in San Francisco, and remains to be a historical landmark within the gun community, having been opened in the 1950s by Olympic shooter and gunsmith, Bob Chow. General Manager, Steven Alcairo, has managed High Bridge Arms for the past 13 years.
In a recent interview with the San Francisco News, Alcairo stated that he “will not support the law passing unless there is a subpoena, because the store values the privacy of their loyal customers. Information would be submitted for monitoring; making the assumption that clients are making purchases to commit a crime.” Alcairo further stated that his shop employees generally take necessary precautions by reporting suspicious behavior noticed in transactions.
As a security precaution, the gun shop currently has high quality 1080p surveillance cameras that resolve 30 lines per inch in real-time. Alcairo does not expect any major decreases in crime statistics resulting from the city’s attempts to create harsher gun control laws. Alcairo stated that he does anticipate that “if the new law is passed, it will serve as a deterrent in business.”
According to the State of California’s Department of Justice, California’s current gun policy requires prospective firearms owners to be at least 18 years of age to purchase shotguns or rifles, and 21 years of age to purchase a handgun. All purchasers must be residents of California and have valid forms of either—identification issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, military identification provided with duty station orders within California, or official documentation of Alien Registration (or I-94 number) to prove they are residing in the United States legally.
All federal and state paperwork must be submitted, and all purchasers must possess a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) by passing a test. Each person is allowed two attempts per registration; tests can generally be taken in gun shops with a $25 registration fee sent to the state. After completing these steps, the purchaser must wait 10 calendar days, considered to be “the cooling off period,” before any firearm can be purchased from the dealer; all firearms must be purchased through licensed dealers. A “Safe Handling Demonstration” test is also required, which exemplifies the purchaser’s understanding with safely handling, loading/unloading, and storing their firearms. Each city has the right to amend their gun policy if measures are passed.
It is known throughout the community that many local residents and city officials have been opposed to the sales and ownership of guns in San Francisco. In 2005, Proposition H made it onto the ballots as a local ordinance, proposing a total ban on the sales, distribution, manufacture, and transfer of firearms, as well as ammunition within the city. The ordinance would have also banned the possession of handguns, making ownership of a handgun illegal and consequently forcing owners to turn their firearms over to the San Francisco Police Department.
The measure passed with 123,033 people in favor, and 89,856 in opposition. Judge James Warren of San Francisco County’s Superior Court denied the ordinance, stating that officials had no right to ban handgun ownership by law-abiding citizens.
Although the measure did not pass, additional amendments were made in March 2014, when the city added two laws which prohibited licensed dealers to sell hollow-point bullets, and required gun owners to securely store their guns inside their homes when not carried.
Video surveillance transmission measure will be introduced to San Francisco Board of Supervisors and further deliberated in September.