Superior Court Judge James Warren ruled yesterday against Propostion H:
— An initiative that San Francisco voters approved last November banning residents from owning handguns violated state law, a Superior Court judge ruled today.
Proposition H, which won a 58 percent majority, would have outlawed possession of handguns by all city residents except law enforcement officers and others who needed the guns for professional purposes. It also would have forbidden the manufacture, sale and distribution of all guns and ammunition in San Francisco.
The National Rifle Association sued on behalf of gun owners, advocates and dealers the day after the measure passed. The NRA argued that Prop. H overstepped local government authority and intruded into an area regulated by the state. The city agreed to delay enforcement of the measure while the suit was pending.
In today’s ruling, Judge James Warren said California law, which authorizes police agencies to issue handgun permits, implicitly prohibits a city or county from banning handgun possession by law-abiding adults.
That law “demonstrates the Legislature’s intent to occupy, on a statewide basis, the field of residential and commercial handgun possession to the exclusion of local government entities,” Warren wrote in a 30-page decision.
If the city were allowed to ban handguns within its borders, he said, nearby counties could be flooded by handguns no longer allowed in San Francisco. Such a possibility illustrates the need for gun ownership to be regulated on a state level, Warren said.
Warren also overturned Prop. H’s prohibition on sales of other types of guns and ammunition, saying it was tied to the handgun ban and could not be salvaged as a separate measure.