San Francisco had 88 murders in 2004, up from 69 in 2003. Sixty-three of last year's homicides involved a firearm, Police Sgt. Neville Gittens said. The city has averaged 71 homicides a year over the past decade, from a low of 58 in 1998 to a high of 99 in 1995.
If approved by a majority of the city's voters, the law would take effect in January 2006. Residents would have 90 days to relinquish their handguns.
Hmmm, has this been tried before? How did it work out?
Washington, D.C., banned handguns in 1976 and noted an immediate 25 percent drop in firearm-related homicides, according to a 1991 study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. The number of homicides fell from 13 per month to about 10.
Excellent! Lets do it in every big city!
In later years, however, the district became notorious for its violent-crime rate. Last year, Washington had 248 homicides, or 20.7 per month. That's a rate of 44 homicides per 100,000 residents. By comparison, San Francisco, has a rate of 9.2.
Oh. So...it didn't work there? Hmmm. Well, Maybe SF is different?
Gittens, the San Francisco police spokesman, said a concealed-weapons permit is currently required to carry a gun outside one's home or business in the city. Police have issued just 10 of those permits.
Ah hah! That might have something to do with the crime rate... 10 people are lugging hoglegs about the city, shooting people willy-nilly!
Current and former law enforcement officers are exempt from that requirement.
Hmmm....Why is that? But anyway, moving on:
an Francisco's Pink Pistols (search), a gay and lesbian gun-rights group, also opposes the initiative and is organizing a letter-writing campaign to the Board of Supervisors, spokesman Tom Boyer said. "Outlawing handguns would raise crime," he said. "A handgun is a very useful defensive tool." This will not be the first time San Francisco has attempted a handgun ban. In 1982, a city ordinance was overturned because it applied to anyone who entered the city. A state court ruled that such actions were reserved for the state Legislature. The drafters of the latest ordinance, anticipating a court battle, made sure it applies only to San Francisco residents, hoping to overcome at least one legal hurdle. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has yet to take a position on San Francisco's proposal, but spokesman Nathan Barankin said Lockyer generally opposes such bans because they're "rarely effective in promoting public safety."