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US appeals court upholds San Francisco gun laws

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday unanimously upheld [opinion, PDF] two San Francisco gun laws, stating that the laws reasonably attempt to increase public safety without infringing on Second Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder] rights. The laws, found in San Francisco's Police Code at Sections 4512 and 613.10 [text], require gun owners to secure weapons in their homes by storing them in a locker, keeping them on their bodies or applying trigger locks, and prohibit the sale of hollow-point ammunition. Writing for the court, Judge Sandra Ikuta stated that the gun law restrictions still allow for the ready access of guns. Moreover, gun owners may buy the banned ammunition outside of the city, as the law only prohibits the sale of the bullets and not the possession. The court concluded that when no substantial burden is present, the law must pass intermediate scrutiny. The case, Jackson v. City & County of San Francisco [Justia backgrounder], was brought by gun owners in San Francisco and the National Rifle Association (NRA) [official website]. Lead attorney for the NRA Chuck Michel announced plans to petition the court to hear the case again by an 11-judge panel, stating that "self-defense is not a sport."

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a number of states enacted restrictive gun control laws, many of which have been litigated in federal court. In February the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] three new petitions that would address the scope of the Second Amendment. In January a federal district court in Connecticut upheld the constitutionality of the state's new gun control law [JURIST report], which added 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban. That same month a federal judge in Illinois struck down [JURIST reports] part of Chicago's gun ordinance banning the licensed sale of firearms in the city. Also in January a federal judge in New York upheld most of state's new gun control law, among the most restrictive in the country, but struck down a provision prohibiting owners to load more than seven rounds into a magazine [JURIST reports]. In May a group of Colorado County Sheriffs filed a federal law suit challenging a series of gun control laws signed into law in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado [JURIST reports]. In early 2013, President Barack Obama urged Congress to enact stricter gun control laws.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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