Officials unsure how many guns in S.F.

New gun legislation is as far as San Francisco can legally go to try and keep guns from getting into the hands of criminals, said city officials, who acknowledged that they don’t know how many guns — legal or illegal — there are in The City.

At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris said most crimes are committed using guns obtained illegally.

In 2006, San Francisco police seized 1,104 guns, according to the Mayor’s Office; 1,158 were confiscated in 2005.

“There are thousands and thousands more,” Newsom said. “We need to address the distribution of legal guns, to get illegal guns off our streets.”

No city official at the event, which included Deputy police Chief Morris Tabak, could say how many legal gun owners there are in The City. Lenore Anderson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said that is state information, but that San Francisco is working to get the data.

The legislation would create a local registry of gun offenders convicted in San Francisco, require that handguns within a residence be kept in a locked container or in a trigger lock, prohibit the possession or sale of firearms on property controlled by The City and require licensed firearms dealers to give police an inventory of firearms every six months.

Newsom acknowledged the limitations of the proposed laws, but said they were still important “tools” to controlling gun violence.

Although, existing law prohibits gun offenders from possessing guns, the new registry would allow law enforcement to “monitor where they live,” Harris said.

Additionally, gun dealers are inspected every few years by federal officials, less frequently than San Francisco’s proposed six-month reporting requirement.

And although California law makes it a crime to leave a loaded firearm within easy access of children, San Francisco’s law would require the use of a trigger lock or a secure container in all homes.

The law against firearms on city-controlled property might be used to argue against gun shows at Cow Palace, Newsom implied. Although the facility sits in Daly City, part of its parking lot is in San Francisco.

beslinger@examiner.com

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