S.F. Board aims for new gun laws

Faced with a rising rate of homicides and firearm violence, The City moved closer Monday to adopting a number of gun-control measures.

The Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee on Monday sent three gun-control measures to the full board for a likely vote July 17, while it held up one of the more controversial measures that would establish a registry for gun offenders.

The measures would prohibit handguns from being kept in residences unless they are in locked containers or disabled with a trigger lock, prohibit the possession or sale of firearms and ammunition on county land — which includes the vast majority of public parks, areas and buildings — and require that licensed firearm dealers submit an inventory of their firearms every six months to the police chief.

The measures, introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom in May, come as The City has seen 53 homicides this year, up from 45 slayings at the same time last year. The figure puts San Francisco on pace for a fourth consecutive year of historically high homicide rates.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who chairs thecommittee and co-sponsored the gun-control measures, said civil liberties concerns required further work on the registry proposal for gun offenders.

It remains unclear how much impact the measures would have on San Francisco’s gun violence. Last year, San Francisco police confiscated more than 1,000 firearms, even though San Francisco has only one registered firearms dealer.

The measures would reduce the possibility of gun shows coming to The City, although it has never been a popular destination for these events.

“No one piece of legislation will be a panacea,” said Lenore Anderson, deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. She said the measures help move The City toward doing everything it can to limit gun violence and accidental shootings.

Of this year’s 53 homicides, 75 percent, or 38, were caused by gunshots, whereas 60 percent of the homicides in 2001 were the result of gun violence, according to Anderson. San Francisco General Hospital’s trauma center has also reported a dramatic increase in the number of gunshot victims treated, from 110 gunshot victims in 2003 to 228 gunshot victims in 2006.

During the committee’s discussion, Supervisor Bevan Dufty said the Police Department is not deploying its resources in as “aggressive and creative” a way as he would like, and he called on Newsom to use his “influence.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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