A federal judge in San Francisco has rejected a bid by the National Rifle Association for a preliminary injunction blocking two city laws regulating gun possession and ammunition sales.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said in a ruling Monday that the NRA hadn’t met the standards for a preliminary injunction because it hadn’t shown that it was likely to prove in a full trial that the two laws were unconstitutional.
Seeborg said the constitutionality of laws that regulate, but don’t entirely ban, gun possession is still “unsettled” in the wake of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008.
In that case, the high court said the constitutional Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals and not just to militias.
But the panel also said the Second Amendment right is not unlimited and that some regulations would be permissible.
One of the two San Francisco laws challenged by the NRA in a 2009 lawsuit is known as the Safe Storage Law. It requires gun owners other than peace officers to keep their weapons in a locked container or to use trigger lock devices when they are not carrying the guns.
The second law prohibits gun shops in the city from selling dangerous ammunition, such as fragmenting bullets, that serve no sporting purpose.
Seeborg wrote that case law concerning gun regulations is still evolving, but said, “Plaintiffs have not shown there is reason to believe these provisions of the San Francisco Police Code are in conflict with the Second Amendment.”
City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office defended the laws, said, “This is a thoughtful and persuasive ruling that affirms our position that San Francisco’s gun laws protect public safety in a manner that’s reasonable and constitutional.”
A lawyer for the NRA was not immediately available for comment.
The group, which was joined in the lawsuit by several individuals, had argued that the storage law was burdensome because it would take time to open a trigger lock or a safe in the event of a violent attack.
The next step in the case, if the NRA wishes to pursue it, would be a full trial on a request for a permanent injunction blocking the laws.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News