The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block two San Francisco gun
control measures that were fiercely opposed by the National Rifle
Association. At least one veteran court observer says the high court's
decision raises questions about how the justices interpret the Second
First, the basics: A 2007 San Francisco ordinance
requires residents to keep handguns under lock and key or to use trigger
locks when they are not carrying their weapons. Another law, dating to
1994, bans the sale of ammunition that expands on impact, or
Plaintiff Espanola Jackson and seven
other petitioners, including the NRA, filed suit in 2012. They sought an
injunction to keep the lockbox law from being enforced. But in March
2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the City and
County of San Francisco and left both measures intact.
In their appeal
to the U.S. Supreme Court, the plaintiffs repeated the argument they
had made all along, claiming that "San Francisco stands alone in
insisting that it may deny its residents immediate access to operable
handguns in their own homes under the guise of regulating the manner in
which they store them." They painted the picture of a law-abiding
homeowner who "must fumble for the reading glasses and the lockbox while
an intruder roams the premises."
The plaintiffs argued that they had precedent on their side, citing the high court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.
In that case, the justices ruled that under the Second Amendment a gun
owner has a right to self-defense with a gun available within the home.
But only two justices, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, voted to review the case. Four of the nine must agree to hear a case.