A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to halt the enforcement of San Francisco laws that require handgun owners to keep their weapons locked when stored at home and ban bullets that expand or splinter on contact, saying they do not interfere with the right to use firearms in self-defense.
One ordinance, passed in 2007, requires residents to keep handguns in locked containers or to use trigger locks when they are not carrying the weapons. The other law dates from 1994 and prohibits local sales of hollow-point bullets, designed to inflict more damage to the human body than conventional ammunition.
Gun owners challenged both ordinances after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the Constitution guarantees the right to possess guns at home for self-defense, then ruled in 2010 that state and local laws that substantially burdened that right were invalid. Gun groups are also relying on those rulings to challenge California's licensing requirements for concealed weapons, and ordinances in San Francisco and Sunnyvale that ban the possession of high-capacity gun magazines.
In Tuesday's ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said neither the San Francisco gun storage law nor the ban on hollow-point bullets seriously hampers a gun owner's ability to use a weapon for self-defense.
Because trigger locks and modern gun safes can be opened quickly, a stored or locked handgun "may be readily accessed in case of an emergency," Judge Sandra Ikuta said in the 3-0 ruling. "Provided San Franciscans comply with the storage requirement, they are free to use handguns to defend their home while carrying them on their persons."