High Court Refuses Review of SF Gun Laws

     (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider whether San Francisco’s firearms restrictions violate the Second Amendment – much to the dismay of Justices Thomas and Scalia.
     In 2007, the city and county of San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring handguns be stored with triggers locked even in gun owners’ homes.
     Gun owners – backed by the National Rifle Association – claimed the ordinance made it impossible for people to use their guns in self-defense since the trigger lock rendered the guns “inoperable at all times.”
     They also sued San Francisco over a 1994 ordinance banning the sale of enhanced ammunition like fragmenting and hollow-point bullets that serve “no sporting purpose.”
     A federal judge ruled in 2012 that despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller – which found requiring gun owners to use triggers locks was unconstitutional – too much unsettled law remained to strike down San Francisco’s ordinances.
     The 9th Circuit unanimously affirmed in 2014, finding that because the ordinances “limit but do not destroy Second Amendment rights” they “withstand constitutional scrutiny.”
     While the NRA failed to convince the majority of Supreme Court justices to take up the case, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissent of the denial for certiorari that the high court already decided the issue of trigger locks in Heller.
     “Less than a decade ago, we explained that an ordinance requiring firearms in the home to be kept inoperable, without an exception for self-defense, conflicted with the Second Amendment because it ‘made it impossible for citizens to use their firearms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense,'” Thomas wrote, citing Heller. “Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it. Because Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.”
     Thomas added that the 9th Circuit’s decision in the case “is in serious tension with Heller,” and said his colleagues “should have granted a writ of certiorari to review this questionable decision and to reiterate that courts may not engage in this sort of judicial assessment as to the severity of a burden imposed on core Second Amendment rights.”
     Justice Antonin Scalia joined Thomas’ dissent.

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