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Sacramento Repeals "Saturday Night Special" Law

Monday, January 8, 2001

National Rifle Association 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 CALIFORNIA RIFLE & PISTOL ASSOCIATION 271 East Imperial Highway, Suite 620, Fullerton, CA 92835 Contact: Chuck Michel, Esq. CRPA Spokesperson(310) 548-3703
State Preemption and Technical Problems Cited -- Other Cities To Follow Suit
SACRAMENTO- Acknowledging that a new state handgun law invalidates local "Saturday Night Special" ordinances, Sacramento became the first city in the state to repeal its "Saturday Night Special" ordinance on December 12, 2000. The repeal was effective January 1, 2001, the same day that the new state law, which requires all handguns to go through a series of tests before they can be sold by dealers in this state, went into effect. Sacramento repealed its ordinance in response to California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) and National Rifle Association (NRA) demands that cited the new state law on the subject, as well as other recently confirmed technical problems with the ordinance which would result in many police guns being deemed "unsafe junk guns" under the local law. Approximately 40 other California cities have the identical local laws with the same problems. CRPA and NRA are in the process of sending pre-litigation demand letters to each of those cities requesting the repeal of their ordinances as well. Marin County allowed its law to expire on 1/1/2001. San Jose and Los Angeles are currently considering repealing their ordinances at CRPA/NRA request. CRPA and NRA attorneys provided Sacramento with evidence, including sworn testimony from San Jose law enforcement officers and from firearm manufacturer Glock, Inc. which proved that the local ordinance actually bans Glock firearms and other high quality polymer (i.e., plastic) framed firearms carried by Sacramento`s police officers. The proponents of the ordinances misrepresented the way those guns were manufactured to Sacramento and other city officials when the laws were passed, claiming the guns had internal steel frames. They do not. Faced with the prospect of having to add those guns to their list of prohibited "junk guns" because they do not meet the ordinance`s standards, and with the increased liability the police department would face for carrying guns that the city council had inadvertently declared to be "unsafe," Sacramento avoided the embarrassment and the liability issue by repealing the law. "The mistake in the ordinance`s definition section that condemned police guns, and the technical misrepresentations made by gun control groups about the construction of Glock and other polymer framed firearms, vividly illustrates the problems that arise when gun control extremists who are not familiar with firearms engineering draft these laws," said James Erdman, Executive Director of the CRPA. "These city officials were so anxious to get on the gun control bandwagon that they didn`t even question the technical misrepresentations about the construction of high quality firearms made by the groups promoting the ordinances." "We`re pleased that Sacramento has acknowledged the problems in its ordinance, and expect the other cities and counties with the ordinance will soon follow suit," said Chuck Michel, a civil rights attorney who represents both the CRPA and the NRA. "With the evidence we`ve provided, city officials now know that the proponents of these laws have no credibility when it comes to what guns the ordinance condemns. If any city refuses to acknowledge that these ill-conceived local ordinances are preempted by the state law, then they`ll be forced to apply the ordinance`s definition of `junk gun` uniformly, condemning the guns carried by their own police officers in the process."
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