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Sponsor’s Arguments forProposition H And NRA's Response

Monday, August 29, 2005

Argument Offered by
the Sponsor of Proposition H
              
Rebuttal to Sponsor’s
Arguments for Proposition H


How Many More?
Yes on H to Limit Handguns
              


Don’t Vote Away Anyone’s
Right to Self-Defense!
How many more? On November 27, 1978 Dan White assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. On May 9, 2005 a disgruntled ex-employee walked into a South of Market nonprofit and killed a hardworking father of two with a handgun. Every day, neighbors live in fear that someone they love could be murdered. By December 2004, 56 of 87 San Francisco homicides that year involved handguns. How many more? On Feb. 22, 2000, the Examiner reported on an 83-year-old San Francisco widower who used his handgun to save his life when an intruder armed with a tire iron attacked him in his bedroom. The homeowner bought his gun in 1948; he never had to use it until that night. Research by criminologist Gary Kleck indicates “guns are used about three to five times as often for defensive purposes as for criminal purposes.”

Easy access to handguns can transform heated exchanges or emotional moments into lifelong injury or death. The New England Journal of Medicine found that a handgun in the home makes it 43 times more likely that a friend, family member or acquaintance will be killed than an intruder. In addition, suicide mortality increases fivefold with a handgun. This widely discredited study’s misleading 43-1 ratio, was gained by counting only protective uses of firearms in which criminals were killed by would-be crime victims. This is an astonishing flaw, since fatal shootings of criminals occur in only a fraction of 1% of protective firearm uses nationwide. Also, the data came from a single non-representative county.

Proposition H takes two meaningful steps to reduce handguns in San Francisco. It limits handgun possession to those who protect us, and ends firearms sales. Proposition H is substantially different from the measure signed by Mayor Dianne Feinstein in the 1980s that was defeated in court. Proposition H will hardly limit handgun possession “to those who protect us” any more than it has in the District of Columbia. The District’s homicide rate was falling before its handgun ban went into effect in 1977. Since that time the homicide rate in the nation’s capital has more than tripled.

For years the National Rifle Association and its front groups have spent millions to spread misinformation and rig the political process. When the NRA can't buy politicians, then try legal challenges, scare tactics, and even blacklisting (www.nrablacklist.com). Proposition H is San Francisco's chance to speak up. Constitutional law Prof. William W. Van Alstyne, has compared “the constructive role of the NRA today” with “the role of the ACLU in the 1920s with respect to the First Amendment . [I]t is largely by the ‘unreasonable’ persistence of just such organizations in this country that the Bill of Rights has endured.”

No single strategy will solve San Francisco's epidemic of violence. We need new investments in education, community development and jobs as well as meaningful gun reform. Fewer handguns in the flow of commerce will make it more difficult to obtain one. San Francisco residents can decide for themselves if there is an “epidemic of violence,” in their city. However, no one should believe for a second that disarming honest citizens somehow will make them safer from the predations of violent criminals.

Please join us and the San Francisco Democratic Party in voting Yes on H! The individual’s right to self-defense is immutable. More than 2,000 years ago, Cicero argued: “If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.”

Supervisor Chris Daly
Committee to Ban Handgun Violence
National Rifle Association of America
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