When gun controllers contend that they aren’t out to prohibit civilian access to firearms, but simply want “responsible” laws to keep guns out of the “wrong hands,” point them to the story of High Bridge Arms, a gun store operated by Japan native Masashi Takahashi in the gun control hotbed of San Francisco, Calif. Last week, employees at the 63-year-old store announced that it would be closing on October 31st as a result of the city’s continued efforts to remove lawfully held firearms from the city through intolerable regulations. The store was founded by former NRA Board Member and Olympic shooter Bob Chow. High Bridge Arms is currently the only gun store in San Francisco.
According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the final straw appears to be a proposed city ordinance introduced September 15, that would “require firearms dealers to install, maintain, and operate video surveillance equipment and to transmit records of all ammunition sales to the Police Department.”
The specific conditions of the surveillance requirement are onerous; demanding that:
The cameras shall be sufficient in number and location to monitor all places where firearms or ammunition are stored, handled, sold, transferred, or carried, including, but not limited to, counters, safes, vaults, cabinets, shelves, cases, and entryways. The video surveillance system shall operate continuously, without interruption, whenever the licensee is open for business. Whenever the licensee is not open for business, the system shall be triggered by a motion detector and begin recording immediately upon detection of any motion within the monitored area.
the video surveillance system shall record continuously and store color images of the monitored area at a frequency of not less than 15 frames per second. The system shall produce retrievable and identifiable images and video recordings on media approved by the Chief of Police or his or her designee that can be enlarged through projection or other means, and can be made a permanent record for use in a criminal investigation. The system shall be capable of delineating on playback the activity and physical features of persons or areas where guns and ammunition are stored and handled within the premises.
The stored images shall be maintained on the business premises of the licensee for a
period not less than one year from the date of recordation
The licensee shall inspect the system at least weekly to ensure that it is operational and images are being recorded and retained as required.
The ammunition recordkeeping requirements are no less burdensome. Under the proposed regulation, ammunition sellers would be forced to record the personal information of all ammunition purchasers (including name, address, driver’s license number, and thumbprint), and furnish this information on a weekly basis to the San Francisco Police Department.
The Chronicle notes that for several years, High Bridge Arms has been the target of the Board’s politically-minded anti-gun aggrandizement and policy experiments. A spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera told the Chronicle, “I feel like it’s the end of an era… For years, whenever the Board of Supervisors or voters passed a law to restrict the sale of guns or ammunition, we were really only talking about one store — High Bridge Arms.”
Of note, the proposed regulation would add burdensome requirements to the strict rules that California state law already imposes on gun stores. In fact, the San Francisco-based anti-gun group Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (previously Legal Community Against Violence) acknowledges that “California appears to have the most comprehensive dealer licensing requirements in the nation.” State requirements include, among other things, signage restrictions and strict storage conditions.
Current San Francisco regulation imposes further requirements on the storage of firearms, bans on certain types of ammunition (including those used for hunting and self-defense), prohibits those under-18 from entering gun stores, and restricts stores from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, day care providers, community centers, and a host of other locations.
Looking at this entire regulatory scheme, it becomes painfully obvious that San Francisco’s intent is to simply make it unfeasible to operate a gun store within the city. However, city officials should tread lightly when considering more rules. The Second Amendment includes the protection of an individual’s ability to acquire arms. As illustrated in a 2014 U.S. District Court opinion striking down Chicago’s restrictions on firearm transfers within city limits, a regulatory regime that eliminates the opportunity for city residents to acquire firearms is constitutionally suspect.
That Takahashi was willing to put up with regulations that went far beyond “reasonable” laws aimed at keeping guns out of the “wrong hands” for so long is a credit to his drive and determination to serve his community. Unfortunately, no matter how many concessions one is willing to make, or burdens one is willing to bear, when it comes to gun control advocates, “just one more restriction” is the name of the game as they relentlessly pursue their agenda to end the private ownership of firearms in America.