San Francisco Could Make Gun Sale Regulations Even Stricter

In city with a single gun shop, supes hope proposal sends criminals a message

Big changes could be coming to how guns and bullets are sold in San Francisco, even though there is only one shop in the city that's legally allowed to sell firearms.

Nonetheless, after a violent start to 2015, city leaders are trying to make it even tougher to buy and sell guns.

City supervisors were set to take up the issue on Tuesday afternoon.

Supervisor Mark Farrell says this gun-control reforms package is not directly linked to the recent Pier 14 shooting, but he acknowledges safety is top of mind and says he wants to send a message that San Francisco continuously re-evaluates its system to make the city safer, especially after a string of violent crimes at the start of the year.

That string of violent crimes includes the Jan. 27 killing of a Bayview mother who was shot to death in front of her three kids, the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Farrell’s proposal has two main parts: The first portion would require the videotaping of all gun and ammunition sales in San Francisco, as well as video surveillance of all places in the store where guns or ammo are kept, handled and transferred.

Current federal law doesn’t require this,” Farrell said, “so when you think about police enforcement matters and having videotape of people purchasing guns, how people are handling them inside stores, this is just an additional tool” to deter or at least catch criminals.

Steven Alcairo has been selling firearms for more than decade at the city’s only licensed gun retailer, High Bridge Arms on Mission Street. Farrell’s proposal would require Alcairo’s customers to give up some of their privacy.

“People who purchase firearms are private about it,” Alcairo said. “We need to stand firm around gun control.”

The second portion of Farrell’s proposal would require ammunition dealers to store and electronically send sales data to San Francisco police every week for at least five years.

Alcairo said he worries, if the proposed changes are approved, his customers will start shopping in other cities.

“I don’t think this will dent violence in the street, not for a millisecond,” he said.

Farrell admits San Francisco already has some of the toughest gun control laws already, but he feels there is more that can be done, and even with only one legally licensed dealer left in the city, he says this will act as a sort of deterrent to keep that kind of business out of city limits.

Farrell says there are more than a dozen jurisdictions in California that have similar rules on the books already. Sacramento is one. Since 2008, California’s capital city has been collecting information on people buying bullets and cross-checking those names with a list of people who cannot legally own a gun.

This is the data that ammunition dealers would have to send to police:

  • Date of sale,
  • The name address and date of birth of the customer,
  • Driver’s license or other government-issued i-d information,
  • The type of ammo,
  • A signature,
  • The agent/employee handling the sale.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will likely vote on the issue in the fall. If approved, the proposal could become law before the end of the year.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

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