NRA sues San Francisco on public-housing gun ban

posted at 9:09 am on June 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The NRA has decided not to waste time in the wake of the Heller decision, but to begin pushing on a wide front to dismantle gun bans around the nation.  In San Francisco, that means testing a ban on gun ownership in public housing, a new twist on the limits of government intervention in 2nd Amendment affairs.  Frisco reacted …. pretty much how you’d expect them to react:

In San Francisco, the NRA was joined by the Washington state-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and a gun owner who lives in the city’s Valencia Gardens housing project as plaintiffs.

The gun owner, who is gay, says he keeps the weapon to defend himself from “sexual orientation hate crimes.” He was not identified in the complaint because he said he fears retaliation.

That’s certainly a good twist for the NRA’s public-relations efforts in the city by the bay.  They showed a much better sense of that than Mayor Gavin Newsom, who uttered this deliciously stupid statement in response:

“Is there anyone out there who really believes that we need more guns in public housing?” Newsom said. “I can’t for the life of me sit back and roll over on this. We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority.”

Where to start deconstructing this?  Let’s start with the beginning.  Newsom himself admits that the public-housing gun ban has completely failed to keep guns out of public housing.  He then wonders aloud who thinks the residents need more guns.  I’d guess that it’s the law-abiding tenants who believe that they need to at least have an opportunity to defend themselves against the thugs and criminals who have armed themselves to the teeth while the city created an entire class of unarmed victims.

And then Newsom shows his true colors with his full-throated cry to defend the rights of — whom?  The victims?  The law-abiding citizens of San Francisco?  No, Newsom girds himself for legal battle to defend the “rights” of the government agency that runs public housing.  I’m certain that the founding fathers of this nation didn’t include the 2nd Amendment to protect government against the citizens, but the other way around.

How clueless can one get and still remain in office?  (That’s a trick question for anyone who doesn’t know San Francisco.)

This case will definitely provide better clarification of Heller.  The DC gun ban reflected the limits of states and cities for general gun ownership restrictions, but a court could easily conclude that the government has more expansive rights on public housing.  The city owns the housing and rents it to the tenants.  However, such a ruling could have a huge and negative impact on the scope of other rights for public-housing residents.  Do they have lesser 4th Amendment rights on search and seizure, too?  Can the government place tighter restrictions on speech and the practice of religion in public housing?

The NRA has chosen its next battleground well.  Too bad San Francisco didn’t put as much thought into electing its mayor.

Update: Jazz Shaw doesn’t think that the public-housing aspect of the case will hold up against Heller:

While I agree that the apparent differences are interesting, I think there is little to fear. On every level there are reams of legal text on the rights of tenants vs. landlords. While it is tempting to treat public housing differently, in this case the city truly is nothing more than a landlord. While the property owner maintains and can exert tremendous power over what goes on regarding a leased property, I did some quick checking at FindLaw and see nothing which indicates that a landlord has ever been able to supress constitutional rights which do not directly affect the physical property. (i.e. real estate.)

The owner can prevent the tenant from painting the walls, changing the carpeting, or otherwise physically altering the property. However, they can not restrict people of a given religion from renting nor prohibit them from praying inside the property. (This is not to say that a “nod and a wink” situation won’t exist where certain renters are excluded for “other reasons” of course.) The landlord can not claim that the police can enter the rental without a warrant, etc.

The logic is compelling, but right now, one has to ask whether Justice Anthony Kennedy would rely on logic or his impulse to impose his policy considerations, a la Boumediene.  Every gun case coming to the court under this composition will hinge on that question.  It’s yet another reason why the gun issue remains very relevant to this election, as well as judicial appointments.


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Sweet.

drjohn on June 28, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Ed…that tag line…roflmao ow!

ronsfi on June 28, 2008 at 9:14 AM

We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority

And then I realized–like I was shot…like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead.

Wow just wow!

ronsfi on June 28, 2008 at 9:18 AM

If they are going to insist on banning something, they should consider banning public housing.

forest on June 28, 2008 at 9:25 AM

The NRA has and will continue to pick its battles well I think. They have fought with alacrity and precision when and where needed.

While the Left has been hand wringing over the past few decades, the NRA (and other like-minded organizations) have been preparing the battlefield – little by little.

Research, studies, stats, and opinion is with the NRA.

Using Heller as the precedent, it will be hard for ANY anti-gun group to win many arguments – depending on the particular court/judges/justices.

By doing what they did with Heller – affirming in the positive that the 2nd Amendment IS, in fact, an INDIVIDUAL right, a lot of bans are on shaky ground.

Keep up the good work NRA!

catmman on June 28, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Great analysis Ed. Great.

Very well played by the NRA.

Idiotically played by Newsom. Idiotic. Admitting handguns are everywhere in public housing and that the only people you are keeping unarmed are the law abiding citizens is about as idiotic as it gets. What a moron.

TheBigOldDog on June 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

This would be a good time to renew your NRA memberships.

ronsfi on June 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

The gun owner, who is gay, says he keeps the weapon to defend himself from “sexual orientation hate crimes.”

In SAN FRANSISCO???!!

Tony737 on June 28, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Why does Gavin Newsom keep poor gay people in public housing from protecting themselves against violent hate crimes? Why does he allow them to be victimized by gun toting criminals who, by his own admission, are rampant in SF public housing? Why does the Mayor hate poor gay people?

TheBigOldDog on June 28, 2008 at 9:37 AM

I assume Newsom is a protege of Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi. He is probably less illogical than she and certainly his stupidities are less important than hers.

burt on June 28, 2008 at 9:37 AM

In San Francisco, everyone will believe it.

njcommuter on June 28, 2008 at 9:39 AM

I’m certain that the founding fathers of this nation didn’t include the 2nd Amendment to protect government against the citizens, but the other way around.

Since when does the Left give a rat’s azz what those old, white, sexist, racist, dead males think?

Tony737 on June 28, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Rush mentioned this, the NRA is the example that other conservatives should be following. They are proactive and in your face with the liberals. They do not back down and do not quit. If they lose a fight, they get back up again and keep going.
I would add the pro life movement acts in a similar way. If the conservatives as a whole were to be as unified and proactive on taxes, property ownership and other issues, we would be much further than we are now.

JellyToast on June 28, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I assume Newsom is a protege of Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi. He is probably less illogical than she and certainly his stupidities are less important than hers.

burt on June 28, 2008 at 9:37 AM

burt, its kinda early in the morning and I am not sure what the second sentence is saying, HOWEVER, I believe I whole heartedly agree. I think what you are saying is they are both ass clowns ?

JonRoss on June 28, 2008 at 9:44 AM

The mayor’s mindset fits in exactly with Liberalism; Government trumps all including constitutionally protected individual rights.

There are no collective “rights” in this country, only individual rights protected by government.

That is a perfect example of what is wrong with this country lately.

Neo on June 28, 2008 at 9:46 AM

I can’t wait for the gay gun owner to whip out a discrimination charge against Newsom. Get the Pink Pistols in on this. Seriously, while women are probably the best group to assert their right to armed self-defense, homosexuals are probably the second best.

MadisonConservative on June 28, 2008 at 9:48 AM

The right using the courts–take that ACLU and Granny Ginsberg.

Don’t forget Judicial Watch. They do great work in the courts trying to roll back the liberal agenda.

JiangxiDad on June 28, 2008 at 9:50 AM

…(Mayor) Newsom said. “I can’t for the life of me sit back and roll over on this. We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority.”

He must be insane to go on record with words like that, then again, he’s a demorcap.

Zorro on June 28, 2008 at 10:03 AM

This is long overdue.Sue the pants off of all of them after what they did on friday to the JROTC in the schools there. You go NRA!!!

thmcbb on June 28, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Contributions to NRA are monies well invested. Wish I could say the same for the ones (past tense) to the GOP.

NRA is the example that other conservatives should be following. They are proactive and in your face with the liberals.

JellyToast on June 28, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Exactly.

petefrt on June 28, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Newsom and any moonbat lib are allowed to say anything they want, no matter how stupid, and get a total pass. Look at the guy they want to lead them, that Barry guy. He reverses on a dime and gets away with it.
Still, the NRA is genius in backing a gay gun-owner.

bbz123 on June 28, 2008 at 10:07 AM

… after what they did on friday to the JROTC …

I missed that one, so what happened?

Tony737 on June 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM

I think there will be blowback over this and some of the likely next NRA lawsuits. I’d be surprised if most Americans thought it was a good idea to have guns in public housing projects. And if the NRA next decides to sue companies that prohibit employees from having guns in their cars at work, there will be resistance from corporate America.

jim m on June 28, 2008 at 10:20 AM

The NRA is brilliant in taking on the public housing gun ban in San Francisco. If Newsom is the leader of the moonbats there, they will fold like a cheap suit at the first sign of adversity. The reason the libs have progressed their agenda is because conservatives have had a “who cares” position. The NRA may start a trend that is long overdue.

volsense on June 28, 2008 at 10:20 AM

The SAF and ISRA filed suit against Chicago’s gun ban as well, about thirty minutes after Heller was handed down.

rightwingprof on June 28, 2008 at 10:21 AM

They discredit the class for all the students who were takeing it Tony737 this city is a disgrace thanks

thmcbb on June 28, 2008 at 10:21 AM

I missed that one, so what happened?

Tony737 on June 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Think the SF school district decided HS kids were too young and impressionable to be introduced to the military. Back to condom education and lube selection.

Funny thing is, most of those SF JROTC kids are the children of Chinese immigrants looking to join the American mainstream. They’ll probably have to go to gay instruction class now.

JiangxiDad on June 28, 2008 at 10:22 AM

This is a gay right anybody can get behind:

The right for any gay person facing a “bashing” to carry a gun and fill the “bashers” with too much lead to continue their crimes against his or her person.

Sekhmet on June 28, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I’m looking forward to seeing the NRA bringing a suit against the draconian firearms laws in MA too. I hope they’re looking into it.

Mooseman on June 28, 2008 at 10:29 AM

The ridiculousness of Newsom’s statement is hilarious.

“We can’t allow guns there! There’s already too many as it is!”

I pretty much agree with what’s been said that “protecting” the right of the housing district to make it so that law-abiding citizens remain unable to protect themselves is completely ridiculous.

jimmy the notable on June 28, 2008 at 10:33 AM

This would be a good time to renew your NRA memberships.

ronsfi on June 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Or get them for the first time. Having just ordered my first weapon (a Colt M1991 Government stainless .45), I should need to get an NRA membership along with my CCL in the state of Ohio.

knob on June 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Acknowledging Ed’s use of the quotation marks, let’s make the deconstruction a bit more explicit.

No, Newsom girds himself for legal battle to defend the “rights” of the government agency that runs public housing.

Under our Constitution, the government and its agencies are the ones who have the powers; the people are the ones who possess the rights.

But why should anyone be surprised by this level of confusion, or misdirection, from an elected San Francisco Democrat?

Blackacre on June 28, 2008 at 10:41 AM

This NRA member and Nebraska concealed carry permit holder couldn’t be happier!

I’ll have to make a donation to the NRA.

Yakko77 on June 28, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Why should anyone be amazed by what Newsom said about the law .He only obeys the laws that he likes state or fed.How about a little perk walk for the good mayor and his merry band or board subervisors.I would pay to see that.

thmcbb on June 28, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Or how about a 2′fer in the face of liberals…

Go to the NRA website and buy a membership for registered active duty military members!

Pretty much like Rush has for his website.

Take THAT liberal r-tards!

catmman on June 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

If the SF government is so smart, why don’t they hire a few “trusted” guards, have metal detectors at all entrances and keep the thugs and their guns out? No, but they will spend millions to defend the indefensible. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

wepeople on June 28, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Awesome. I would have guessed they’d go after Chicago first, but it looks like San Francisco is the next one to see their fascism undone.

doubleplusundead on June 28, 2008 at 10:52 AM

You can’t have a gun in there
Or we’ll send in Smokey Bear
We must protect you
From yourself, you old fool
Now hand in your gun if you dare

Limerick on June 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Government authority, rules all, know all, give your life to the government, they will protect you.
My God, those greedy little B*stards.

right2bright on June 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Don’t really care. Won’t visit SF ever again! I’m afraid I’ll get the “stiff one eye”…

sabbott on June 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM

knob on June 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Careful, you could put somebodies eye out with that thing. 8/*

ronsfi on June 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Newsome is a complete idiot. I am one of those folks that wants to carry a sidearm everywhere I go, because unfortunately we aren’t safe at work, screwel, church or sporting events (or the post office) from psychos going on killing sprees.

These venues are the favorite murder ground of the psycho and I am really upset the SCOTUS ruling specifically mentioned these places as “gun free zones”. Thats pretty stupid in light of recent events.

The cops are ALWAYS two hours too late and we all know it.

dogsoldier on June 28, 2008 at 11:08 AM

“We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority.”

You tell ‘em butt-boy. Defend the rights of government from this intrusion by citizens armed with the constitution. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jaibones on June 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM

“The DC gun ban reflected the limits of states and cities for general gun ownership restrictions, but a court could easily conclude that the government has more expansive rights on public housing. The city owns the housing and rents it to the tenants.”

I’m going to take a leap and say this isn’t city owned, but one of the many Housing Authorities under the auspices of HUD. The city, then, wouldn’t own the property or have much say in it, than any other privately owned property, except that there is one or two city officials on the Board of Directors.

If so, then we are back to the something more akin to the DC gun ban on who is depriving citizens of their basic 2nd amendment rights, than fighting city hall.

Dusty on June 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM

… this city is a disgrace…

Don’t worry, soon it’ll break off and fall into the ocean. Somebody said on H.A. the other day “C’mon San Andreas! Do your job!”

Tony737 on June 28, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Remember this bumper sticker? When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns
Never understood whether it was pro or con. You could look at it from either side.

whitetop on June 28, 2008 at 12:18 PM

What about the rights of the thugs and criminals?

How clueless can one get and still remain in office? (That’s a trick question for anyone who doesn’t know San Francisco.)

I can only imagine what Gavin Newsom is thinking now.

Kini on June 28, 2008 at 12:26 PM

One thing which kills me is the indignation of the Left!

As if the ruling hadn’t been the opposite, there wouldn’t have been millions of suits filed already to further the scope of gun bans, anti-gun legislation or outright confiscation.

Gotta love lefty logic: We can’t more guns in there, there are too many already so we need to keep our ban…classic!

catmman on June 28, 2008 at 12:45 PM

“Is there anyone out there who really believes that we need more guns in public housing?”

hey Newsome why don’t you go and live in the projects for a month or 2 with no police protection and not body guards and then tell me you don’t need a gun to protect yourself .

way to go NRA I am a third generation SF native and its about time somebody takes the fight to these liberal fascist city losers.

Mojack420 on June 28, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Sounds like a plan to let the gangsters kill each other off.

If I were a police officer, I don’t think I’d want to respond to a call at one of these buildings when you know the thugs can have weapons with no fear of getting busted. This can’t be good news for the SFPD.

bayam on June 28, 2008 at 1:28 PM

bayam on June 28, 2008 at 1:28 PM

Newsflash….

THE THUGS ALREADY HAVE GUNS!!! HELLO? THE CRIME RATE ISN’T AS HIGH AS IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE USING SLING SHOTS AND JAVELINS!!

BTW, if they have the guns legally, then what fear is there of “being busted”? If they have the guns illegally, or use legal guns illegally, THEY DESERVE TO BE BUSTED!!!

catmman on June 28, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Get the Pink Pistols in on this. Seriously, while women are probably the best group to assert their right to armed self-defense, homosexuals are probably the second best.

MadisonConservative on June 28, 2008 at 9:48 AM

The Pink Pistols are already on board. So are SAF and CCKBA.

I should need to get an NRA membership along with my CCL in the state of Ohio.

knob on June 28, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Look at joining the Buckeye Firearms Association. They are a great group.

mad saint jack on June 28, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Ed and Jazz

The problem is if the city takes federal money. The idea behind the “Katrina Legislation” is that taxpayer dollars cannot be used to deny 2A rights.

mad saint jack on June 28, 2008 at 2:11 PM

catmman on June 28, 2008 at 2:03 PM

By the time your on the street shooting at people you usually have a good collection of felonies to your name.

mad saint jack on June 28, 2008 at 2:28 PM

A caller I heard on CSPAN Thursday said that he had done a study and had found a direct correlation between high taxes,fees, user fees and gun bans. The higher a state’s or locallty’s taxes, etc., the more gun bans and the more stringent the enforcement. I suppose it could be called an increased fear of the citizens by a more entrenched beauracracy.

snaggletoothie on June 28, 2008 at 2:30 PM

SanFrancisco. Savage was ripping the mayor and Pelosi
a good one yesterday over the triple homicide by a
illegal alien gang member.

No comment from Geraldo ( The grinning idiot) on this one.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/06/26/BAV711FM4F.DTL

Texyank on June 28, 2008 at 2:38 PM

The year San Francisco outlawed hand guns there had been 70 or so homicides in the city. The ban was passed for the “protection” of the citizens. Let me laugh and then puke. A city that promotes and glorifies a lifestyle that kills hundreds every year from aids is all of a sudden worried about a few murders?

repvoter on June 28, 2008 at 2:48 PM

3 cheers for the NRA. This is the worst kind of big government intrusion – shock horror! It’s San Francisco!

Ares on June 28, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Dominoes Baby!

Dom In Noes.

- The Cat

MirCat on June 28, 2008 at 3:47 PM

Sweet. The more the failed politicians scream that the bad guys already have too many guns the more they reveal that their Nazi inspired gun laws not only have completely failed, but have done so in a spectacularly inequitable way, making victims out of even their most favored class of citizens. The cockroaches are scurrying, and even in their flight they are themselves illuminating the unsoundness of their ideology and the manifest unjustness of it.

I disagree with Ed that the negative effects of unsound Supreme picks will last 25 years. The bodies might be around that long, but the consequences always outlive the scoundrels. As we see here, we are celebrating the beginning of the recovery of many decades of wrong-mindedness, and we are not out of the woods yet.

So no temper-tantrums for me. I’ll vote McCain, and plan on being fully engaged in holding his feet to the fire. No Hillarys, no Harriets, and no stooges.

Maquis on June 28, 2008 at 4:27 PM

can somebody please explain to me how tax payers money is justify being used to protect a government agency against the citizens that pay those taxes .

Mojack420 on June 28, 2008 at 4:48 PM

I hope the NRA cleans San Francisco’s mayor Gavin Newsom’s clock. I can’t think of a more arrogant butt-hole, or U.S. city to have it coming to.

byteshredder on June 28, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Newsom really wants to throw all the folks in public housing into jail. He doesn’t trust any of them!

And a law against guns is an easy way to do just that.

desertdweller on June 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM

So, now who’s pandering to “special interest” groups?

OldEnglish on June 28, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Dominoes Baby!

Dom In Noes.

- The Cat

MirCat on June 28, 2008 at 3:47 PM

Small Town Gun Bans

mad saint jack on June 28, 2008 at 6:54 PM

Life Member. Ummm, feels good, real good!

second digit on June 29, 2008 at 8:12 PM

California is a joke and San Francisco is the punchline. Gavin Newsome is the court jester. Hey Gavin, banged any more of your staff’s wives?

Geronimo on June 29, 2008 at 9:38 PM

I think if you are on the dole you should have less rights.

For instance, you should not have guns, TVs, microwaves or be able to own gold.

Beans and rice is all ya get. ya lazy bastadge.

TheSitRep on June 30, 2008 at 8:41 AM