Imagine, if you will, a proposed ordinance from a San Francisco supervisor stating the proprietors of medical marijuana dispensaries must have a multi-zone video system in place and then forward the video along with records of every purchaser to the San Francisco Police Department. Mind you, even though marijuana for medical purposes can be prescribed under California law, it is still a Federal crime.
Being that it is San Francisco, let's imagine another scenario. Say it was 1981 and the AIDS epidemic was starting. Public health officials knew it was hitting gay men disproportionately and suspected it was related to having multiple sexual partners. So as a public health measure, a San Francisco supervisor proposed that a video system be put in place at the city's bath houses which were known meeting places for sex used by gay men. All the video along with a record of everyone who entered these bath houses was to be sent the SF Department of Public Health.
Can you imagine the outrage that either of these scenarios would cause? Any supervisor who even made such a proposal like either of these would be run out of town and encouraged to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge will he was at it.
SF Supervisor Mark Farrell has made such a proposal. However, it isn't aimed at marijuana users or gay men but rather legal purchasers of arms and ammunition. A purchase which is not only made in full compliance with Federal and state law but is part of an enumerated right under the Constitution.
The first portion of Supervisor Farrell’s gun control package would simply require the videotaping of all gun and ammunition sales within San Francisco. The videotaping would also apply to other critical areas of the business premises, including, but not limited to, all places where firearms or ammunition are stored, handled, sold, transferred, or carried, including, but not limited to, all counters, safes, vaults, cabinets, cases, entryways, and parking lots.
The second portion of Supervisor Farrell’s gun control package would require any permittee who has the proper documentation to sell or transfer ammunition to keep records of their ammunition sales and transfer data for up to five-years, and electronically transmit the ammunition sales data at least weekly to the SFPD. The SFPD would develop the forms and information that would need to be regularly transmitted to the department, and at a minimum will include:
(1) The date of the transaction;
(2) The name, address and date of birth of the transferee;
(3) The number of the transferee’s current driver’s license or other government issued identification card containing a photograph of the transferee, and the name of the governmental authority that issued it;
(4) The brand, type, caliber or gauge, and amount of ammunition transferred;
(5) The transferee’s signature; and
(6) The name of the permittee’s agent or employee who processed the transaction.
Farrell, a lawyer and venture capitalist, represents some of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco. Places where guns are considered icky except when in the hands of private security guards. He first made the proposal in July and plans to introduce them when the Board of Supervisors comes back from recess this month.
The impact of Farrell's ordinance would be to force High Bridge Arms, the only gun store in San Francisco, to close or move out of San Francisco. Owner Steve Alcairo said they have 17 surveillance cameras in the store and shares the video with police when requested by court orders. However, this ordinance goes much further and Alcairo said he'd probably close if it passes.
“What we don’t do is voluntarily give private information to the police department. Voluntarily, we just don’t do that. People are very private about their information,” Alcairo told KPIX 5.Mr. Alcairo is correct. Criminals in San Francisco don't shop at High Bridge Arms. They get their guns from former Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and his tong friend Shrimp Boy among other illegal places.
He believes if the new law passes it will have a chilling effect on his business...
“The element we’re concerned with, they don’t shop here. They don’t,” Alcairo said. “I mean you’re going to get video surveillance of people who are coming in here legally buying stuff with their identification, criminals are not doing that.”
This measure has nothing to do with crime, preventing criminals from getting guns, or public safety. It is a feel good measure by Supv. Farrell to look good among his constituents as they go home to their Victorian and Edwardian mansions in his Jordan Park-Laurel Heights neighborhood and shop in its high priced boutiques.