Debra J. Saunders

 The NRA's Chris W. Cox argued that Proposition H stands to "send a very clear message to the criminal element in San Francisco, that lawful residents in San Francisco are unarmed and unable to protect themselves from criminal attack." (I should note that residents will be able to keep an existing rifle in their homes, even if the entire law is upheld. That said, the law requires residents to surrender their handguns to police by April 1 and provides no compensation in return.)

 Here's an interesting statistic, compiled by the SFPD and reported in The Chronicle last month: Of the 94 homicides recorded in the city through Dec. 12, no arrests had been made for 74 of those murders. Only eight cases have resulted in prosecutions.

  Sorry, but if gang members think they can kill without getting caught, I don't think a handgun ban is going to crimp their style.

  Police say that witnesses often are reluctant to testify. This suggests it would make more sense to put the resources used to defend Proposition H -- which by the mayor's own admission is a very expensive public-opinion poll -- into witness protection and investigative programs.

 San Francisco is supposed to stand for choice. This is supposed to be a town where tolerant individuals don't pass laws that, in essence, say: If I don't do it, you shouldn't, either; if you do, you go to jail. Yet the gun ban ends choice -- for the law-abiding, at least.

 "Go by Bayview Police Station," one San Francisco cop e-mailed me, "and look at the wall with all the gun photos. Not one of them was owned legally. No self-respecting gangster is going to abide by this new law, if they won't abide by the old ones."

Debra J. Saunders

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