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Federal judge upholds San Francisco gun laws

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal judge has rejected an effort by the National Rifle Association to block enforcement of local gun laws in San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled Monday that the laws don't appear to violate standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling that declared a constitutional right to possess firearms at home for self-defense, the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/WYpw93) reported.

The NRA sought an injunction on behalf of gun owners.

An 2007 ordinance requires San Francisco handgun owners to keep weapons locked up or use trigger locks when stored at home. A 1994 law bans bullets that can expand or splinter on contact, causing more damage to a human body than convention bullets.

Seeborg said the restriction does not prohibit San Franciscans from possessing guns at home or using them for self-defense, the rights specified by the Supreme Court.

The judge also said that constitutional standards on gun rights are in flux. He added that higher courts may issue new criteria for evaluating state and local regulations before the case is concluded.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he agreed with the judge's decision.

“This is a thoughtful and persuasive ruling that affirms our position that San Francisco's gun laws protect public safety in a manner that's reasonable and constitutional,” Herrera said in a written statement. “I'm proud of the efforts we've made to beat back these legal challenges, and preserve local laws that can save lives.”

C.D. Michel, a lawyer for the gun owners, told the newspaper the ruling would be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is preparing to hear separate challenges next week to California's licensing requirements for carrying handguns in public.

Michel said San Francisco's gun-storage ordinance “requires you to sleep with your gun in a holster if you want to have it ready for self-defense in the middle of the night. We respectfully disagree that it's a minimal burden.”

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

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