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Appeals court upholds San Francisco laws dictating gun storage, banning sale of exotic ammo

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld two San Francisco gun laws challenged by the National Rifle Association and gun owners who live in the city.

San Francisco requires handgun owners to secure weapons in their homes by storing them in a locker, keeping them on their bodies or applying trigger locks. The city also bans the sale of ammunition that expands on impact, has "no sporting purpose" and is commonly referred to as hollow-point bullets.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the requirements are reasonable attempts to increase public safety without trampling on Second Amendment rights.

Judge Sandra Ikuta, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said modern gun lockers can be opened quickly and "may be readily accessed in case of an emergency." She also said that gun owners concerned about safety can carry them around the home as well.

As for the ammunition ban, Ikuta said San Francisco residents were free to buy the banned bullets outside city limits. That limitation "imposes only modest burdens on the Second Amendment right," she said.

Chuck Michel, the lead attorney on the NRA-backed lawsuit said he would ask the appeals court to rehear the case before a special 11-judge panel. Michel said he would petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case if the 9th Circuit rejects his bid for another hearing.

"Self-defense is not a sport," Michel said. San Francisco's gun restrictions are among the strictest in the nation, he said.

A spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the ruling validates the city's goal to lessen gun violence.

"This is about public safety," Herrera spokesman Gabriel Zitrin said.

The same court last month struck down the requirement of California applicants for concealed-weapons permits to show they had a "good cause" to carry a gun outside the home. The court said law-abiding citizens who receive the proper training need show only a desire for self-defense to receive a permit to carry a handgun in public.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has asked the 9th Circuit to convene an 11-judge panel to reconsider the concealed-weapons permit ruling.

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