High Bridge Arms was founded by Olympic shooter Bob Chow in the 1950s, and has been in business in the Mission District ever since.
But for some time, High Bridge has been the only gun shop left in San Francisco. And in a very few days from now, the shop will close.
The reason? The city has decided to implement the most recent in a long series of punitive regulations – and this one is likely to drive away business.
San Francisco wants its last remaining gun shop to record every transaction on video (with the customer identifiable), and turn customers’ personal data over to law enforcement on a weekly basis – i.e., as a routine matter, without suspicion or probable cause. These regulations would apply even though customers have submitted to background checks and gone through government-mandated waiting periods.
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Said manager Steven Alcairo:
This time, it’s the idea of filming our customers taking delivery of items after they already completed waiting periods. We feel this is a tactic designed to discourage customers from coming to us.
This year, it’s this and next year will probably be something else. We don’t want to wait for it.
Anti-gun crusaders say the requirements are justified.
Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the proposed regulations are not onerous and said “video evidence is a critical component in bringing lawbreakers to justice.”
“If High Bridge Arms is so scared of implementing such a practice, my first question would be, ‘What do you have to hide?'” he said. “Why in the world aren’t we requiring all gun stores to tape sales at this point?”
This perspective does seem to confuse law-abiding gun buyers with “lawbreakers.” City Supervisor Mark Farrell, a proponent of the new regulations, is similarly confused:
Mark Farrell…said “easy access to guns and ammunition continue[s] to contribute to senseless violent crime here in San Francisco and across the country.”
“Even though San Francisco has some of the toughest gun control laws on the books in the country – there is more we can do to protect the public,” he said in a statement before introducing the package.
Remember, this is a city of 840,000 people with exactly one gun store. “Easy access to guns and ammunition”? No case can be made that High Bridge Arms is the source of such “easy access.” To buy either a gun or ammunition from High Bridge, you have to go through an extensive process and satisfy every regulation levied by the U.S. federal government, the state of California, and the city of San Francisco.
No, if there’s easy access to guns and ammunition in San Francisco, it’s not via High Bridge Arms.
Reportedly, business has been good for the only gun shop in the city. But law-abiding San Franciscans will now have to go outside the city limits to buy firearms and ammunition. If this has any effect on violent crime in San Francisco, it will only be to create more victims, and make them more vulnerable.