Mayor Dianne Feinstein moved yesterday to make San Francisco the nation's first major city to ban handguns for personal use.
Feinstein, who once carried a handgun because her house was bombed, asked businessmen and city and community leaders to support her proposed city ordinance based on a law passed in Morton Grove, Ill.
"San Francisco now has the highest per capita homicide rate of any city in California," said Feinstein, who took office when her predecessor was slain with a handgun. "Clearly, we must stop this carnage."
The proposal would make possession of handguns a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail. Citizens would have 90 days to sell the weapons or surrender them to police with no questions asked. Police and military personnel would be exempt. The ban in the city and county of 750,000 people would not extend to rifles or shotguns.
The Morton Grove ban was challenged in U.S. District Court but was upheld. An appeal also failed, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
In Chicago, a City Council committee approved an amended version of Mayor Jane Byrne's proposal for a ban on new handgun registrations. The measure would in effect make it illegal for any resident to possess a handgun not registered when the ordinance took effect.
Under the ordinance, no further registration of handguns would be conducted by the city, except for law enforcement officials.