San Francisco Handgun Ban Overturned, MSM Yawn

On January 9, a California appeals court struck down San Francisco's 2005 ban on handguns, citing that local governments lack authority under California law to enact such a ban (h/t NewsBusters reader John Kernkamp).

While this is a state law struck down on state constitutional grounds, not the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is a major victory for gun rights advocates -- in a liberal Democratic state no less -- in a presidential election year in which the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a 2nd Amendment case in March (District of Columbia v. Heller).

Yet while the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko covered the story on January 10, I'm having trouble finding any coverage elsewhere in the media. When searching Nexis, I found no coverage of the San Francisco gun ban story in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, nor broadcast networks ABC, CBS, or NBC.

Meanwhile, as the Chronicle's Egelko noted in a January 14 story, San Francisco's district attorney has filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing the District of Columbia in its appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the District's 1976 handgun ban:

Prosecutors led by the district attorneys of San Francisco and New York are urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to recognize a broad individual right to gun ownership that could endanger state and local firearms laws.

The court is preparing to hear arguments in March on the constitutionality of a Washington, D.C., ban on handgun possession, with a ruling due by the end of June. A federal appeals court ruled last March that the ban violated the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms - the first time a gun-control law had been struck down on that basis.

In arguments filed Friday, 18 elected prosecutors, led by Kamala Harris of San Francisco and Robert Morgenthau of New York, said a similar ruling by the Supreme Court could cast doubt on numerous gun laws, ranging from bans on assault weapons to increased sentences for using a firearm during a crime.

Last week the MSM were obsessed with the supposed sea change in the Democratic race with Clinton's "comeback" in New Hampshire, and, to be fair, the primary race rightly was topic A in the news last week.

Yet the fact that the MSM are not tracking legal and political developments in what could well prove to be a sleeper issue this election season just goes to show the MSM's deficiencies in tracking issues of political substance. The fact that Democrats have been gun shy of pushing gun control for fear of being trounced at the polls by 2nd Amendment-supporting voters could also explain the media's reticence about reporting on conservative victories on this issue.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.