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(a) Findings. The Board of Supervisors finds as follows:
(1) Fifty caliber rifles are military-style firearms, used by armed forces around the world, which combine long range, accuracy and massive power. Fifty caliber rifles are accurate to distances of 1,000 to 2,000 yards (10 to 20 football fields), depending on the skill of the shooter, and can penetrate armored vehicles, disable aircraft and damage industrial targets, such as refineries and hazardous chemical plants. The dangers of these weapons are detailed in "Voting from the Rooftops: How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, other Foreign and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals with 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles," Violence Policy Center (2001).
(2) Fifty caliber rifles and ammunition are proliferating on the civilian market in the United States.
(3) In a briefing paper dated August 4, 1999, the United States General Accounting Office concluded that 50 caliber rifles have been associated with significant criminal activity, stating "Our investigation revealed that 50 caliber semiautomatic rifles have been linked to domestic and international criminal activity. We have established a nexus to terrorist groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, international drug cartels, domestic drug dealers, religious cults, militia groups, potential assassins, and violent criminals."
(4) California Penal Code Sections 12303.6 and 12304 currently prohibit the sale of destructive devices, defined to include weapons of a caliber greater than 60 caliber and any ammunition therefor. In addition, recognizing the danger posed by 50 caliber rifles, the Legislature recently passed, and the Governor has signed, legislation restricting the sale and transfer and tracking the ownership of, 50 caliber rifles;
(5) The City and County of San Francisco has a high concentration of potential targets for terrorist attacks;
(6) The firearms industry has recently introduced a 50 caliber handgun, and reports indicate that it is difficult to control and fires with five times the muzzle power of a .357 magnum handgun;
(7) A recent analysis of data published by the manufacturer of this 50 caliber handgun and ballistics test data published in American Rifleman magazine indicate that bullets fired from the handgun may be capable of penetrating Type IIIA body armor, the highest grade of concealable body armor normally worn by law enforcement officers in the field. The dangers of these weapons are detailed in "Vest Buster: The .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum-The Gun Industry's Latest Challenge to Law Enforcement Body Armor," Violence Policy Center (2004);
(8) Fifty caliber firearms have no legitimate hunting or sporting purpose in the City and County of San Francisco. Further, such firearms are ill-suited for use as a means to defend one's home or property, since they are difficult to control, greatly increase the risk of harm to bystanders, and the firepower greatly exceeds that which is necessary to protect property or homeowners;
(9) The Board of Supervisors hereby finds and declares that the uncontrolled proliferation and use of 50 caliber firearms and ammunition poses an unacceptable threat to the health, safety and security of the public.
(b) Purpose and Intent. The purpose and intent of this Section is to protect the health, safety, security and general welfare of the citizens of the City and County of San Francisco and the City's law enforcement personnel by reducing the risk of personal injury, death or property damage caused by 50 caliber firearms. Specifically with respect to regulating 50 caliber handguns, it is the purpose and intent of this Section to protect of the citizens of the City and County of San Francisco and the City's law enforcement personnel by reducing the risk of personal injury, death or property damage caused by persons using 50 caliber handguns. It is not the intent of this Section to address the problem of handgun safety, as addressed, for example in Sections 12125 through 12133 of the California Penal Code, or to otherwise regulate 50 caliber handguns based on consumer product safety considerations for the person using the handgun.
(1) As used in this section, the term "50 caliber firearm" shall mean any firearm, as defined in Section 613.1 of this Article, capable of firing a center-fire 50 caliber cartridge.
(2) As used in this section, the term "50 caliber cartridge" shall mean a firearm ammunition cartridge in 50 caliber, either by designation or actual measurement, or any metric equivalent, including but not limited to a .50 BMG cartridge, that is capable of being fired from a centerfire rifle or a handgun. The term "50 caliber cartridge" does not include any memorabilia or display item that is filled with a permanent inert substance or that is otherwise permanently altered in a manner that prevents ready modification for use as live ammunition.
(3) As used in this section, the term "rifle" shall mean any firearm that is designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder, and which is designed or redesigned, made or remade to use the energy in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger. The term "rifle" shall not include any shotgun.
(4) As used in this section, the term "handgun" shall mean any firearm with a barrel less than 16 inches in length. The term "handgun" shall include any pistol, revolver, or concealable firearm as such terms are defined in the California Penal Code.
(d) Sale or Transfer of 50 Caliber Firearms and Cartridges Restricted. No person shall sell, give, transfer, offer for sale or display for sale any 50 caliber firearm or 50 caliber cartridge except as authorized by paragraph (e) of this Section.
(1) The provisions of Subsection (d) of this Section shall not apply to:
(A) the sale or other transfer of a 50 caliber firearm or 50 caliber cartridge which is prohibited under state law, including, but not limited to, the sale or transfer of any assault weapon as defined in the California Penal Code;
(B) the sale or other transfer of a 50 caliber firearm which is an antique firearm, as defined in paragraph (16) of subsection (a) of Section 921 of Title 18 of the United States Code;
(C) the delivery of a 50 caliber firearm to a licensed gunsmith, as defined in California Penal Code Section 12001(r), or to a person licensed pursuant to California Penal Code Section 12071, for purposes of service or repair, or to the return of the firearm to its owner by the gunsmith or the licensee following the completion of service or repairs;
(D) the return of a 50 caliber firearm to its owner by a person licensed pursuant to this Article where the firearm was initially delivered to the licensee for the purpose of a consignment sale or as collateral for a pawnbroker loan; or
(E) the offer for sale or display in any periodical, solicitation by mail or use of the internet of a 50 caliber firearm or 50 caliber cartridge by any person or entity where the seller or offeror is located outside of the City and County of San Francisco.
(F) the loan of an unloaded 50 caliber firearm to a person for use solely as a prop in a motion picture, television, video, theatrical or other entertainment production or event, provided that such person is in compliance with Section 12081 of the California Penal Code.
(2) The provisions of Subsection (d) of this Section shall not apply to the sale or other transfer of a 50 caliber firearm or 50 caliber cartridge where the purchaser or transferee is any of the following:
(A) A law enforcement agency;
(B) An agency duly authorized to perform law enforcement duties;
(C) A state or local correctional facility;
(D) A federal law enforcement officer, provided such law enforcement officer is authorized to acquire a 50 caliber firearm and/or 50 caliber cartridges and does so while acting within the course and scope of his or her employment:
(E) A person described in Sections 12302 or 12322(a) of the California Penal Code; provided such person is authorized to acquire a 50 caliber firearm and/or 50 caliber cartridges and does so while acting within the course and scope of his or her employment;
(F) A person who is properly identified as a full-time paid peace officer as defined in Sections 830.1, 830.2, 830.4, or 830.5 of the California Penal Code, provided such peace officer is authorized to acquire a 50 caliber firearm and/or 50 caliber cartridge and does so while acting within the course and scope of his or her employment;
(G) A firearms dealer who has been issued a Federal Firearms License, and who is in compliance with the requirements of Section 12071 of the California Penal Code,
(H) A person or entity conducting a transaction described in subdivision (k) of Section 12078 of the California Penal Code:
(I) A person acquiring a 50 caliber firearm or 50 caliber cartridge by bequest or intestate succession, or otherwise by operation of law, provided that such firearms or cartridges are transferred to a law enforcement agency or to a person licensed pursuant to California Penal Code Section 12071 within 12 months from the date that the person obtains title;
(J) A non-profit entity that is authorized to destroy firearms, and which has agreed to destroy the firearm being transferred;
(K) A federal, state, or local historical society, museum, or institutional collection that is open to the public; provided that the 50 caliber firearm is used for display purposes, is unloaded, and is secured from unauthorized uses.
(1) Violation of this Section shall be punishable as a misdemeanor. In addition, in the case of a violation of this section by a firearms dealer licensed under this Article, each violation of this Section shall constitute grounds for suspension or revocation of the licensee's firearms dealer license.
(2) Each transaction in violation of this Section shall be deemed a distinct and separate violation.
(g) Sunset Provision. If the State of California enacts legislation prohibiting or restricting the sale or transfer of 50 caliber rifles, 50 caliber handguns, or 50 caliber cartridges covered by this section, the requirements of this Section shall be suspended as of the date such legislation goes into effect with respect to any requirements of this Section that apply to the firearms or cartridges prohibited or restricted by state law. If the State of California subsequently repeals any such legislation, the suspension shall expire by operation of law and the previously suspended provisions shall become operative.
(Added by Ord. 283-96, App. 7/13/96; amended by Ord. 260-04, File No. 031932, App. 11/4/2004)
The provisions of Ord. 283-96 took effect on January 1, 1997.