On Tuesday I was talking to my sociology of guns class about how I got into gun culture given my background growing up completely free of guns in the San Francisco Bay area, the land of unicorns and rainbows.
On Wednesday, news of the impending closure of High Bridge Arms, “San Francisco’s Last Gun Shop,” reached me via The Truth About Guns. They were picking up on a message posted on High Bridge Arms’ Facebook page. I also saw a blog post by Top Shot champion and High Bridge Arms customer, Chris Cheng, about the closing.
On one of my recent trips home to visit family, I made a point of stopping by High Bridge and leaving some money for something I could legally buy as a non-resident in California, some t-shirts. I guess these are collector’s items now.
There has been some talk of lawsuits, the idea being the city’s driving out all gun stores is an unconstitutional restriction on Second Amendment rights. Given modern transportation, I don’t know if that will go very far since San Francisco residents can go to City Arms in Pacifica or Jackson Arms in South San Francisco or Peninsula Guns and Tactical in San Bruno. (Though there is, not surprisingly, tremendous discrimination against the poor in this.)
To me the issue isn’t the ability of people to buy guns in San Francisco, but the reality that the political powers that be in the city have made a powerful symbolic statement: that their civic ideal is one in which ordinary citizens do not have guns.
Advocates of “common sense” gun control measures frequently try to reassure gun people that they respect the Second Amendment and don’t favor civilian disarmament. The case of San Francisco suggests otherwise.