Lawyers for the National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Association have warned San Jose, Calif., city council members not to consider stricter gun laws.
The warning came after the pro-gun lobbying groups learned of a proposal to tighten controls on assault weapons submitted by a retired attorney, who said he wants to prevent "unusual, occasional, but increasingly common tragic situations like what happened in [Newtown,] Connecticut.”
Sean Brady, the lawyer representing the NRA and state Rifle and Pistol Association, wrote in a letter that the city shouldn't consider the proposed ordinance because it conflicts with state law. "In light of the legal preemption issues, I would hope the San Jose City Council recognizes that, as a legal matter, the Proposed Ordinance cannot pass muster," Brady said in the letter. "In fact, every other city that had an ordinance like [this one] has repealed the ordinance in recognition of this. San Jose’s Proposed Ordinance should, like those other ordinances, be repealed."
San Jose isn't the only city considering a local gun-control ordinance in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans earlier this month to introduce a city ordinance to curb gun violence. Specifics haven't been announced.
Cities considering local gun control ordinances should be prepared to hear from the NRA and its lawyers. The nation's largest pro-gun lobby has a long record of suing cities and states that seek to impose gun laws tighter than the federal standards.
Chicago's longstanding handgun ban was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2010, and an Illinois statewide ban on concealed weapons was overturned by a federal appeals court in mid-December. The NRA filed the lawsuits that led to both decisions.