From Virginia Tech to Isla Vista: New Approaches to Keeping Guns from Dangerous People


Join us:

Thursday, July 10th | 3:30 – 5:00 PM
San Francisco Public Library
Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.


Josh Horwitz, JD – Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
Jeffrey Swanson, PhD – Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine
Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH – Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Renee Binder, MD – Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California San Francisco
Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH – Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Davis
Julie Leftwich, JD – Legal Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Please send your RSVP to

Victory in San Francisco: San Francisco’s Magazine Capacity Limit Upheld


Recently two California cities—San Francisco and Sunnyvale—took the lead in keeping their communities safe from gun violence by banning the possession of large capacity ammunition magazines. These lethal magazines allow a shooter to fire dozens of rounds—and kill countless people—without pausing to reload, and because of this, they have been consistently used in mass shootings, including in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

In the months following the shooting in Newtown, several states and local communities turned to enacting strong regulations of these weapons of war. When the gun lobby failed to defeat these common sense laws in the political process, they turned to challenging them in the courts, with claims that these laws violate the Second Amendment. In both of the recent cases in California, the plaintiffs have sought preliminary injunctions from the court to stop the laws from taking effect.

Last week, the court in the San Francisco case denied the plaintiffs’ request, finding that they are unlikely to succeed in their claim that the law violates the Second Amendment. The court found that the law was only—at most—a minor burden on Second Amendment protected conduct. In fact, the court expressed some skepticism that large capacity magazines are protected by the Second Amendment at all and noted that the evidence suggested that the average self-defensive gun use only involved firing about two shots.

The court went on to find that the ordinance was a valid measure to promote public safety given the link between large capacity ammunition magazines and mass shootings. As the court put it, the ordinance “prevents mass murders from firing a larger number of rounds faster by depriving them of” high capacity ammunition magazines.

This ruling is consistent with similar rulings upholding large capacity ammunition magazine bans in Connecticut and New York. Of course, this fight is not over.  There are also pending cases raising similar issues in Colorado, Illinois, and Maryland. Plus, the San Francisco ruling is likely to be appealed and another judge of the same court heard argument on a similar motion in the Sunnyvale case late last week. The Law Center will continue to do everything it can to support these communities as they defend these critical laws in the courts.

For more, read our summary of large capacity ammunition laws or read about other recent gun violence prevention success stories.

Beyond Newtown Rally – December 14, 2013


Few of us will ever forget December 14, 2012. It’s been nearly a year since the massacre of 20 innocent children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. That unbearable tragedy sent ripples of outrage and grief throughout our country and around the world – and changed so much.

Please join us, alongside many other supporting organizations, as we gather in remembrance of the lives lost in Newtown one year ago as well as the 85 American lives lost to gunfire every day. This is also an opportunity for you to engage with a community of supporters, to help energize the efforts of the national movement, and for us all to look ahead as we demand real and lasting solutions to gun violence.

Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 2pm
San Francisco’s UN Plaza

Speakers on Saturday:
U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier
California Senator Mark Leno
Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Mindy Finkelstein, Gun Violence Survivor
and more…

There is also a Youth March prior to the rally, which will begin at 12pm at the Gene Friend Recreation Center at 270 6th Street, and culminate at UN Plaza for the rally. A vigil will be held on Friday at 1 pm, on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

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The Law Center Marks Twenty Years – JUNE 28, 2013

law center 20th anniversary

The Law Center Marks Twenty Years of Saving Lives

Twenty years ago, a deranged former client entered the Pettit & Martin law offices in San Francisco and went on a shooting rampage. In the end, he had killed eight — in addition to himself — and grievously wounded six more.

In the wake, the San Francisco legal community and others affected by this horrific event came together to prevent the next tragedy – founding the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Every year, we gather to mark the anniversary of our organization’s founding with a special event to remember the lives that were taken on July 1, 1993, as well as the unacceptable toll of lives taken by gunfire every day, and look to the future as we develop real and lasting solutions.

We are so honored to have the support of our amazing donors, attendees, and speakers — and we send a special thanks to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Mike Thompson, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and Pastor Michael McBride who joined us to mark this anniversary with us. Finally, thank you to President Bill Clinton for sending a congratulatory message to us for our work and the work of our fantastic speakers to keep our communities safe.

Thank you to everyone who celebrated this momentous occasion with us.

If you would like to contribute to the Dinner or our work, visit our Donate page.

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Jackson v. City and County of San Francisco Amicus Brief

Case Information:  Jackson v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 12-17803 (9th Cir. Filed March 14, 2013)

At Issue:  Challenging San Francisco, California’s safe firearm storage law.  This lawsuit challenges San Francisco’s ordinance requiring that a handgun kept within a residence be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock.  This ordinance was designed to address the problems created by unsecured handguns in the home, which are disproportionately tied to violent unintentional shootings, suicides, illegal gun trafficking and school shootings. Plaintiffs argue that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Law Center’s Brief:  Our brief, filed in support of the City and County of San Francisco, argues that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Second Amendment opinions in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010), safe storage provisions like San Francisco’s are valid, constitutional legal requirements.  Moreover, the history of gun storage laws shows that San Francisco’s ordinance is consistent with the Second Amendment, and challenges to modern safe storage laws have been rejected.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.


Download this amicus brief here.

Truth Telling: The Media’s Role in the Conversation on Guns –
October 25th, 2012

Did you miss our Truth Telling event? Watch this short video and get a little glimpse into the engaging discussion we had and flip through the photos below. There are more photos on Facebook – tag yourselves!

Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors and supporters for making our Truth Telling event such a success. We are so honored to have you in our corner.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence & Opus2 International
are pleased to present:

Truth Telling: The Media’s Role in the Conversation on Guns

 OCTOBER 25, 2012  

6-7 Reception | 7- 8:30 Program
UC Hastings College of the Law
Louis B. Mayer Lounge
198 McAllister Street | San Francisco

Following an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception, a diverse group of journalists from local and national news outlets will share their perspective on the role the media plays in the national conversation on guns, particularly in an election year.

As the “information age” has become incredibly fast-moving and complex, the media’s power to inform, educate, and persuade has also grown. Meanwhile, the topic of gun violence in America remains complicated and fueled by passionate beliefs from all sides.

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Pizzo v. City & County of San Francisco Amicus Brief

Case Information:  Pizzo v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 09-cv-04493-CW (N.D. Cal. Filed July 9, 2012)

At Issue:  Challenging California’s concealed carry “good cause” provision.  This lawsuit challenges the “good cause” provision contained in California’s concealed carry statute.  Under California law, an applicant for a concealed carry permit may only receive a permit if he or she has demonstrated good cause to carry a concealed firearm.  Plaintiff argues that this provision violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Law Center’s Brief:  Our brief, filed in support of California’s discretionary concealed carry law, argues that California’s statutory provisions do not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment as it has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.

Download a PDF of the Pizzo v. City & County of San Francisco Amicus Brief.

The Law Center Joined Americans Nationwide to Remember Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence on the One-Year Anniversary of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

On January 8, 2012, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence joined Americans nationwide to remember victims and survivors of gun violence on the one-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona.  At a candlelight vigil in Yerba Buena Gardens, survivors, legislators, and activists from across the Bay Area gathered to reflect on the terrible toll of gun violence and the need for renewed efforts to keep our communities safe.

Our Legal Director Juliet Leftwich spoke to the need for action in an op-ed in the Contra Costa Times, urging Congress to enact sensible gun laws to prevent future tragedies:

Remember Republicans and Democrats alike sitting together to express their unified support for their fallen colleague? Sadly, rather than using that moment to actually do something tangible to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, our leaders let the opportunity pass and simply returned to business as usual.

It’s not too late. If members of Congress truly want to honor the victims and survivors of the Tucson shooting, they should stop pandering to the gun lobby and start protecting public safety.

We thank everyone who attended Sunday’s vigil.  You can watch a KTVU news report on the event below and see more photos from the vigil here.

The San Francisco vigil, organized by the Law Center, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Bay Area Chapters, 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence, and Youth ALIVE!, was one of numerous vigils held on January 8 to remember victims of gun violence nationwide.  Reports from events across the country are being collected at

Gun violence prevention groups have also released a number of important materials recently.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a video of survivors from the Tucson shooting sharing their stories.  The Violence Policy Center also published a new report entitled More Guns, More Shootings, which found that, in 2008, 110,215 people were shot in the United States, a nine-year high.