By Larry Keane
Elections have consequences and San Francisco voters got exactly what they wanted. Twice.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was booted from office in a recall election that had everything to do with soft-on-crime policies, including a refusal to lock up criminals committing their crimes with firearms while at the same time denying law-abiding citizens their Second Amendment rights.
Blue state governors, attorneys general, mayors and district attorneys with the same policies of sneering at law-abiding gun owners while letting criminals walk might want to take note.
San Francisco is a city with strict gun control within a state that has among the nation’s strictest gun control laws. On top of that, the city cut $120 million from its law enforcement budget after caving to the “defund the police” movement. San Francisco residents had already elected Chesa Boudin as District Attorney with a hair over 50 percent of the vote. Boudin was well-known as a “criminal justice reformer” who would bring a soft-on-crime approach to the office. His father was a member of the Left-wing extremist group Weather Underground who spent 40 years in prison for second-degree murder. His mother was also a member and spent 20 years in prison. The younger Boudin was raised by Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers and all of this was public. San Franciscans wanted it. That was until they didn’t.
Residents saw immediate change with Boudin’s radical justice vision. While his diehard supporters praised his elimination of cash bail for criminals and putting fewer people behind bars, the murder rate went up, as did violent crime, shoplifting and burglary. Viral videos of San Francisco criminals running rampant became commonplace.
The situation was so bad early in Boudin’s tenure, the San Francisco police told people they were out of luck if certain crimes were committed. They announced, publicly, that they wouldn’t respond to certain calls for help. Voters had enough. Boudin was just given the pink slip after more than 60 percent of voters bounced him out.
In early 2020, California residents were becoming alarmed by the coronavirus shutdowns and crime spikes. Those spurred people who previously supported gun control to buy firearms. Scott Kane explained California’s obstacles for lawful gun ownership, saying, “This has taken me, a law-abiding citizen with nary an unpaid parking ticket to my name, over a month. Meanwhile, Joe Bad Guy has probably purchased several fully automatic AK-47s out of the back of an El Camino in a shady part of town with zero background checks.”
Boudin’s soft-on-crime policies drove more Californians, like that of other district attorneys including Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, to take up lawful gun ownership and protection of their families, businesses and homes, into their own hands. Even with all the hoops and strict gun control laws, nearly 4 million law-abiding Californians have purchased a firearm since 2020.
“My gun store has had a run like I’ve never seen before. It was just an avalanche of new gun buyers for the first time.,” said Todd Cotta, owner of Kings Gun Center. Geneva Solomon, owner of Redstone Firearms also in California, added buyers weren’t just buying firearms and leaving. They were signing up for training and practice. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in the class options we offer. Before they would never sell out. Now they sell out two days after we post them.”
The rejection of Boudin by San Francisco voters, one of the most progressive cities in the country, is telling. Voters want safety in their cities. That includes their fundamental right to lawfully own firearms for self-defense.
Support for more gun control remains low. Americans recognize not enough is being done to control crime. Support for enforcing current laws is high and voter support for a ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), is at an all-time low.
What’s clearly apparent is voters, even those in San Francisco, reject the soft-on-crime policies and approach of progressive prosecutors like Boudin. When it comes down to it – they’ll send them packing.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.