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S.F. GUN BAN FOUND INVALID BY COURT An attempt to ban handgun possession in San Francisco � in a thoughtful enough way to survive a court challenge � seems to have failed. Proposition H, passed by San Francisco voters last fall, was found invalid by a superior court judge Monday. Though the city still has the option of appealing, the ruling doesn’t bode well for proponents’ hope that this measure would do better under court scrutiny than a similar ban that fell apart more than 20 years ago. Last year’s Prop H aimed, within city limits, to stop residents from keeping handguns as well as prohibit the sale, distribution, transfer and manufacture of firearms and ammunition. On Monday, Judge James Warren concluded such city regulations are pre-empted by state law. “In sum, local ordinances in conflict with state law will prevail only as to matters that are of vital interest to the city but of little or no interest to the state,” Warren wrote. “That is the opposite of the situation here.” His 30-page opinion included an analysis, laid out in the 1991 California Supreme Court case California Federal Savings and Loan Ass’n v. City of Los Angeles, 54 Cal.3d 1, for weighing a charter city’s authority against state interests. A spokesman for the city attorney, who did not help draft the initiative but had the job of defending it, said Monday that his office was “disappointed that the court has denied the right of voters to enact a reasonable, narrowly tailored restriction on the possession of handguns.” Spokesman Matt Dorsey added that he expected City Attorney Dennis Herrera to decide whether to appeal in the next day or two. C.D. “Chuck” Michel, of Southern California law firm Trutanich Michel, represented the Prop H opponents who brought the suit. “Hopefully, out of this the city officials will recognize that gun owners can contribute to the effort to fight the criminal misuse of firearms. That’s a goal we all share.” The case is Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco, 505960. � Pam Smith BUSCH TO HANDLE S.F. MOTION DOCKET San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch, a former civil litigator who’s served on the bench for nearly six years, will replace Judge James Warren in a law and motion courtroom. Busch will begin sitting in Department 301 today, he said. His official start date is June 19, since Friday will be Warren’s official last day before retirement. Busch, who spent about two decades litigating a wide variety of cases at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, had most recently been presiding over civil trials at the court’s Polk Street annex. He said he requested his new assignment, adding, “I enjoy � the challenge of resolving legal issues and the chance to deal with all manner of different ones.” The judges who sit in the two law and motion courtrooms decide requests for extraordinary relief or legal issues that arise before trial in cases that have not been assigned to a single judge for all purposes. Busch was appointed to the bench in 2000 by then-Gov. Gray Davis. Since then, he has spent a little more than three years in criminal courtroom assignments and the rest in civil trial departments. Judge Ronald Quidachay presides over the other law and motion courtroom, Department 302. � Pam Smith

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