SAN FRANCISCO-The California Supreme Court has ruled that San Francisco may not ban handguns in the city.

On Wednesday, the court sided with the National Rifle Association and unanimously rejected the city's appeal of a lower-court ruling that restricted local governments' ability to regulate firearms.

The high court's ruling sealed the fate of Proposition H, an ordinance voters approved in November of 2005 that banned city residents from possessing handguns.

The initiative, which never took effect, would have also barred the manufacture, sale or distribution of any type of firearms or ammunition in the city.

Under the law, only law enforcement officers and others who needed guns for professional purposes would have been exempted.

"The fact that the State Supreme Court unanimously decided to reject
the city's appeal will hopefully send a message that it cannot place the burden of crime reduction on the backs of law-abiding citizens," said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

The San Francisco case was decided as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the District of Columbia can ban personal handguns.

The case -- District of Columbia vs. Heller, 07-290 -- was brought because Washington resident Dick Anthony Heller, a 65-year-old private security guard, wants to be able to bring his work-issued handgun home with him for protection.

The District since 1976 banned residents from carrying handguns.

Residents may, however, keep a rifle or hunting gun in their homes, as long as is its locked and not loaded.

A ruling in the case is expected at the end of June.

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