18th Anniversary Of 101 California Street Shooting: Officials Call On Congress To Pass Ban On Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2011

Erica Terry Derryck, 415-553-1167 or erica.derryck@sfgov.org
Crime Commission: Ashley Cannon, 212-608-4700 or cannon@caasny.com

18th Anniversary Of 101 California Street Shooting: Officials Call On Congress To Pass Ban On Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines
San Francisco leaders honor victims, join momentum of law enforcement calling on Congress to protect the public

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On the 18th anniversary of the 101 California Street shooting which left nine dead and six wounded, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Police Chief Greg Suhr called on Congress to pass the ban on large capacity ammunition magazines. The horrific shooting occurred on July 1st, 1993 at the Pettit & Martin law firm where a gunman used 40- and 50-round magazines to help fire 75 shots.

“On July 1, 1993 at 101 California Street, my beloved wife Jody was denied her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Steven Sposato who lost his wife in the shooting. “I will never forget watching my 10-month-old daughter Meghan putting a handful of dirt on her mommy's grave. The failure of Congress to fulfill their primary obligation and provide for the safety of the people is highlighted in mass killings like Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, and most recently Tucson. Congress fears the NRA and loves the money they bring to their campaigns. But, limiting clips to 10 rounds shouldn't be about politics: it’s about common sense. I urge Congress to rise above the special interests and do what is truly right.”

Large capacity ammunition magazines were made illegal as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, commonly known as the federal assault weapons ban, but Congress failed to renew the ban when it expired in 2004. A large capacity ammunition magazine was used to carry out the recent shooting in Tucson, allowing the gunman to fire more than 30 bullets in 15 seconds.

“Our communities should not be out gunned by criminals on the street or in the courtroom,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Congress should ensure that we have the toughest laws on the books to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of killers and to put those who wield those weapons behind bars.”

The San Francisco Police Department is in support of current legislation pending before Congress that would ban large-capacity ammunition magazines from holding more than 10 rounds,” said Chief of Police Greg Suhr. “While we acknowledge the rights of law-abiding citizens, there is no practical use for these types of magazines other than by Law Enforcement and Military personnel. We feel this is another step toward ensuring the public’s safety by reenacting a key provision of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which was not renewed by Congress in 2004.”

“Today is a day of remembrance as we reflect on the 18th anniversary of the 101 California Street shooting,” said Paul Henderson, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. “We are deeply saddened by the deaths that occurred on that tragic day, and our prayers are with the families. The voices of law enforcement, victims’ rights advocates and the general public are loud, unified and unwavering. There is no place for assault weapons on our streets.”

Since 2004, lethal large capacity ammunition magazines have been used in every mass shooting in the United States. Examples include: 2007 Virginia Tech: 33 dead, 17 wounded, 15-round magazines, hundreds of shots fired; 2009 Binghamton, NY: 14 dead, four wounded, 30-round magazines, 99 rounds fired; 2010 Hartford Beer Distributor, CT: nine dead, two wounded, 17-round magazines.

“It should not take another massacre to motivate Congress to do the right thing,” said Richard Aborn, President of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, and the former President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (1993-1996). “The growing momentum of support from law enforcement across the country should send a clear and unassailable message: this isn’t about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about protecting cops and keeping the public safe.”

The San Francisco Mayor, District Attorney and Police Chief join a growing list of supporters, including:
· Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck (CA)
· Major Cities Chiefs Association
· New York State Association of Chiefs of Police (NY)
· Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy J. Dolan (MN)
· Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey (PA)
· Providence Police Chief Colonel Dean Esserman (RI)
· Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman (TX)s
· Former Vice President Dick Cheney
· Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (CA)
· Los Angeles City Council (CA)
· Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (CA)
· NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NY)
· Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (PA)
· Binghamton Mayor, Matthew Ryan (NY)
· Binghamton Police Chief, Joseph Zikurski (NY)
· Broome County DA, Gerald Mollen (NY)
· U.S. Conference of Mayors
· New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (NY)
· Vincent D’Onofrio, actor
· Colin Goddard, VA Tech shooting victim
· Kelly O’Brien, fiancée of Tucson shooting victim Gabe Zimmerman
· Shirley DeLucia, Binghamton victim/survivor
· Citizens Crime Commission of New York City
· New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
· Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence
· Violence Policy Center
· Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
· States United to Prevent Gun Violence
· Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City is an independent nonprofit organization working to make criminal justice and public safety policies and practices more effective through innovation, research, and education. In the last three decades, the Crime Commission has been a leader on key issues such as: expanding the use of DNA evidence in crime fighting, creating innovations that reduce juvenile crime, developing interventions against gun violence and illegal gun crime, and highlighting the changing nature of the threat of terrorism.