Man Sues For Right to Carry Gun Near Cole Valley's Grattan School

Matt Smith
Don't mind me, kiddies...
After San Francisco school officials refused to allow local programmer Kevin Hall to carry a sidearm near Grattan School in Cole Valley, he sued in federal court Thursday demanding respect for what he calls his Second Amendment rights.

"I want to open carry in San Francisco, but there are schools all over the place," said Hall, in reference to California's Gun Free School Zone Act of 1995. "The law says you can't carry within 1,000 feet. There's one 925 feet from my front door. So I can't walk out my front door with a gun."

Thumbnail image for progressive-justice-by-matt-smith.2294157.87.jpg
Matt Smith
You get an "A" for armed and dangerous...
By press time, a school district spokeswoman had not returned calls requesting comment on Hall's Aug. 26 federal district court lawsuit. Nor had Grattan principal Jean Robertson.

Lest they worry Hall will begin walking the neighborhood guns ablazin', the plaintiff, who works as a software engineer with Santa Clara startup LiveOps, said he's more interested in Constitutional principle than shooting Grattan's principal.

"I put down in the suit that it's for self-defense," said Hall. "In some sense, that's true. But in another sense, it's just that I can't do it. But the government has assured us that we can under the Constitution. If they had said, 'You can do it,' I probably wouldn't be interested."

Under the Gun Free School Zone Act, Hall was required to request a special permit from the school district in order to carry a firearm near Grattan Elementary.

"They denied me," he said. "I feel like my fundamental rights according to the U.S. Supreme Court have been denied. I have no choice at this point other than to file for redress and get the court to overturn School District has done."

Hall notes that if he were to win his suit, and an anti-open carry bill now being pushed by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano were to pass, the juxtaposition of  new laws would create a bizarre situation where people could not carry sidearms -- unless they were near a school. That's because Ammiano's anti-sidearm bill includes an exemption for people who've been issued permits allowing them to carry near schools. According to the bill's text, the ban wouldn't include:

The open carrying of an unloaded handgun within a school zone, as defined in Section 626.9, with the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority.
Hall's suit, meanwhile, demands that the School District be required to issue such permits.

Holster up, kids.

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