Ban on Cheap Guns Upheld on Appeal

A state appeals court Tuesday upheld West Hollywood’s ban on the small, cheap handguns known as Saturday night specials.

In 1995 West Hollywood became the first city in California to ban the guns, which are available for as little as $50. Dozens of municipalities have modeled laws after West Hollywood’s ordinance.

Los Angeles banned the guns in 1996, with officials saying they accounted for 1,437, or 13%, or all firearms confiscated by police the previous year.

Recently, however, the momentum to ban the weapons slowed amid concerns that powerful gun lobbyists would file lawsuits.


In December 1996, a Los Angeles judge dismissed a lawsuit by the California Rifle and Pistol Assn. challenging the West Hollywood ordinance. The organization, joined by other groups, including the National Rifle Assn., sought a court order blocking the West Hollywood ordinance, which makes it a misdemeanor to sell any of a number of cheap handguns.

The judge’s ruling was appealed by the gun groups, resulting in Tuesday’s decision in the 2nd District Court of Appeal.