New California Initiative May Lead to Ammo Background Checks


California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a 2016 ballot initiative today that includes a host of new gun control measures, including one that could make the state the first in the country to require background checks on ammunition purchases. The proposal would also ban the possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, require gun owners to report stolen firearms, confiscate guns from felons, and compel the state Department of Justice to notify the federal government when someone is added to the database of persons restricted from possessing a firearm.

“In the last 72 hours—68 people have been killed and 129 people have been injured due to gun violence in America,” Newsom wrote recently on Facebook.

The Lt. Governor added in a press conference on Thursday that the initiative was intended to take on the NRA and “combat” its influence in California.

“I want the NRA to know that the people of California are going to speak, and speak loudly,” Newsom told reporters.

Newsom’s proposal would require about 366,000 signatures to qualify it for the 2016 ballot, but in a state that is historically pro-gun control, supporters are optimistic. However, the proposal has drawn criticism from Second Amendment advocates, especially with the specter of a magazine ban and background checks on ammunition.

California already banned the sale and manufacture of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, but the new proposal would force gun owners to sell the magazines to approved dealers, take them out of state, or destroy them. Critics of the proposal accused the measure of attempting to bypass constitutional rights in order to confiscate property. Gun rights advocates also argued that background checks on ammo is an unnecessary hindrance to gun owners and could raise costs for dealers.

“Another delusional politician that thinks by just adding another gun law to the many thousands we already have on the books will make all our gun problems go away,” wrote on commenter on Newsom’s Facebook page.

“How about working on real issues like the state drought, worthless bullet trains and immigration? More gun control and laws is not the answer,” wrote another.

California is already considered by many to be one of the toughest states on guns. Just earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that banned the carry of firearms on school campuses in the state. Newsom, who is running to succeed Brown as governor in 2018, is on a much more vocal gun control platform. Shortly after the Democratic Debate on Tuesday, Newsom publicly endorsed the candidates’ stance on gun control and especially praised Hillary Clinton’s performance.

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