The election of November 8, 2016, caused in elation to many and sorrow to others. Regardless whom you voted for in the Presidential election, we should all be feeling more than a little sorrow for the residents of California. In fact, we should be downright outraged. While California has never been known as being overly friendly to gun owners or manufacturers, new laws have truly changed the game and made it easier than ever for residents or travelers to run afoul of the law.
California Proposition 63, the Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban Initiative, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as an initiated state statute. Unfortunately, it was approved.
|A “yes“ vote supported prohibiting the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and requires certain individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase ammunition.|
|A “no“ vote opposed this proposal to prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and require certain individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase ammunition.|
Regulation of Ammunition in California
In July 2016, California enacted legislation to regulate the sale of ammunition. The legislation requires individuals and businesses to obtain a one-year license from the California Department of Justice to sell ammunition. The legislation also required sellers to conduct background checks of purchasers with the Department of Justice. Some provisions of the legislation repealed and replaced parts of Proposition 63.
Changes to State Law
Proposition 63 requires individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. The measure mandates dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition. The measure also eliminates several exemptions to the large-capacity magazines ban and increases the penalty for possessing them. Proposition 63 enacted a court process that attempts to ensure prohibited individuals do not continue to have firearms.
Proposition 47 of 2014 made stealing an item that is valued at less than $950 a misdemeanor. Therefore, stealing a gun valued at less than $950 is a misdemeanor. Proposition 63 made stealing a gun, including one valued at less than $950, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
State of the Ballot Measure Campaigns
Yes on Prop 63 outraised opponents five to one. As of November 15, 2016, supporters received $4.55 million, while opposing committees raised $872,615. The California Democratic Party, a supporter of Proposition 63, contributed $1.15 million to the campaign. The National Rifle Association was against the initiative and contributed $95,000 to opponents. Polls indicated that around 68 percent of residents supported Proposition 63 prior to the election.
Requirements to Buy Ammo
Proposition 63 was designed to require individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a four-year permit from the California Department of Justice. The measure required dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition. California enacted legislation in July 2016 that repealed this provision and instead mandated dealers to check with the Department of Justice to determine if the buyer is authorized to purchase.
Licenses to Sell Ammo
In July 2016, California enacted legislation to regulate the sale of ammunition. The legislation required individuals and businesses to obtain a one-year license from the California Department of Justice to sell ammunition. Hunters selling 50 rounds or less of ammunition per month for hunting trips were not required to obtain a license.
Proposition 63 established a misdemeanor penalty for failing to follow these dealer licensing requirements.
California banned large-capacity magazines for most individuals in 2000. Individuals who had large-capacity magazines before 2000 were allowed to keep the magazines. Proposition 63 removed the ownership exemption for pre-2000 owners of large-capacity magazines. The measure provided for charging individuals who do not comply with an infraction.
Court Removal of Firearms
Proposition 63 enacted a court process that attempts to ensure prohibited individuals do not continue to have firearms. The measure required courts to inform individuals prohibited from owning a firearm that they must turn their firearms over to local law enforcement, sell their firearms to a licensed dealer, or give their firearms to a dealer for storage. Proposition 63 also required probation officers to check and report on what prohibited individuals did with their firearms.
Starting in July 2019, the July 2016 legislation would have prohibited most California residents from purchasing ammunition outside the state and bringing it into the state without first having it delivered to a licensed dealer. Proposition 63 moves up the start date of this law to January 2018. It also makes bringing out-of-state ammunition into the state, without first delivering it to a dealer, an infraction.
Penalty for Theft
Proposition 47 of 2014 made stealing an item that is valued at less than $950 a misdemeanor. Therefore, stealing a gun valued at less than $950 was a misdemeanor.
Proposition 63 made stealing a gun, including one valued at less than $950, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
The measure requires dealers of ammunition to report a theft or loss within 48 hours. It requires individuals to report a theft or loss within five days to local law enforcement. Failure to report was considered an infraction under the initiative.
Do you think California’s legislation will stand? Will other states try to pass similar legislation? How can California gun owners protect themselves from Proposition 63? Share your answers in the comment section.