The action comes less than 2 weeks after the Orlando massacre and the very day a 24-hour sit-in over gun control ended in the U.S. House.
A gun and ammunition control initiative whose provisions include prohibiting the possession of large-capacity magazines has qualified for the November ballot in California, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Thursday.
What backers have dubbed as “The Safety for All Act of 2016” would also do the following:
- require the destruction or removal from the state of large-capacity ammunition magazines
- require most individuals to pass background checks and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition
- require most ammunition sales be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to Department of Justice
- require lost or stolen firearms and ammunition be reported to law enforcement
- prohibit persons convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms
- establish new procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by felons and violent criminals
- require Department of Justice to provide information about prohibited persons to federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System
Passage of the initiative would result in increased state costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually related to regulating ammunition sales, likely offset by various regulatory fees authorized by the measure, according to an analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.
There would also be an increase in court and law enforcement costs, not likely to exceed the tens of millions of dollars annually, related to removing firearms from prohibited persons as part of court sentencing proceedings. These costs could be offset to some extent by fees authorized by the measure, the analysis found.
There would also be a potential increase in state and local correctional costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, related to new and increased penalties, according to the analysis.
The initiative required valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — to qualify for the ballot, according to Padilla.
“The Safety for All initiative will save lives by making it much harder for dangerous people to get guns and ammunition in California,” said its author, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a 2018 candidate for governor.
Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, said the initiative “seems designed to raise Newsom’s public profile, because in reality it will do nothing to prevent mass shootings in this state nor will it have any positive effects on the safety of California residents.”
“Since ammunition will still be legal to possess, albeit more difficult to acquire, the measure does nothing to stop criminals who commit murder, which, of course, is already illegal,” Hanisee said. “It will only affect the law abiding citizens.
“It is bad public policy to enact laws which the vast majority of Californians will simply, consciously, ignore. And it is worse public policy to enact measures which will not accomplish the goals they claim.”