National Beat Reporter
California Proposition 63, also known as the Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban, will be on the California ballot this November. According to Ballotpedia, if passed, this proposition would prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and would require a background check in order to purchase ammunition.
Current California legislation states that individuals and businesses must obtain a one-year license from the California Department of Justice to sell ammunition and to conduct background checks of purchasers with the Department of Justice.
Prop 63 would require individuals to obtain a permit to purchase ammunition. Dealers would have to verify the permit before continuing the transaction. The proposed measure eliminates “several exemptions to the large-capacity magazines ban and increases the penalty for possessing them,” according to Ballotpedia.
The proposition would also impose a court process that prevents convicted felons from the continued possession of firearms. Furthermore, it would make stealing a gun a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is spearheading the Yes on 63 campaign, also called “Safety For All,” as the measure’s developer.
“Enough massacres, death, tears, and hate — it’s time to take action and save lives,” Newsom said, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
“The Safety for All initiative gives California voters the opportunity to keep guns and ammo out of the hands of violent, dangerous, hateful people. America has too many guns and too much hate. The result is the massacre in Orlando, and dozens of other gun deaths every single day.”
“From 2002 to 2013, 38,576 Californians died from gun violence, including 2,258 children,” endorsers posted on the ‘Yes’ website.
Prop 63 is endorsed by U.S. Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, the California Democratic Party, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and a long list of city government officials and California organizations.
As of Oct. 2016, ‘Yes’ has raised over $4.7 million on campaigning for Prop 63. The top three contributors to the ‘Yes’ campaign fund is the California Democratic Party, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and California businessman philanthropist Sean Parker.
“Stop Prop 63” is the opposition campaign, led by The Coalition of Civil Liberties, which is comprised by a wide variety of advocacy groups, including the California Police Chiefs Association, National Rifle Association, Congress of Racial Equality, and Jews Can Shoot.
The campaign has partisan endorsement by the California Republican Party, California Libertarian Party and the California Peace and Freedom Party.
The ‘No’ side argues that the proposition would burden law-abiding citizens who own firearms and would not prevent terrorists or criminals from accessing firearms.
The opposition also argues that Prop 63 is written in a misleading manner. According to their website, Prop 63 would force legal ammunition dealers out of business, lead to door-to-door confiscations of private property and lead to costly fees for background checks (up to $50).
Six-time Olympic shooting medalist Kim Rhodes is the poster-endorser for the Stop Prop 63 campaign.
“Harsh gun laws like Prop 63 are not the answer,” said Rhodes in a Stop Prop 63 advertisement. “They only hurt law abiding people and do nothing to stop terrorists. Prop 63 takes away the rights of tens of thousands of gun owners across California.”
As of press time, the opposition campaign has raised approximately $650,000. The top three contributors to this cause are the NRA, California Rifle and Pistol Association and the Citizens Committee to Keep the Right to Bear Arms.
According to a survey conducted by SurveyUSA in September, approximately 63 percent of the respondents stated they would vote ‘yes’ for Proposition 63.
Prop 63 is particularly noteworthy in the Santa Barbara area following the 2014 Isla Vista tragedy. At the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence in late September, activists implored attendees to pass the proposition.