POLITICS

California Voters To Consider New Gun Control Measures In November

The proposal includes a ban on high-capacity magazines and background checks for ammo purchases.

A gun-control proposal that would require background checks for ammunition sales and ban high-capacity magazines has collected enough valid signatures to get on the California ballot in November, state authorities announced Thursday. 

The so-called Safety for All initiative would also require owners to report when a firearm is lost or stolen, force the state to link its gun owner database with a federal system and establish a system for confiscating weapons from ex-cons and others who have lost the right to own them. 

The initiative is a signature issue for California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). He has portrayed the reforms package as a way to prevent mass shootings -- such as the one that claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino in December -- and curb the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Some state Senate members hoped Newsom and his supporters would abandon their push for the ballot proposal after lawmakers passed similar legislation in MayLawmakers hope the legislation also passes in the state Assembly rather than leaving it up to voters. 

But Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, has declined to scale back his efforts.

Critics in law enforcement and gun rights groups like the NRA contend that criminals will turn to the black market for ammunition while law-abiding citizens will lose their rights.

However, a public opinion poll in January found that 80 percent of Californians support background checks for ammo deals and that there is significant support increasing gun regulations in other ways.  

Some gun policy experts have predicted that these changes will not affect crime rates, as California already has some of the country's strictest gun regulations.

It could be especially difficult to enforce collecting magazines holding 10 or more bullets from people who obtained them legally, according to Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"It will be met with resistance and you will have widespread noncompliance," he said. "So in that sense, nothing changes."

Possessing high-capacity magazines is already forbidden in some cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles

The possibility for change at the state level comes after Democrats in Congress failed to secure votes on reforms, such as banning gun sales to suspects on terrorist watchlists, despite a high-profile filibuster in the Senate and a sit-in on the House floor.

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