Requires background check and Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition. Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Establishes procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by specified persons. Requires Department of Justice’s participation in federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
— Gun and Ammunition Sales — Firearms. Ammunition Sales.Initiative Statute —
State of CaliforniaProp. 63 — Gun and Ammunition Sales Initiative Statute - Majority Approval Required
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The way it is now
State and federal laws prevent certain people from owning guns. This includes people who have committed felonies and some other crimes, as well as certain people with mental illness. People buying a gun must also get a background check through the Department of Justice. Right now, no background check is required to buy ammunition, such as bullets or shotgun shells. A background check will be required to buy ammunition beginning in January 2017.
What if it passes?
Prop 63 would create a new court process to make sure people convicted of felonies and some other crimes do not have guns. Probation officers would be required to make sure these people have given up their guns. People could turn their guns into the police, store them with a gun dealer, or sell them to a gun dealer. Prop 63 would also make it illegal to possess certain types of gun 'magazines' or clips that hold a large number of bullets.
People FOR say
- Prop 63 would make sure that violent criminals and people with mental illnesses don’t have access to guns.
- This strengthens existing gun laws and prevents dangerous people from buying ammunition.
People AGAINST say
- This would make it harder for people who follow the law to buy ammunition.
- The costs for Prop 63 could be better spent training police, hiring more officers and getting violent criminals off the street.
Should the state of California strengthen background checks and Justice Department oversight; tighten restrictions and monitoring for gun and ammunition sales; require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms; and ban large capacity magazines?
Under federal and state law, certain individuals are not allowed to have firearms: (1) those convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors; (2) those found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness, and (3) those with a restraining order against them. A national background check system exists to ensure that a buyer is not a prohibited person, and the California Department of Justice (DOJ) cross-checks it in order to identify illegally possessed guns and confiscate them.
Under state law, there are limits on the type of firearms that can be bought, a waiting period before a buyer can get a firearm from a dealer, and requirements for reporting firearm sales. Starting in 2018, a one-year DOJ license will be needed to sell ammunition, and most ammunition sales will have to be through a licensed dealer. Starting in 2019, dealers will have to confirm with the DOJ that those seeking to buy ammunition are not prohibited persons, and dealers will generally have to collect and report detailed information on each ammunition sale to the DOJ, to be kept for two years. Additionally, the ownership of large-capacity magazines will be limited.
Prop. 63 includes various regulations related to the sale of ammunition, some of which would replace existing law. Individuals would have to obtain, and pay for, a four-year permit from the DOJ to buy ammunition, dealers would have to check that buyers have such permits, and the permits would be revoked from persons who become prohibited.
Persons convicted of stealing a firearm would be prohibited from possessing firearms. A new court process would be set up to ensure that those prohibited individuals don’t continue to have firearms, and new reporting requirements would be established. The maximum penalty for possession of large capacity magazines would be increased.
There would likely be increased state and local costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually due to increased workloads caused by the new court process. Potential state costs related to the regulation of ammunition sales would likely not be more than millions of dollars annually, and could be offset by various regulatory fees. Potential increased state and local correction costs likely would not exceed the low millions of dollars annually.
- Prop. 63 will save lives by preventing dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining and using deadly weapons.
- Prop. 63 will protect the right of law-abiding Californians to own guns for self-defense, hunting, and recreation.
- Prop. 63 is opposed by the law enforcement community and civil rights groups, because it will burden law-abiding citizens without keeping violent criminals from accessing firearms and ammunition.
- Prop. 63 will burden the court system with the enforcement of flawed laws.
- Requires individuals to pass a background check and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition.
- Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and requires their disposal, as specified.
- Requires most ammunition sales be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to Department of Justice.
- Requires lost or stolen firearms and ammunition be reported to law enforcement.
- Prohibits persons convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms.
- Establishes new procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession.
- Requires Department of Justice to provide information about prohibited persons to federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
SUMMARY OF LEGISLATIVE ANALYST’S ESTIMATE OF NET STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FISCAL IMPACT:
- Increased state and local court and law enforcement costs, potentially in the tens of millions of dollars annually, related to a new court process for removing firearms from prohibited persons after they are convicted.
- Potential increase in state costs, not likely to exceed the millions of dollars annually, related to regulating ammunition sales. These costs would likely be offset by fee revenues.
- Potential net increase in state and local correctional costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, related to changes in firearm and ammunition penalties.
Restrictions on Firearm and Ammunition Possession
Under federal and state law, certain individuals are not allowed to have firearms. These “prohibited persons” include individuals (1) convicted of felonies and some misdemeanors (such as assault or battery), (2) found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness, and (3) with a restraining order against them. In California, individuals who are not allowed to have firearms are also not allowed to have ammunition.
Regulation of Firearm Sales
Both federal and state law include various regulations related to firearm sales, including the licensing of firearm dealers. Such regulations include:
- Background Checks. Under federal law, firearm dealers must request background checks of individuals seeking to buy firearms from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS searches a number of federal databases to ensure that the buyer is not a prohibited person. As allowed by federal law, California processes all background check requests from firearm dealers in the state directly by using NICS and various state databases.
- Removal of Firearms From Prohibited Persons. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains a database of individuals who have legally bought or registered a firearm with the state. DOJ agents use this information to remove firearms from individuals who are no longer allowed to have firearms.
- Other Regulations. Other state regulations related to firearms include: limits on the type of firearms that can be bought, a ten-day waiting period before a dealer may give a firearm to a buyer, and requirements for recording and reporting firearm sales.
Fees charged to firearm dealers and buyers generally offset the state’s costs to regulate firearm sales.
Regulation of Ammunition Sales
Prior to this year, the state did not regulate ammunition sales in the same manner as firearms. In July 2016, the state enacted legislation to increase the regulation of ammunition sales. Such regulations include:
- Licenses to Sell Ammunition. Beginning January 2018, individuals and businesses will be required to obtain a one-year license from DOJ to sell ammunition. Certain individuals and businesses would not be required to obtain a license, such as licensed hunters selling less than 50 rounds of ammunition per month to another licensed hunter while on a hunting trip. In order to obtain a license, ammunition dealers will need to demonstrate that they are not prohibited persons. In addition, certain entities will be able to automatically receive an ammunition license, such as firearm dealers licensed by both the state and federal government and firearm wholesalers. A vendor who fails to comply with ammunition sale requirements three times would have their ammunition dealer’s license permanently revoked. DOJ could charge a fee to individuals and businesses seeking a license to sell ammunition to support its administrative and enforcement costs.
- DOJ Approval to Buy Ammunition. Beginning July 2019, ammunition dealers will be required to check with DOJ at the time of purchase that individuals seeking to buy ammunition are not prohibited persons. This requirement would not apply to some individuals, such as persons permitted to carry concealed weapons. In addition, ammunition dealers will generally be required to collect and report information—such as the date of the sale, the buyers’ identification information, and the type of ammunition purchased—to DOJ for storage in a database for two years. Failure to comply with these requirements is a misdemeanor (punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in county jail). DOJ could generally charge an individual seeking to purchase ammunition a fee of up to $1 per transaction to support its administrative and enforcement costs. DOJ could adjust this fee cap annually for inflation.
- Other Regulations. Beginning January 2018, state law generally will require that most ammunition sales (including Internet and out-of-state sales) take place through a licensed ammunition dealer. In addition, beginning July 2019, most California residents will be prohibited from bringing ammunition into the state without first having the ammunition delivered to a licensed ammunition dealer. Failure to comply with these requirements is a misdemeanor.
Status of Recent Legislation
As discussed above, the state recently enacted legislation to increase the regulation of ammunition sales. The state also recently enacted legislation to further limit the ownership of large-capacity magazines and to create a penalty for filing a false lost or stolen firearm report to law enforcement. These laws will take effect unless they are placed before the voters as referenda. If that occurs, voters will determine whether the laws take effect.
Impartial analysis / Proposal
Proposition 63 (1) changes state regulation of ammunition sales, (2) creates a new court process to ensure the removal of firearms from prohibited persons after they are convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, and (3) implements various other provisions. Additionally, Proposition 63 states that the Legislature can change its provisions if such changes are “consistent with and further the intent” of the measure. Such changes can only be made if 55 percent of the members of each house of the Legislature passes them and the bill is enacted into law.
Changes to State Regulation of Ammunition Sales
Proposition 63 includes various regulations related to the sale of ammunition. Some of the regulations would replace existing law with similar provisions. However, other regulations proposed by Proposition 63 are different, as discussed below.
Requirements to Buy Ammunition. Proposition 63 includes various requirements for individuals seeking to buy ammunition and for DOJ to regulate such purchases. Specifically, the measure:
Requires individuals to obtain a four-year permit from DOJ to buy ammunition and for ammunition dealers to check with DOJ that individuals buying ammunition have such permits.
Requires DOJ to revoke permits from individuals who become prohibited.
Allows DOJ to charge each person applying for a four-year permit a fee of up to $50 to support its various administrative and enforcement costs related to ammunition sales.
The state, however, enacted legislation in July 2016 to replace the above provisions with alternative ones if Proposition 63 is approved by the voters. (This legislation was enacted pursuant to the provision of Proposition 63 allowing for changes that are “consistent with and further the intent” of the proposition, as described earlier.) Specifically, under the legislation: (1) ammunition dealers would be required to check with DOJ that individuals seeking to buy ammunition are not prohibited persons at the time of purchase and (2) DOJ could generally charge such individuals up to $1 per transaction. These provisions are similar to current law. Fewer individuals, however, would be exempt from this check than under current law. For example, individuals permitted to carry concealed weapons would be subject to this check.
Licenses to Sell Ammunition. Similar to current law, Proposition 63 requires individuals and businesses to obtain a one-year license from DOJ to sell ammunition. However, the measure changes the types of individuals and businesses that would be exempt from obtaining a license. For example, the measure generally exempts individuals and businesses that sell a small number of rounds of ammunition from the requirement to get a license. The measure also makes various changes in the penalties for failure to follow ammunition sale requirements. For example, it establishes a new criminal penalty—specifically, a misdemeanor—for failing to follow vendor licensing requirements.
Other Ammunition Requirements. This measure prohibits most California residents from bringing ammunition into the state without first having the ammunition delivered to a licensed ammunition dealer beginning in January 2018—a year and a half earlier than under current law. Additionally, failure to comply with this requirement would change from a misdemeanor to an infraction (punishable by a fine) for the first offense and either an infraction or a misdemeanor for any additional offense. The measure also requires DOJ to store certain ammunition sales information in a database indefinitely, rather than for two years.
Creates New Court Process for Removal of Firearms
This measure creates a new court process to ensure that individuals convicted of offenses that prohibit them from owning firearms do not continue to have them. Beginning in 2018, the measure requires courts to inform offenders upon conviction that they must (1) turn over their firearms to local law enforcement, (2) sell the firearms to a licensed firearm dealer, or (3) give the firearms to a licensed firearm dealer for storage. The measure also requires courts to assign probation officers to report on what offenders have done with their firearms. If the court finds that there is probable cause that an offender still has firearms, it must order that the firearms be removed. Finally, local governments or state agencies could charge a fee to reimburse them for certain costs in implementing the measure (such as those related to the removal or storage of firearms).
Implements Other Provisions
Reporting Requirements. The measure includes a number of reporting requirements related to firearms and ammunition. For example, the measure requires that ammunition dealers report the loss or theft of ammunition within 48 hours. It also requires that most individuals report the loss or theft of firearms within five days to local law enforcement. An individual who does not make such a report within five days would be guilty of an infraction for the first two violations. Additional violations would be a misdemeanor. This measure also reduces the penalty for an individual who knowingly submits a false report to local law enforcement from a misdemeanor to an infraction and eliminates the prohibition from owning firearms for ten years for such an individual. This measure also requires DOJ to submit the name, date of birth, and physical description of any newly prohibited person to NICS.
Large Capacity Magazines. Since 2000, state law has generally banned individuals from obtaining large capacity magazines (defined as those holding more than ten rounds of ammunition). The law, however, allowed individuals who had large capacity magazines before 2000 to keep them for their own use. Beginning July 2017, recently enacted law will prohibit most of these individuals from possessing these magazines. Individuals who do not comply are guilty of an infraction. However, there are various individuals who will be exempt from this requirement—such as an individual who owns a firearm (obtained before 2000) that can only be used with a large capacity magazine. Proposition 63 eliminates several of these exemptions, as well as increases the maximum penalty for possessing large capacity magazines. Specifically, individuals who possess such magazines after July 2017 would be guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor.
Penalty for Theft of Firearms. Under current state law, the penalty for theft of firearms worth $950 or less is generally a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. Under this measure, such a crime would be a felony and could be punishable by up to three years in state prison. Additionally, individuals previously convicted of a misdemeanor for the theft of a firearm would be prohibited from owning firearms for ten years. Currently, there is no such prohibition for a misdemeanor conviction for theft of firearms.
Increased Court and Law Enforcement Costs. The new court process for removing firearms from prohibited persons after they are convicted would result in increased workload for the state and local governments. For example, state courts and county probation departments would have some increased workload to determine whether prohibited persons have firearms and whether they have surrendered them. In addition, state and local law enforcement would have new workload related to removing firearms from offenders who fail to surrender them as part of the new court process. They could also have increased costs related to the storage or return of firearms. Some of the increased law enforcement costs related to the removal, storage, or return of firearms would be offset to the extent that local governments and state agencies charge and collect fees for these activities, as allowed by this measure. The total magnitude of these state and local costs could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. Actual costs would depend on how this measure was implemented.
Potential Increased State Regulatory Costs. On balance, the measure’s changes to the regulation of ammunition sales could increase state costs. For example, more individuals or businesses would likely be subject to state ammunition requirements under the measure. The actual fiscal effect of the changes would depend on how they are implemented and how individuals respond to them. We estimate that the potential increase in state costs would not likely exceed the millions of dollars annually. These costs would likely be offset by the various fees authorized by the measure and existing state law.
Potential Net Increased Correctional Costs. This measure makes various changes to penalties related to firearms and ammunition. While some changes reduce penalties for certain offenses, other changes increase penalties for certain offenses. On net, these changes could result in increased correctional costs to state and local governments, such as to house individuals in prison and jail. The magnitude of such costs would depend primarily on the number of violations and how the measure is enforced. The potential net increase in correctional costs would likely not exceed the low millions of dollars annually.
YES vote means
A new court process would be created for the removal of firearms from individuals upon conviction of certain crimes. New requirements related to the selling or purchasing of ammunition would be implemented.
NO vote means
No new firearm- or ammunition-related requirements would be implemented.
PROPOSITION 63 WILL KEEP US SAFER BY REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE
Police in Dallas doing their job . . .. A nightclub in Orlando . . .. An office holiday party in San Bernardino . . .. A church in Charleston . . .. A movie theater in Aurora . . .. An elementary school in Newtown . . ..
What’s next? How many more people need to die from gun violence before we take bold action to save lives?
More than 300 Americans are shot each day, more than 80 of them fatally.
More than 1 million Americans were killed or seriously injured by guns from 2004–20I4.
It’s time to take action to keep guns and ammo out of the wrong hands. Proposition 63—the Safety for All Act—will save lives by closing loopholes to prevent dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining and using deadly weapons.
PROPOSITION 63 WILL:
- Remove illegal guns from our communities by ensuring that dangerous criminals and domestic abusers sell or transfer their firearms after they’re convicted.
- Require any business that sells ammunition to report if their ammunition is lost or stolen.
- Require people to notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen, before the weapons end up in the wrong hands.
- Ensure people convicted of gun theft are ineligible to own guns.
- Strengthen our background check systems and ensure that California law enforcement shares data about dangerous people with the FBI.
Proposition 63 keeps guns and ammo out of the wrong hands, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Californians to own guns for self-defense, hunting, and recreation.
Right now, thousands of dangerous felons remain illegally armed because we don’t ensure that people convicted of violent crimes actually relinquish their guns after conviction. The Department of Justice identified more than 17,000 felons and other dangerous people with more than 34,000 guns, including more than 1,400 assault weapons.
Passing Proposition 63 will represent a historic and unprecedented step forward for gun safety.
LEADERS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA SUPPORT PROPOSITION 63, INCLUDING:
- Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
- California Democratic Party
- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
- Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly Toni Atkins
- Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly John Pérez
- Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, San Francisco
- Former Police Chief Ken James, Emeryville
- League of Women Voters of California
- California Young Democrats
- California Federation of Teachers
- San Francisco Board of Education
- Equality California
- Courage Campaign
- California American College of Physicians
- California American College of Emergency Physicians
- Southern California Public Health Association
- Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice
- Coalition Against Gun Violence
- Rabbis Against Gun Violence
- States United to Prevent Gun Violence
- Stop Handgun Violence
- Stop Our Shootings
- Women Against Gun Violence
- Youth Alive!
To learn more please visit www.SafetyforAll.com.
GAVIN NEWSOM, Lieutenant Governor of California
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, United States Senator
ROBYN THOMAS, Executive Director
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Prop. 63 is overwhelmingly opposed by the law enforcement community and civil rights groups because it will burden law abiding citizens without keeping violent criminals and terrorists from accessing firearms and ammunition.
The California State Sheriffs’ Association, Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California Fish & Game Wardens’ Association, California Reserve Peace Officers Association, and numerous other law enforcement and civic groups, representing tens of thousands of public safety professionals throughout California, are united in their opposition to this ineffective, burdensome, and costly proposal.
Prop. 63 would divert scarce law enforcement resources away from local law enforcement and overburden an already overcrowded court system with the enforcement of flawed laws that will turn harmless, law-abiding citizens into criminals. In fact, New York recently abandoned its enforcement of a similar proposal after it was passed, finding that it was impossible to implement and effectively maintain.
Doing what actually works to keep the public safe is the highest priority of law enforcement professionals who dedicate their lives to protecting Californians. Unfortunately, Prop. 63 will not make anyone safer. To the contrary, by directing resources away from measures that are truly effective at preventing the criminal element from acquiring guns and ammunition, it would make us all less safe. The immense public resources that Prop. 63 would waste should be used to hire more officers and to target, investigate, and prosecute dangerous individuals and terrorists.
After closely analyzing the language of Prop. 63, the law enforcement community found many problems in the details. Due to strict limitations on the Legislature’s ability to amend voter-enacted propositions, most of these problems will be difficult or impossible for the Legislature to fix if Prop. 63 passes, saddling California with the burdens and costs of this flawed proposal forever.
By going around the Legislature, this initiative limits public safety professionals in developing future legislation that would truly promote public safety. California taxpayers should not waste hundreds of millions of their dollars on ineffective laws that have no value to law enforcement and will harm public safety by diverting resources away from effective law enforcement activities that are critical to public safety.
Please visit WWW.WHERESMYAMMO.COM for more information.
PLEASE VOTE NO ON PROP. 63.
DONNY YOUNGBLOOD, President
California State Sheriffs’ Association
KEVIN BERNZOTT, Chief Executive Officer
California Reserve Peace Officers Association
TIFFANY CHEUVRONT, Principal Officer
Coalition for Civil Liberties
Replies to Arguments FOR
Terrorists don’t follow the law!
Gavin Newsom refuses to acknowledge that the Orlando and San Bernardino attacks were ISIS inspired Islamic radicalism. It is the same ideology that motivated the 9/11 terror attacks that killed 2,996 innocents. Exploiting terrorist attacks to push sweeping laws affecting law-abiding peoples’ civil liberties is misleading, wrong, and dangerous.
None of the proposed laws would prevent terrorist attacks. The reality is terrorists can always find the means to wreak havoc, a box cutter in a plane on 9/11, a homemade bomb in Boston, or a truck in Nice, France. Terrorists and criminals get weapons from the black market, make them, or steal them from law-abiding citizens.
Everyone agrees that preventing weapons from falling into the wrong hands is crucial. We all share the concern about the growing trends of terrorism and radicalization.
But, Prop. 63 is NOT the answer.
Spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars year after year on useless lists of everyone who buys and sells ammunition diverts critical resources and focus away from effective anti-terrorism efforts, leaving the public more vulnerable to attack and LESS SAFE.
There’s a reason law enforcement overwhelmingly opposes Prop. 63.
The public interest would be better served if these resources were used to educate more Californians about what they can do to protect their families and communities from terrorist attacks or to further train law enforcement to do so.
Stop this dangerous abuse of public resources.
Vote NO on Prop. 63!
ALON STIVI, President
Direct Measures International, Inc.
WILLIAM “BILLY” BIRDZELL, U.S. Special Operations Command Anti-Terrorism Instructor
RICHARD GRENELL, Longest serving U.S. Spokesman at the United Nations
Replies to Arguments AGAINST
As law enforcement and public safety officials, we’re not surprised that groups such as the NRA and its affiliates oppose Proposition 63. Make no mistake, the so-called “Coalition for Civil Liberties” is actually an NRA front group.
The gun lobby often claims we should focus on enforcing existing gun laws, and that’s exactly what this initiative does—Prop. 63 closes loopholes and helps enforce existing laws to keep guns and ammo out of the wrong hands.
For example, Prop. 63 ensures dangerous convicts prohibited from owning weapons follow the law and get rid of their firearms. Law enforcement professionals have found that felons and dangerous people currently possess thousands of guns illegally—so closing this loophole will save lives.
Prop. 63 also requires reporting lost and stolen firearms, to help police shut down gun trafficking rings and locate caches of illegal weapons. Prop. 63 will help police recover stolen guns before they’re used in crimes and return them to their lawful owners.
Prop. 63 also improves background check systems so that law enforcement can prevent people banned from owning weapons—such as violent felons—from buying guns and ammo.
And Prop. 63 clarifies existing law so that any gun theft is a felony, ensuring that people who steal guns can’t own guns. That’s another common-sense reform to save lives overwhelmingly supported by law enforcement professionals.
Prop. 63 will close loopholes in our existing laws and prevent dangerous criminals, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining and using deadly weapons.
NANCY O’MALLEY, District Attorney
JEFF ROSEN, District Attorney
Santa Clara County
VICKI HENNESSY, Sheriff
Yes on Prop. 63
No on Prop. 63
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