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ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop. 63 - Gun and Ammunition Control

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.

California’s Proposition 63 is about gun and ammunition control. Most of the attention is focused on how Prop 63 requires a background check to buy ammunition and bans high-capacity ammunition magazines.

After the San Bernardino shootings, California passed seven gun control laws that overlap with Prop 63. Background checks for ammunition and bans on large-capacity magazines will both begin whether or not Prop 63 passes. But the proposition applies them to more people.

What else is different? If Prop 63 passes, the state will have an easier time recovering illegal firearms from people convicted of committing serious crimes. Prop 63 would also add stiffer penalties for firearm theft, reporting requirements for stolen guns and ammo, and tightened rules for dealers.

So who supports the initiative? Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is the main champion  Between his campaign war chest and the California Democratic Party, there’s nearly 4 and a half million dollars on the yes on 63 side.

Who opposes Prop 63? No surprise here: the gun lobby and gun rights advocates. They raised much less money, though: just under half a million dollars, with part of that coming from an NRA affiliate. They argue that the initiative would unfairly come down on law-abiding gun owners, without making the state any safer. And some accuse Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom of using this proposition to launch his gubernatorial campaign.

To sum up: A yes vote would add more restrictions on guns and ammunition. A no vote would keep things the same. But remember, some gun laws will be going into effect either way.

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this piece. It's part of our community reporting project.