California Lt. Gov. Newsom Pushes Ballot Measure to Tighten Gun Controls

16 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California Looks to Take Another Big Swipe at Second Amendment With New Gun Control Proposal.

SAN FRANCISCO—California Lt. FILE — In this Oct. 3, 2013, file photo, a custom-made semi-automatic hunting rifle with a high-capacity detachable magazine is displayed at TDS Guns in Rocklin, Calif.SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13/AP) – California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a 2016 ballot initiative that would ask voters to strengthen the state’s gun laws. The initiative calls for a background check on all ammunition purchases, requiring owners to turn in large capacity assault-style magazines and making gun owners report lost or stolen guns.

It would also ban the possession of magazines with more than 10 rounds and requiring anyone who has them now to get rid of them, possibly selling them out of state. “What a mess that will be,” lifelong member of the NRA Peter Buxton said, adding “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is good with a gun.” “You can intimidate the politicians, we’ve seen that,” Newsom said. “But you can’t intimidate the public, which is why we’re bringing this directly to the public.” Gavin Newsom, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, said on Thursday that he planned to lead a ballot measure campaign next year to further tighten the state’s gun-control laws. If adopted, the proposal Newsom planned to release Thursday would make California the first state in the nation to require background checks at the point of sale for ammunition, although other states require purchasers to obtain licenses and go through background checks ahead of time. Among the three Democrats, only Newsom has officially launched a gubernatorial campaign, although Villaraigosa – who has been out of public office for two years – has indicated he may consider a run. It comes in the wake of high-profile killings nationwide and three recent San Francisco Bay Area killings in which the shooters allegedly used stolen guns to commit the crimes.

The National Rifle Association said the group opposed the proposed measure and saw it as a prime example of gun-control activists’ attack on the right to bear arms in America. “His ballot initiative proposal does nothing but prohibit access to the most effective methods for self-defense, with no measurable positive effect on stopping crime or improving public safety,” said NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter. “They can’t repeal the Second Amendment, so they’re trying to chip away our rights until there is nothing left.” The announcement came two weeks after a mass shooting in Oregon in which a gunman killed nine people and wounded nine others before committing suicide, sparking fresh debate on the issue of gun violence in the U.S. Villaraigosa’s strongest support came from Latino voters and Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco known for championing the right of same-sex couples to marry, received his strongest support in Northern California.

San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent millions backing Democrats who support efforts to combat climate change, received support from 29% of those polled, the same as Democratic state Treasurer John Chiang. San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who lost her bid to be state controller last year to Democrat Betty Yee, were the only Republicans on the list. However, although California enacted its assault weapons ban in 1989 and expanded it in 1999, those who already owned the banned guns and magazines were allowed to register and keep them.

– Firearms database: The California Department of Justice would have to notify the federal instant criminal background check system when someone is added to the database of those prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. In addition to leading the gun-rights measure, which he said he drafted with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit legal firm in San Francisco, he is also supporting a campaign to legalize marijuana in California. A poll last month by the Public Policy Institute of California found that two-thirds of adults believe California’s gun control laws should be stricter than they are now. Anyone convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor; who has a restraining order against them; or has been declared dangerously mentally ill would be banned from buying ammunition. And the measure would require firearm owners to notify law enforcement if their firearm has been lost or stolen; 11 other states and the city of Sacramento already require this. “It’s a cynical shot by Gavin to push himself into the limelight in preparation for his run for governor,” said Eric Meyers of Napa, president of the Liberal Gun Club’s California chapter.

For example, Democrat Tom Bradley might have lost 1982’s gubernatorial election to Republican George Deukmejian largely due to his endorsement of Proposition 15, which would’ve imposed stricter handgun controls. Voters would decide Newsom’s measure two years before his own bid for governor, but it’s possible a conservative backlash against it could affect down-ticket races in swing districts around the state. “That’s a potential risk,” Newsom acknowledged, though similar threats of backlash against gay marriage didn’t lead to Democratic electoral defeats. “And if you believe in something and think it’s the right thing to do, I think you’ve got an obligation to do it.” Gun-rights supporters are mobilizing already. The grass-roots Firearms Policy Coalition on Thursday bought the web domain “,” which redirects to a page on the coalition’s site where people can sign up to donate or volunteer against Newsom’s plan or to support a counter-proposal protecting gun rights. “If Gavin Newsom wants to declare war on law-abiding gun owners and Second Amendment rights, we’re certainly going to bring the fight to him,” said coalition president Brandon Combs of Roseville. “This is going to come down to votes.

Gun owners need to start actively working on this now and be ready to show up in 2016.” But Newsom said he already is hearing from “an unbelievable number of well-known tech leaders” and others who are pledging support, including the money needed to circulate petitions for the measure and then counter the inevitable opposition and heavy spending by the gun-rights lobby. Even in a Democrat-dominated state like California, the NRA wields outsized influence in the state Capitol, he said; going straight to the ballot might blunt that power. New Field Poll results released Thursday show him in a statistical dead heat with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, while current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti nips at both their heels.

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