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Prop 63: What it Means for Gun Owners

With the widespread prevalence of devastating mass shootings across the country, California voters ended up supporting the prohibition of possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Prop 63 is known as the “Safety for all” proposition. In addition, Prop 63 requires certain individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase ammunition. The document containing the proposed law noted that in 2013, guns were used to kill 2,900 Californians – including 251 children and teens.

Main Provisions and Changes Set Out by Prop 63

One of the main provisions of Prop 63 works to require individuals who purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. In addition, anyone selling ammunition is required by law to check the permit prior to the sale. Since many of the recent mass shootings were increasingly devastating due to the use of large-capacity magazines, Prop 63 also includes a measure that eliminates the exemptions for these large-capacity magazines. Not only are the exemptions eliminated, but Prop 63 increases the penalties for those in violation of this law. Individuals must now pass a background check through the Department of Justice prior to purchasing ammunition. Ammunition sales must now be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to the Department of Justice. While the majority of California voters voted for Prop 63, there are legitimate arguments for and against the proposition.

Opposition Arguments

Those who opposed Prop 63 say that the law will burden law-abiding citizens while having minimal effect on criminals. Opponents also argue that the increased penalties for individuals not in compliance with Prop 63 will further clog the court system, while potentially creating criminal records based on technicalities upon otherwise law-abiding citizens. It is true that a significant amount of resources will be utilized to enforce Prop 63. However, opponents argue that the use of these resources would be a waste. Instead, those against Prop 63 argue that these resources should be used to hire more officers and to prosecute dangerous individuals and terrorists.

Proponent Arguments

Those who voted for Prop 63 argue that the initiative closes loopholes that criminals often use in order to carry out criminal activity. One concern that many proponents have is that there are no laws in place which ensure those convicted of dangerous felonies actually relinquish their guns and ammunition. Since Prop 63 will tighten down on gun control, proponents argue the measure will effectively remove illegal guns from our communities – thus decreasing the amount of shooting-related deaths. Since the measure also requires businesses and individuals to report lost or stolen ammunition, proponents believe that this will prevent guns and weapons ending up in the wrong hands.

Proposition 63 will go into effect January 2018, but there will undoubtedly be challenges against the new bill. Second Amendment challenges are likely to arise in the near future. The good news is that criminal defense attorneys are already preparing for what is to come. The measure will undoubtedly place many law-abiding citizens at the peril of the criminal justice system, but a good criminal defense attorney will be well-equipped to go to battle and defend against Second Amendment infringements.