Gun control advocates are launching a new regulatory push in California to impose first-in-the-nation instant background checks for ammunition sales, a move that comes as gun violence surfaces as a lightning rod issue in the 2016 presidential race.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, joined with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in announcing the initiative last week.
The November 2016 ballot initiative, which already is being slammed by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, would make changes on several fronts.
It would require owners to turn in “large-capacity” magazines — those holding 11 rounds or more — and report when their weapons are stolen. Perhaps the most controversial provision would handle ammo sales like gun sales by requiring “point-of-sale background checks” for ammunition purchases; dealers also would need a license similar to those required to sell firearms.
As New York has backed off a similar initiative, California would be the first state to enact such background checks, if the initiative is successful. Four states — Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey — require ammunition purchasers to obtain permits ahead of time, according to the initiative’s supporters.
The proposal comes in the wake of high-profile killings nationwide and three in the San Francisco Bay Area that were tied to stolen guns.
“Stuff doesn’t just have to happen,” Newsom said last week, responding to comments by Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush about a recent mass shooting on an Oregon college campus. “We have the ability to step in with some common sense. We have the ability to protect our families.”
Read more: Fox News