The PJ Tatler

CA Lt. Governor Will Introduce Ballot Initiative for Background Checks to Purchase Ammunition

The lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is proposing a ballot initiative that would create some sensible gun laws.

Just kidding, they’re not sensible.

Newsom’s initiative will ask voters to “strengthen the state’s gun laws by restricting ammunition sales, requiring owners to turn in assault-style magazines that have a large capacity and requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement.”

If the initiative is passed, California will be the first state to require background checks to purchase ammunition.  The proposal is sponsored by the anti-gun crew at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.  “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.”

High-profile killings like that of Katie Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant with a crime-laden rap sheet? Was that the gun’s fault or was it the fault of the city that refused to deport an illegal-immigrant professional criminal? A good-faith effort to reduce criminal conduct and gun violence would remove criminals from this country if they do not belong here, but California is going in another direction I guess.

Here is what will be in the initiative:

— Eliminate the stockpile of now-banned large-capacity magazines with 11 rounds or more: Owners would be required to sell them to a licensed firearms dealer, take them out of state or turn them in to law enforcement to be destroyed. State law already bans manufacturing or selling magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

How exactly would this be enforced? House-to-house visits by the authorities to make sure no hicapmags are lying around?

— Background checks for ammunition purchases: Ammunition dealers would need to conduct a background check at the point-of-sale for all ammunition, and dealers would need a license similar to those required to sell firearms. Stores also would be required to report to law enforcement if ammunition has been lost or stolen.

If you are hell bent on avoiding the cataloging of your ammunition purchases, drive to Vegas and get some ammo. Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit should open a ammo shop next to the casinos at Stateline, Nevada. This rule only burdens firearms dealers with bureaucracy and adds to the cost of ammunition since there will be a processing fee for the background check. Sport shooters will be most impacted by this since we go through a lot of ammunition.

— Reporting lost and stolen guns: California would join 11 other states in requiring that lost or stolen firearms be reported to law enforcement.

How does this stop gun violence? I’m all for reporting a stolen gun to police — it’s in one’s interest to remove ownership from a weapon that might be used in a crime. But this doesn’t stop anything.

— Felons must relinquish weapons: California courts would set up a clear process to relinquish weapons. The authors say that more than 17,000 Californians who are prohibited from owning firearms currently have guns.

So they already know there’s more than 17,000 people with illegal weapons and no one is going to collect them? Seems like you don’t need another law to take care of this problem.

— 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. California currently reports to the federal system voluntarily.

They already do this, California already reports to the federal database. What’s the point of requiring it if it already happens in practice?

As I point out every time I write a piece about “sensible gun legislation” that will purportedly reduce gun violence, all of these new rules are contingent upon people respecting the law and complying. If you are willing to murder, rob, assault, or rape your fellow citizens, then I doubt you would be willing to comply with these rules.

USA Today writes, “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. It found that 57 percent of adults said controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting the right of Americans to own guns, while 40 percent said protecting gun ownership is more important.”

These figures do not surprise me in the least (this is California after all).  But should the laws be stricter just because? Perhaps Public Policy Institute of California should have asked, “Do you support more laws that curtail the freedom of law-abiding citizens but have no measurable benefit to society as a whole?” I wonder what those numbers would look like.

We need to constantly fight back against the authoritarian, freedom-hating left, which wants more laws that offer no benefit to society and restrict the behavior of law-abiding citizens for feel-good reasons. This proposed initiative is just more of the same.