California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom said a quintet of gun-control measures will be taken directly to state voters in November 2016, including background checks for ammunition sales.
Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, acknowledged on MSNBC that California ballot propositions can be unpredictable. Take, for example, Prop. 187 to keep illegal immigrants from accessing taxpayer services or Prop. 209 against the use of race as a factor in college admissions.
“We have direct democracy in California. Sometimes it runs amok, but sometimes it’s empowering. Right now, we know the NRA, their home court is legislative bodies. Certainly in Congress but legislative branches even in Democratic states like California,” he said. “There are a series of things we’ve tried to do legislatively that have either been watered down or rejected because of intimidation and the tactics the NRA are specialists at. The opportunity now is to go direct to the voters, that overwhelmingly support common sense backgrounds and empower the voters. ”
“They won’t be intimidated as politicians are intimidated by the NRA. That’s what we’re counting on next year.”
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, said he thinks the ballot measures will pass “because it’s the right thing to do, and because people support overwhelmingly background checks.”
“It makes no sense, does it? You have background checks on guns. And California actually has a very comprehensive background check system that’s been in place close to a quarter of a century, but not on ammunition. The most deadly part of a gun is the ammunition. And the reality is you can buy ammunition at the laundromat. You can buy it at the grocery store. There’s no licensing requirements. So, all we’ll do is submit the ammunition to the same background check that currently exists for guns. We think it’s common sense,” he said. “Of course, the NRA thinks it’s confiscatory. They think it’s an assault on the Second Amendment. That’s nonsense. I think the voters are going to subscribe to our point of view and no longer their point of view.”
Newsom insisted it’s “not good enough” to “sit back and send out a press release with some pabulum with condolences to family members” after mass shootings.
“The message is clear. Submit the same requirements we do for guns for ammunition. Lost and stolen guns should be reported. Magazines of 11 bullets or more should no longer be in individuals’ possession. Coordinate and collaborate more effectively with the federal databases and deal with relinquishment of guns that are already in the hands of people that are convicted felons. There’s tens of thousands of guns in California right now that are legally in the hands of convicted felons, and we have no relinquishment procedure. And we want to establish that,” the lieutenant governor continued.
“So, five key provisions, and we put them on the ballot in November 2016. The voters, I believe, will step up and step in in a big way. Hopefully, that will be resonant and we’ll see a dozen plus similar states begin to do this same things and we will turn this around where we no longer feel powerless, but we feel empowered and we have the ability, I think, with the example to enliven people’s senses in other states where they can say, you know, we can take these guys on, we can win. We don’t have to be victims in this debate any longer.”