Gun reform to regulate ammo

By Cody Casares, Photo Editor

On Tuesday, voters will decide on gun control legislation that will require people purchasing ammunition to undergo the same background checks as those buying firearms.

A yes on Proposition 63 will close the exemption made in 2000, banning large capacity ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds in California. The current exemption allows those who own large capacity magazines prior to the ban to keep them.

Individuals who own large capacity magazines will be required to dispose of them or may be guilty of an infraction or misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100 per large capacity magazine or imprisonment in a county jail if Proposition 63 receives a passing vote.

A no vote would simply oppose Proposition 63 and current gun and ammunition laws would remain unaltered. 

Under current California law, individuals who commit felonies are prohibited from possessing firearms, yet there is no clear process for those individuals to relinquish their guns when they are convicted.

In 2014, the Department of Justice found that more than 17,000 people possess more than 34,000 guns illegally, including more than 1,400 assault weapons.

If passed, Proposition 63 would require California courts to instruct felons to surrender their firearms or face penalties. Probation officers would be charged with following up with parolees and be required to report to court on how, or if, the firearm(s) was sold or legally disposed.

Proposition 63 will additionally establish requirements for individuals purchasing ammunition to get permits annually from the California Department of Justice. Permit fees for individuals seeking to purchase ammo shall not exceed $50, according to Proposition 63. Permits will be renewed by the state Department of Justice prior to expiration, provided the individual did not become prohibited from renewing their permit during that time. Permits would be required and must be shown to a dealer every time bullets are purchased. Individuals and businesses selling ammunition will also be required to attain permits, valid for four years, prior to selling ammunition. 

Proposition 63 will also establish penalties for firearm owners who keep a loaded firearm under their control and allow a person under 18 years old to obtain the firearm and carry it to a public place or use it resulting in a death. Gun owners who do not store firearms in a locked container or use a locking device, may be guilty of a felony or misdemeanor. 

Under Proposition 63, gun owners would be required to notify law enforcement within five days of the time they knew or reasonably should have known their gun is missing. That would take effect July 1, 2017.

The punishment for stealing a firearm would also become a felony, increasing the maximum prison sentence from one year to three years, making a person convicted ineligible to posses a firearm for 10 years.