What is Proposition 63?

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Back to Article

What is Proposition 63?

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Sean McCarthy,
Staff Writer

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On Nov. 8, the nation will vote for it’s new president, state senators and for 17 new propositions that could affect how people go about their daily business.

One of these is Proposition 63, which would require all gun owners to acquire a permit every four years in order to purchase firearm ammunition. The proposition is led by San Francisco-based organization, Safety For All, an anti-gun political group largely funded by the Democratic Party and Gavin Newsome.

Currently, any person over the age of 18 can buy bullets. There is no permit necessary or restrictions other than a valid ID that shows they are of age. This proposition aims to change the way people purchase bullets in the United States.

The organization says this law will remove illegal guns from criminals and communities, require businesses to report lost or stolen ammunition, require citizens to report lost or stolen guns, ensure felons are not able to obtain guns and strengthen the background check process, according to the Safety For All website.

They believe this proposition would strengthen background checks because it places the names of those who purchase ammo on the Department of Justice database. This new proposition could save lives, and is expected to cost taxpayers more money. Due to additional staff needed for background checks, it is expected to hurt the bottom line for ammunition dealers.

More than 300 Americans are shot on a daily basis and 32,000 Americans are killed annually, according to the Safety For All website. However, the FBI Crime data page says that there were 13,455 total murder victims in 2015, which is significantly less than what Safety For All claims.

Safety For All’s leader Linsey Cobia responded to The Pioneer by pointing us to the website and declining to comment herself.

Local Democratic Party members of California, which include Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer as well as the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, East Palo Alto and Union City, have backed this bill. However, those in opposition claim this proposition will punish responsible and legal gun owners more than criminals.

Sean Brady of Michel Lawyers of Los Angeles, representing the National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Association said, “In order to become an authorized ammo purchaser, you have to apply with the state and wait 30 days to get ammo.”

Brady continued, “Imagine a young female who has an ex-boyfriend and needs to defend herself. Every law enforcement agency is against Proposition 63.” The California Police Chief’s Association issued a statement on September 16 to oppose Prop 63.

Brady takes the stance that many pro-gun supporters make: people must have the right to defend themselves, and a permit that takes 30 days to obtain is too long for somebody who is vulnerable and needs it immediately.

Pro-gun advocates claim that they should not be punished for their Second Amendment rights because of criminal negligence.

“How are we going to regulate it?” Larry Hamby said, Security Six Hayward gun shop owner and CEO. “Do we have to contact the department of justice in order to sell it? People can go to gun shows and buy ammunition without being checked but we would be forced to check. It would absolutely hurt our profits.”

Ammunition would only be legal to purchase from an authorized user face-to-face, which would theoretically eliminate purchasing ammo from a gun show stand, according to the Coalition for Civil Liberties, whose campaign “Stop the Ammo Grab” urges voters to vote “no” on Prop 63.

Brady stated that this law is similar to Senate Bill 1235, which was approved on July 1 by California Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 1235 claims that if Proposition 63 fails, the Attorney General would still be required to retain information about ammunition purchases.

However, Proposition 63 adds another layer SB 1235 because it ensures that every person who purchases ammunition would be put on a national database. An application for the permit costs $50 and would last for only four years, according to Brady.