In November 2016, Californians passed Proposition 63 – a comprehensive proposition placing additional restrictions on firearm and ammunition sales. This has left many Californians asking the question: What does this mean for me? If you are a gun owner or an avid user, the passage of this ballot will affect more than just your wallet!
Ammunition Sales and Purchase
The passage of Prop 63 allowed for the creation of a background check system for the purchase of ammunition. Any individual who wishes to purchase ammunition in the state of California will be required to obtain a permit with the California Department of Justice and pay a $50 fee to do so. The fee is in place to pay for the background check, and the permit will last 4 years. Individuals who have a background or criminal history that negates their right to purchase will be prevented from doing so.
On the flip side, those individuals or businesses who wish to participate in selling ammunition to the public will need to obtain a yearly license to do so. Hunters selling under 50 rounds per year are exempt from the licensing requirements. This law was in fact put into effect in July 2016, but Proposition 63 expanded the law to establish a misdemeanor penalty for any individuals found to be in violation.
Prop 63 also moved the start date of a piece of July 2016 legislation that prohibited California residents from purchasing ammunition outside the state and bringing it in. This action will now be deemed illegal starting January 1, 2018. The penalty for non-compliance is an infraction.
Large Capacity magazines were banned in the state in 2000, but individuals who had a large-capacity magazine prior to that law’s enactment were exempt from the requirement. A large capacity magazine is defined as any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Proposition 63 removed that ownership exemption and it is now illegal for anyone in the state to possess a large capacity magazine. Individuals who do not comply with the disposal of their pre-2000 magazines will be charged with an infraction. Individuals found to be in possession of a large capacity magazine after July 1, 2017 will be in non-compliance and subject to penalties .
Reporting Theft of Ammunition
Prop 63 requires dealers of ammunition to report a theft or loss within 48 hours of discovery. Individuals must report a theft or loss to local law enforcement within 5 days and failure to report is considered an infraction.
Theft of Firearms
Proposition 63 adjusts the penalty for the theft of a firearm under $950 from a misdemeanor to a felony. The theft of most items valued under $950 is a misdemeanor according to current CA law, so the proposition essentially made the theft of any firearm a felony, regardless of its monetary value.
Court Removal of Firearms
Proposition 63 creates a new court process to ensure that prohibited individuals do not continue to possess firearms. Courts are now required to inform prohibited individuals that they must dispose of their firearms by either turning them over to law enforcement, selling them through a licensed dealer, or giving them to a licensed dealer for storage. The law will also require probation officers to perform due diligence and report on the status of what prohibited individuals did with their firearms.