SACRAMENTO, California — California’s police chiefs are going against most of the state’s residents by opposing one of the nation’s strictest gun control proposals.
Proposition 63 would mandate background checks for ammo purchases and would make it a crime to own a magazine that contains more than 10 rounds.
“Proposition 63 reverses many of the exemptions that allow officers and police departments to continue purchasing ammunition freely for on-duty purposes, and creates a duplicative database that will be a costly and less effective way to monitor ammunition purchases,” Ken Corney, the president of the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), wrote in a letter to the citizens of California.
The police chiefs think Prop 63 goes too far and does little to protect public safety. They also think it might violate the rights of gun owners and would force departments to waste money on unnecessary bureaucracy.
The California Police Chiefs Association is not against all gun control, and it supported a bill (SB 1235) that was signed into law this summer that did some of what Proposition 63 would do. Corney noted that if Prop 63 passes, it would take a two-thirds vote by the legislature – a near impossible hurdle – to fix any problems. By contrast, a legislatively enacted bill requires only a simple majority to tweak.
Prop 63 also would make it a crime if someone fails to report a lost or stolen weapon. CPCA opposes that part of the proposal, too.
“Penalizing the failure to report lost and stolen firearms actually can deter individuals to report for fear of penalty, which has already been proven to be the case in many areas where local governments have enacted similar ordinances,” Corney wrote.
SB 1235, which is now law, contains “vital exemptions that limit the burden the law has on hunters, law enforcement, and other licensed professionals,” Corney wrote. “But Proposition 63 contains “numerous hurdles that will prove costly and burdensome to gun owners and law enforcement.”
The chiefs might be facing an uphill battle, as 60 percent of Californians supported Proposition 63 according to a Field Poll earlier this month.
Proposition 63 was championed by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who is planning to run for governor as a Democrat in 2018.
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