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proposition 63

Last November, Californians voted on a number of important pieces of legislation, many of which passed. But while many throughout the state have been focused on Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, there were a few other important measures that passed which gained far less attention. One such bill was Proposition 63, which banned the ownership of gun magazines that hold more than 10 ammunition rounds and requires background checks for buying ammunition.

By and large, California is a progressive state and, as such, has a reputation for being so. To be sure, coastal California are bastions of liberalism, rural parts of the state our quite the opposite. And as you can probably imagine, Prop. 63 did not receive much support in those necks of the woods.

July 1, 2017, marked the deadline for those owning (with very few exceptions) high-volume firearm magazines to dispose of them. Being caught with such magazines could carry jail-time, but there are some concerns that few California gun owners will comply.


Armed Resistance

With some 6 million legal gun owners across the state, it is probably safe to bet that not everyone is going to comply with a law that is not easy to enforce. It is not as if authorities are going to conduct property searches looking for such ammunition. Additionally, many gun owners take a “don’t tread on me” approach to their gun rights, so the likelihood of people driving down to their local police station to surrender their magazines is undoubtedly, slim.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko says that not a single gun owner in the county has surrendered one, The Sacramento Bee reports. And he has no intention of ordering his deputies to hunt for magazines that can hold over 10 rounds. “We’re not going to be knocking on anybody’s door looking for them,” Bosenko said. “We’re essentially making law-abiding citizens into criminals with this new law.”

For those gun owners who wish to abide by the law, you have a few options, including:

  • Moving them out of state.
  • Surrendering them into law enforcement.
  • Selling them to a licensed dealer
  • Destroying the magazines.


Does Magazine Size Matter

A supporter of Proposition 63, Ari Freilich (staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence), argues that high-volume magazines have been linked to both mass-shootings and those who wish to attack law enforcement. “They do not have legitimate self-defense value.”

On the other side, however, Chuck Michel, a gun-rights attorney in Long Beach, writes:

“The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death. Banning magazines over ten rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles.”

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Proposition 63

According to the Los Angeles Times, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction for enforcement of Proposition 63, on June 29, 2017. You can read the full article here.  We will continue to follow this story line.
If you have been charged with a crime involving a firearm, please contact Attorney Ronald G. Brower.

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