On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 63. Proposition 63 (full text here) consists of a number of measures aimed at strengthening California’s already tough gun control laws by outlawing the possession of large capacity ammunition magazines, as well as requiring background checks to purchase ammunition, among other provisions. Here’s a look at the major provisions covered under Proposition 63.
- Ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Proposition 63 generally prohibits the possession by private citizens of large-capacity ammunition magazines (more than 10-round capacity) after July 1, 2017. Anyone in California who manufacturers, sells, gives, lends, buys or receives a large-capacity magazine after that date faces punishment by imprisonment of up to one year in jail. In addition, persons in possession of large-capacity magazines after July 1, 2017 will be guilty of either an infraction with a fine of up to $100, or a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $100, imprisonment of up to one year in jail, or both. Exceptions to the ban are made for some individuals, such as law enforcement officers, government agencies, special weapons permit holders, and armored vehicle businesses, to name a few.
Anyone currently in possession of a large-capacity magazine may get rid of their magazine by selling it to a licensed firearms dealer, surrendering it to a law enforcement agency, or otherwise removing it from the state. Just be sure to do so before July 1, 2017.
- Sale and purchase of ammunition.
Beginning on January 1, 2019, anyone who wishes to purchase ammunition in the state must first pass a background check and obtain authorization by the California Department of Justice. The purchaser’s name will then be added to a centralized list of authorized ammunition purchasers. When purchasing ammunition, the buyer must present verified ID to the ammunition vendor (see below), who then compares the purchaser’s authorization number to the list. If the individual is not on the list, the vendor must deny the sale.
Beginning on January 1, 2018, all sales or transfers of ammunition must be made through a properly licensed ammunition vendor. Anyone selling or otherwise transferring possession of ammunition without proper license, or selling or otherwise transferring possession of ammunition to another person who is known (or should reasonably be known) to be without authorization to possess ammunition, will be subject to imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $1000, or both.
- Reporting of lost or stolen firearms and ammunition.
Beginning on July 1, 2017, individuals are required to report the loss or theft of a firearm to local law enforcement within five days of the loss or theft, or within five days from the time the individual should have reasonably known of the loss or theft. Violation of this provision: Fine of up to $100 (first violation); fine of up to $1000 (second violation); imprisonment of up to one year, or fine of up to $1000, or both (third and subsequent violations).
Ammunition vendors must report the loss or theft of ammunition to law enforcement within 48 hours of the loss or theft.
- Theft of firearms.
Any person convicted of the theft of a firearm is prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years from the date of his or her conviction. Violation of this provision is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1000, or both.
- Securing firearms from prohibited persons.
Proposition 63 establishes a clear system for the confiscation of firearms from those individuals who are prohibited by law from possessing firearms. Under Proposition 63, effective immediately, anyone subject to a gun violence restraining order must relinquish to law enforcement any and all firearms and/or ammunition in his or her possession. Anyone otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition must relinquish to law enforcement any and all firearms and/or ammunition no later than January 1, 2018. If a court finds probable cause to believe that an individual has failed to relinquish his or her firearms or ammunition under these provisions, the court shall order the search and removal of such firearms and/or ammunition.
Proposition 63 covers a lot of important ground, and violation of its provisions can result in serious legal consequences. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Proposition 63, or any other matters concerning California’s gun laws, please feel free to give us a call or schedule an appointment on this web site.