- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Democrat-backed measure that would give California the nation’s toughest restrictions on ammunition and allow the seizure of magazines exceeding 10 rounds has qualified for the state ballot.

The California Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that the Safety for All initiative, championed by Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, had gathered the petition signatures necessary for a slot on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“Enough massacres, death, tears, and hate – it’s time to take action and save lives,” Mr. Newsom said in the Sacramento Bee. “The Safety for All initiative gives California voters the opportunity to keep guns and ammo out of the hands of violent, dangerous, hateful people.”

The initiative would prohibit the possession of “large-capacity ammunition magazines”—those with more than 10 rounds—and require owners to dispose of them by returning them to firearms dealers, destroying them or moving them out of the state.

The measure would also require background checks for ammunition purchases; require ammunition sales to be conducted through licensed vendors, and require those purchases to be reported to the Justice Department. Gun owners would be mandated to report lost or stolen firearms.

Supporters of the measure argue that it would reduce gun-related crime and violence. A television ad in favor of the initiative referred to the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, which resulted in 49 killed at a popular gay nightclub.

Meanwhile, foes describe the proposal as a way to disarm law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to reduce the likelihood of terrorism or Orlando-style massacres.

Gavin Newsom’s political maneuver will be defeated because it does nothing to stop the next ISIS-inspired attack,” said Chuck Michel, co-chair for the Coalition for Civil Liberties, in a Thursday statement. “We need politicians who aren’t manipulators but who thoughtfully look for ways to truly make us safer.”

The measure would make California the only state with background checks on “point-of-sale purchases of ammunition,” Mr. Newsom says, but the National Rifle Association has warned that the initiative would result in the confiscation of “hundreds of thousands of lawfully possessed magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.”

Ironically, the measure is also meeting some resistance from Democratic state legislators, who are moving to pass a sweeping package of gun-control measures that would in some cases replicate proposed ballot initiative’s mandates.

Some analysts have warned that the measure could backfire on the party by juicing voter turnout among gun owners, who would then presumably cast ballots for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. A defeat at the ballot box could also chill legislative efforts to restrict firearms and ammunition.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat, has urged Mr. Newsom to shut down the campaign, warning that it could get lost on the crowded November ballot, which is expected to contain as many as 18 initiatives.

Mr. Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, has until June 30 to pull the measure from the ballot.

The proposal has been endorsed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, but faces opposition from the California Sheriffs Association, which has warned that the initiative would create “a new class of criminals.”

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