Prop 63 closes nonsensical loopholes in California’s otherwise sensible gun laws, making us all safer and assuring California continues to lead the country in gun safety.
We can be proud of the fact that California leads the nation in gun safety laws. But even so, there are numerous loopholes that leave all of us far too vulnerable to gun violence. Proposition 63, also known as the Safety for All Act, would close the following loopholes while safeguarding the ability of law-abiding, responsible Californians to own guns for self-defense, hunting and recreation.
#1 – No process for those who have been convicted of a felony to relinquish their guns when they become prohibited at the time of conviction Under current law, people who commit felonies and other serious crimes are prohibited from possessing firearms. Yet existing law provides no clear process for ensuring that those people relinquish their guns upon conviction. As a result, in 2014, the Department of Justice identified more than 17,000 people who possessed more than 34,000 guns illegally, including more than 1,400 assault weapons. We need to close this dangerous loophole by not only requiring that criminal offenders turn in their guns, but also making sure that they do so.
#2 – No prohibition against citizens possessing military-style, large capacity ammunition magazines California law prohibits the manufacture, importation and sale of military-style, large-capacity ammunition magazines, but does not prohibit the general public from possessing them. Prop 63 makes it illegal in California to possess the kind of military-style ammunition magazines that enable mass killings like those at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School; the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; Columbine High School; and the office building at 101 California Street in San Francisco.
#3 – No requirement that stolen ammunition and/or guns be reported to law enforcement We need to require, as Prop 63 does, that stores report the theft of ammunition to law enforcement within 48 hours. Prop 63 also requires individuals to report lost or stolen firearms.
#4 – Currently no background checks for persons purchasing ammunition Finally, we must require, as Prop 63 does, that individuals purchasing ammunition be subject to a background check before they are allowed to purchase the ammunition. We know that background checks work. In 2012, federal background checks blocked 192,043 sales of firearms to illegal purchasers and 82,000 attempted gun purchases by felons. While standing with others in silent protest of the Crossroads Gun Show at the Cow Palace, I have personally witnessed individuals leaving with quantities of ammunition that required them to use a dolly or luggage cart. I stood there wondering, asking myself and those with me, how anyone could possibly discharge all of that ammunition even if he went to the practice range every day.
Gun violence in our country has cost us greatly in innocent lives, bereft loved ones and traumatized communities. It has also cost us in much-needed public funds: $229 billion a year, to be exact, or $700 per citizen. In California alone, $83 million is spent on medical costs resulting from gun violence and $4.24 billion on lost productivity. When compared with these amounts, the projected cost of implementing Prop 63’s background checks and reporting (on individuals who are prohibited by law from possessing firearms) is utterly negligible.
By voting together for PROP 63 we can close the law’s nonsensical loopholes, so that California can continue to lead the country in gun safety.
Reverend Angela Brown, JD, is GLIDE’s Associate Pastor. Prior to joining GLIDE, Rev. Brown was the first woman to serve as the Senior Criminal Investigator for the San Francisco District Attorney. She is a retired Commander in the US Naval Reserves, having served in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and throughout naval bases in the US. In addition, she is a retired Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco. At the 2016 United Methodist Church General Conference, Rev. Brown was elected as a Second Clergy Alternate Justice to the UMC Judicial Council.