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Californians Vote in Favor of Ammunition Background Checks

California, like Nevada and Washington, toughens its gun control laws.

By Francie Diep


(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

After 12 months in which Californians both endured publicshootings and approved historic gun research and laws, voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 63, which, among other rules, requires ammunition-buyers to submit to a new background check process, and requires police officers to collect guns from newly convicted felons, who were already prohibited nationwide from owning firearms.

In a study published this year, a team of public-health researchers from the United States and Switzerland examined 25 types of state gun-control laws in America. They found only three were associated with fewer deaths from gunshots, one of which was background checks for ammunition buyers. So it seems the new vote should save some lives in California that hadn’t been protected before — if it weren’t for the fact that the state’s legislature passed a progressive package of gun-control laws this summer, requiring a different ammunition background check process. The question of which process will be implemented may wind up in court, the Los Angeles Times reports.

What about the collecting-firearms portion of Proposition 63? One study of felons who tried to buy guns but were denied suggests those denials kept some of them from committing violent crimes. So there might be something to a policy that would take guns out of the hands of convicted criminals.

Police groups oppose the law, however, saying it puts officers in danger, as Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, told the Los Angeles Times. The association supports paying trained state agents to do the job. Gun repossession is indeed a nerve-wracking duty, but the research doesn’t seem to exist on whether police officers could perform the task as well as state agents.

Voters in Nevada and Washington state also passed tougher gun control laws yesterday, while Maine voters rejected a measure that would have expanded background checks on firearms buyers.