We finally have a new president after an arduous election season, and we also have the results of votes on several gun control measures around the country.
According to Reuters, a measure requiring universal background checks for private firearms sales passed in Nevada, while a similar ballot initiative was narrowly defeated in Maine.
The measure in Nevada was approved by 50.5 percent to 49.6, percent while Maine’s bill was defeated 51 percent to 48.9 percent. Both initiatives were backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, which, along with other anti-gun groups, backed them with millions of dollars in donations.
From the story: “The votes were seen as a crucial test of the gun safety campaign’s decision to adopt a state-by-state strategy after efforts to pass legislation failed in Congress.”
Pro-gun-control groups did have a few victories in other states as well. In Washington, residents voted to approve a measure giving judges the power to keep individuals from possessing firearms if they are deemed to be a threat of some kind.
In California, the hotly debated Proposition 63 passed easily. It outlaws the possession of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, requires background checks and permits for residents buying ammunition as well as a license to sell ammunition, and penalizes individuals for not immediately reporting a lost or stolen firearms.
It’s safe to say that most California shooters will be making gun-related purchases out of state.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proposed Prop 63, said the vote was “historic progress to reduce gun violence.”
Opponents of the measure said the new laws will merely impose a burden on law-abiding gun owners, but that they won’t impact criminals, who already obtain firearms and ammunition through black markets and illegal street sales.
Some claimed Newsom was using the ballot measure and riding on anti-gun sentiment in California following the shooting in San Bernardino a year ago to raise his profile ahead of a bid for governor in 2018, according to this story from the LA Times.
“Prop 63 is another attempt by Newsom and his 1%, elitist friends to attack law-abiding Californians,” said Craig DeLuz, a spokesperson for the Stop Prop 63 Committee, in the story. “They want to replace the ‘War on Drugs’ with ‘The War on law-abiding gun owners’ so they can continue locking up young black and Latino men.”