New California gun laws taking effect Jan. 1, 2018

“Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced several new gun laws set to take effect Jan. 1, several of which were a result of Prop. 63, which Newsom co-authored.

Prop. 63, which about 63 percent of California voters approved, has been, thus far, successfully challenged in the court, pending an appeal from the state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

A court granted a preliminary injunction banning the state from enforcing Section 32310(c), which was designed to make the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines an infraction or misdemeanor; and 32310(d), which required owners of large-capacity magazines one of three options: remove the large-capacity magazine from the state; sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer; or surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.

L.A. County voters supported the measure by a vote of 2,337,292 to 910,775; Santa Clarita’s 38th Assembly District supported the measure 111,448-89,582; and the city of Santa Clarita supported the measure by a margin of 45,143-39,429, according to the Secretary of State.

In addition to the controversial ammunition bans, California also created a procedure for criminals to relinquish their firearms after a conviction, created additional regulations for ammunitions sales and added to regulations for gun dealers regarding their sales.

Criminal Relinquishment of Firearms:

Beginning on January 1, 2018, Proposition 63 introduces and implements a clear, mandatory, and enforceable process for criminal offenders to give up their firearms upon their conviction.

Until now, a major gap in California law is that the state has no mechanism to ensure that individuals who have been convicted of a serious criminal offense —including domestic violence crimes— actually turn over possession of their firearms upon conviction.

Thousands of such individuals illegally retain possession of firearms every year, according to the California Department of Justice (DOJ).

More than 7,700 armed prohibited persons (“APPS”) were added to this database in 2014, of which at least 42 percent—more than 3,200 people—were individuals who illegally retained firearms after a new criminal conviction.

Instead of implementing a standard, enforceable process that proactively ensures prohibited offenders give up their firearms prior to sentencing in a criminal case, California currently requires teams of law enforcement officers to go door-to-door to recover convicted criminals’ weapons.

This process imposes an extraordinary manpower and financial burden on law enforcement, and in many cases proves too little too late to prevent prohibited offenders from using firearms to perpetrate violence in California.

Proposition 63, beginning on January 1, 2018, implements a clear, mandatory, and enforceable process for the relinquishment of firearms by prohibited criminal offenders. It provides by far the most detailed, comprehensive, and enforceable state law anywhere in the country to proactively ensure that prohibited criminal offenders comply with existing law and relinquish their firearms after conviction.

Defendants convicted of firearm-prohibiting crimes, such as felonies, or misdemeanors involving violence, domestic abuse, or illegal weapon use, must provide proof that they sold or transferred their firearms within specified time periods after conviction. Probation officers and courts must verify that the defendant complied with this requirement before final disposition of the defendant’s case and shall take further enforcement action to recover firearms from offenders who fail to do so.


Beginning on January 1, 2018, Proposition 63, ammunition sales must be conducted by or processed through licensed vendors. It will serve to prevent certain convicted criminals from purchasing ammunition once the new law for background checks for ammunition sales come online in July 2019.

Sales of ammunition by unlicensed individuals must be processed through a licensed ammunition vendor, in a manner similar to private party firearms transactions, and ammunition obtained over the Internet or from out of state must be initially shipped to a licensed ammunition vendor for physical delivery to the purchaser pursuant to a background check.

It means that, beginning January 1, 2018, online or catalogue ammunition purchases will need to be shipped to a licensed vendor for transaction, instead of having ammunition directly to the home. It expands throughout California similar local ordinances prohibiting direct mail of ammunition, already in place in some California cities.

The license requirements apply to individuals who sell more than 500 rounds of ammunition in any month. Those vendors must obtain an ammunition vendor license and conduct ammunition sales only at specified business locations. It means gun dealers must obtain a DOJ certificate of eligibility from employees who handle ammunition, verifying that they passed a background check.”

by Perry Smith

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