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By Matt Cortina and Victor Carno
As part of our ongoing coverage of the 2016 election, San Clemente Times selected several ballot propositions that all California voters will face in November to dissect. This week, we’re taking a look at Prop. 63, which would put regulations on ammunition and gun sales, and Propositions 65 and 67, which are competing to determine what to do with money generated by the state’s pending ban on plastic bags.
Next week, we’ll breakdown Prop. 62, which would repeal the death penalty in California, and Prop. 64, which would legalize marijuana.
For information on all the ballot propositions, or on any of this year’s local or state races, head to wwww.sanclementetimes.com.
Proposition 63: Gun, Ammunition Regulations
California Prop. 63 proposes background checks for ammunition purchases and will enact a ban on all large-capacity ammunition magazines in the state. There are four main components to grasp in this lengthy proposition, which include guidelines to buying and selling ammunitions, ammunitions theft, removal of all magazines over ten rounds and the court removal of firearms.
In regards to buying and selling ammunition, the initiative is designed to require background checks and Department of Justice authorization in order to purchase any ammunition by way of charging customers up to 50 dollars for a permit. Dealers would also need to apply for a one-year license in order to sell ammunition. In addition, starting in July 2018, legislation prohibits California residents from purchasing out-of-state ammunition without first having the ammunition brought to a licensed dealer. This initiative is seeking to expedite the process by moving the starting date to January 2018.
The Newsom Ballot Measure Committee, which has contributed the most money on either side of the issue, says these background checks and purchase tracking is what is needed to keep citizens safe.
“More than 32,000 Americans lose their lives to gun violence each year,” the group wrote. “There have been 150 school shootings since Sandy Hook. Yet the NRA has obstructed even the most basic efforts to curb gun violence. But in California, we can defeat the NRA in 2016 by going straight to voters through an historic ballot initiative.”
What seems to be stirring the most controversy about this proposition is the banning of all large-capacity magazines. In 2000, California put a ban on all magazines over ten rounds, with exception made for those who had purchased their magazines before this legislation was enacted. Prop. 63, however, would eliminate this exception and ban all large-capacity magazines from any year.
“These are legally purchased and have been in possession of law-abiding citizens for more than sixteen years,” said Sean Anthis, a San Clemente gun owner and Marine Corps veteran. “Under this law, (a person) would have to surrender magazines for a World War II-era rifle … to the state of California. This law only affects law-abiding citizens as criminals will continue to illegally possess and obtain ‘large capacity’ magazines with complete disregard for the law.”
The last two prongs of this initiative outlines theft of ammunitions and the court removal of firearms. Dealers would have to report a missing gun or ammunitions within two days, whereas individuals would have five days to do so. Also, the theft of a gun would now be considered a felony and punishable up to three years of prison time. Those who are prohibited by law from having a firearm will now be informed by courts that they must sell, store or turn in their gun. Probation officers will be required to report on what a prohibited individual does with their firearm. —Victor Carno
For Prop. 63
California Democratic Party, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, and several law enforcement officials.
Against Prop. 63
California Republican Party, National Rifle Association, California Police Chiefs Association.
Major Contributors for Prop. 63 (as of Oct. 16)
Newsom Ballot Measure Committee: $4,082,017.13
California Democratic Party: $1,137,028
Major Contributors against Prop. 63 (as of Oct. 16)
Coalition for Civil Liberties (California Rifle & Pistol Association): $480,973.67
Stop Prop 63 (Firearms Policy Coalition): $260,304.73
National Rifle Association: $95,000
Propositions 65 and 67: Banning Plastic Bags
It may seem like a ban on plastic bags is a minor, or else tedious, bit of legislation that California voters will decide in November whether or not to uphold. However, Propositions 65 and 67 have the ability to make California the first state to enact a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and other stores.
At the very least, the fact that there are two propositions dedicated to plastic bag bans requires a bit more explanation.
Put simply, Propositions 65 and 67 are competing ballot measures, which would each ratify a previous state senate bill to ban grocery stores and pharmacies from providing single-use plastic bags to its customers. Smaller grocers and liquor stores would be required to do so the following year. Stores would be able to charge .10 cents per reusable, compostable bag.
However, the two propositions differ in where the money is allocated. If Prop. 67 passes, revenue from the .10-cent sales of bags would go back to the stores to mitigate costs incurred from complying with the new rules. It would also provide the plastic bag manufacturers about $2 million to retain jobs and work toward creating multi-use plastic bags that would comply with what would be the state’s new regulations.
If Prop. 65 passes, a measure whose petition drive was funded by the industry group, American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)—essentially a conglomeration of major plastic bag producers—the money would go to a dedicated environmental fund, instead of back to the grocery stores.
APBA claims the funds, to be pooled in the “Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund,” would be distributed as grants for wildlife restoration programs, litter removal, clean water initiatives and more. However, environmental groups, including Surfrider, claim Prop. 65’s supposed environmental fund is an effort to delay the ultimate phase-out of plastic bags. Groups claim the environmental fund won’t generate enough money to have any significant environmental benefit.
“Prop. 65 is sponsored by out-of-state plastic companies from South Carolina and Texas. They don’t care about California’s environment, they just want to confuse voters and distract from the real issue: the need to phase out plastic grocery bags,” wrote Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste in the official ballot opposition.
Yes on 65, funded by the APBA, says the original senate bill that banned single-use plastic bags wasn’t any less influenced by outside interests than their measure. They claim the grocery stores stand to gain $300 million in profit by enacting a .10-cent bag fee.
If they both pass, the proposition with the greater number of votes would take effect. If they both fail, the single-use ban on plastic bags would not go into effect. You may be asking yourself: would that be a good thing?
Consider that more than 13 million plastic bags are used in California every year, and that many don’t fully degrade. And it costs about half a billion dollars annually to clean up plastic bags from the state’s waterways and natural areas, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And not to teach an elementary school lecture on the importance of recycling, but plastic bags do massive damage to the environment, harming species and habitats, and fouling the state’s shores.
According to the state, less than 3 percent are recycled. More than 150 California cities and towns have already adopted single-use bag ban ordinances
So is a statewide ban on these bags the way to fix the problem? Is it better to put that money in an environmental fund or send it back to grocers? Californians will decide. —Matt Cortina
For Prop. 65:
American Progressive Bag Alliance (a plastic bag industry group), California Republican Party
For Prop. 67:
California Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Patagonia, dozens of environmental groups
Major Contributors for Prop. 67 (as of Oct. 16)
Environment California: $1,718,020.96
Save the Bay Action Fund PAC: $910,524.49
Yes on 67 (Conglomeration of environmental groups, grocery stores and reusable bag makers): $694,062.81
Californians Against Waste: $63,967.42
Major Contributors for Prop. 65 (as of Oct. 16):
American Progressive Bag Alliance: $6,144,383.26