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Gavin Newsom says California gun-control bid headed for fall ballot

Gavin Newsom: "After San Bernardino... people are fed up with the NRA"

"After San Bernardino... People are fed up with the NRA," Gavin Newsom said during a meeting with The Sacramento Bee editorial board in February 2016.
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"After San Bernardino... People are fed up with the NRA," Gavin Newsom said during a meeting with The Sacramento Bee editorial board in February 2016.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the architect of an omnibus gun-control initiative to require background checks for ammunition, said Thursday that the campaign has collected enough signatures to qualify for the fall ballot.

Newsom said he plans to submit roughly 600,000 signatures for his “Safety for All,” initiative on Friday, far more than the required 365,000.

“I feel resolved to move forward. The voters I think are ahead of a lot of elected officials of all political stripes,” Newsom said of taking the issue to the ballot. “We have a chance to do something that’s permanent, that can’t be watered down, and send a very potent and powerful message to the National Rifle Association that we think will resonate across the country.”

California’s gun push comes amid an expected renewed effort by President Barack Obama to seek so-called smart gun technology as soon as Friday. Newsom said he was inspired to act by Obama’s speech following the massacre at an Oregon community college last fall.

“It’s all the more reason why this is our moment,” Newsom said of Obama’s upcoming actions.

Politicians like Newsom need to concentrate on stopping criminals and terrorists, not law-abiding citizens exercising their rights.

Chuck Michel, co-chairman of the Coalition for Civil Liberties

In addition to the background checks, Newsom’s measure would require ammunition sellers to be licensed like firearms dealers and establish a process to seize guns from people prohibited from owning them because of their criminal records. It also would mandate lost or stolen guns be reported to law enforcement and require the state Justice Department to notify federal authorities when someone is added to the database of prohibited firearm owners.

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed variations of some of the provisions. Lawmakers this year are considering bills that would enact versions of Newsom’s plan.

Gun-rights groups have pledged a spirited opposition campaign.

“Politicians like Newsom need to concentrate on stopping criminals and terrorists, not law-abiding citizens exercising their rights,” said Chuck Michel, co-chairman of the Coalition for Civil Liberties.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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