California Sheriffs Oppose Newsom's Ammo Control Bill

“People are fed up with the NRA,” Gavin Newsom says during a meeting with The Sacramento Bee editorial board in February 2016. Video courtesy Hector Amezcua, The Sacramento Bee


Gavin Newsom isn’t very bright, but what he lacks in common sense, he sure makes up for in smugness.

The California Lieutenant Governor’s “Safety for All Act of 2016” ammo-control measure taking aim at the fall ballot would require people to pass background checks to buy ammunition, and all ammunition sales are required to be made through licensed vendors. Ammunition sales would also need to be reported to the Department of Justice.

And he’s smugly predicting it will not only hit the ballot, but that it’ll pass into law.

In response, the California State Sheriffs’ Association has sent a letter blasting Newsom’s initiative and highlighting the effects such a measure would have on law-abiding gun owners in the state, saying in part:

California currently has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet gun violence caused by criminals, gang members, and those prohibited from purchasing guns such as the mentally ill continues. California’s Sheriffs are supportive of efforts to enforce the numerous laws already on the books against those who would use them against our citizens. We are supportive of domestic violence restraining orders, the existing background checks and waiting periods for purchase of firearms.

Unfortunately, this measure would do little to prevent the criminal element from acquiring guns and ammunition via the black market or through theft. Instead, it would place additional restrictions on law abiding citizens who wish to purchase ammunition for sporting or hunting use, retain guns and magazines that are currently legal for them to possess, and pass historical or family heirloom guns down to their next generation. Effectively, this measure will create a new class of criminals out of those that already comply with common sense practices that now exist.


The letter was signed by Martin Ryan, California State Sheriffs’ Association President and Amador County Sheriff, and Gregory J. Ahern, Alameda County Sheriff and Chair of the CSSA Political Action Committee.

Newsom’s proposal, which was crafted with help from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, still needs 366,000 signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot.

This isn’t the first criticism Newsom’s bill has received, the California Rifle & Pistol Association has called the measure “the biggest threat to gun rights in California in more than three decades”. The group’s Coalition for Civil Liberties includes law enforcement officials, prosecutors and police officers; advocates for LGBT, Jewish and women’s rights; gun owners; small businesses; parents and victims advocacy groups; and individuals who believe in the right to keep and bear arms for self defense and the protection of others.

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