The lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced a ballot initiative that would stiffen California's gun control laws if passed. The initiative would ban the ownership of large-capacity ammunition magazines and require a background check for people purchasing ammunition. Newsom wants the initiative to be voted on during the November 2016 presidential election.

Initiative Announced at a San Francisco Mass Shooting Site

Newsom unveiled the initiative at a site where eight people were shot and killed in a mass shooting in San Francisco in 1993. He said that some of the measure's elements could not be passed by the state's legislature, but California voters would largely support them.

Newsom made several statements against the NRA, saying that the gun advocacy and lobbying group might be able to intimidate politicians not to pass gun control laws, but it cannot intimidate the people. "That's why we're bringing this directly to the public," Newsom said.

If passed into law, the political initiative would also mandate that gun owners report their lost or stolen firearms to police, and increase the amount of data shared by federal and state governments in their criminal background check systems. The law would also give police more ability to take away firearms from convicted felons who cannot legally possess them.

Funds for Campaign Still Need to Be Raised

In order to be successful with the ballot initiative, Newsom needs 366,000 signatures from registered voters in support of putting the measure on the ballot. This process is estimated to cost approximately $2 million in donated funds, which Newsom is already beginning to collect. Funds will also need to be generated to fight back opposition expected from gun advocate groups, like the NRA.

The NRA has already announced that Newsom's initiative would not improve public safety and it was merely an attempt to take away gun ownership rights from Americans. NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter said, "California illustrates the true gun control agenda, which is the ultimate confiscation and banning of firearms."

What do you think about the second amendment issue of gun control in light of the numerous mass shootings in our country? Will stiffening gun control laws help?