Not Just the White House: Gun Laws

In the days before the 2016 election HeadCount is running a new series titled “Not Just the White House,” a run down of ballot initiatives across the 50 states. This installment focuses on minimum wage increases and decreases. Previous installments were on marijuana initiatives, health care proposals and minimum wage legislation.

Gun Control is an intensely polarizing issue that will be affecting voters in California, Nevada, Washington and Maine. Are you a voter in one of these four lucky states? Do you find yourself perplexed and undecided on the issue? Tired of the vitriol and undecipherable screaming directed at you from both sides of the aisle? Or perhaps (wisely) interested in educating yourself on specifics of the ballot measures, then you my friend are in the right place.


California Proposition 63: The Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban Initiative is a proposed measure to regulate the purchase of guns and prohibit purchasing large-capacity ammunition magazines. The proposition would require specific permits for purchasing guns, completely prohibiting purchase to certain unqualified individuals while also allowing court-removals of the firearms already owned by those individuals. Additionally, the proposition would further restrict the purchase and ownership of large-capacity ammunition magazines to a complete ban. It would also make theft of a weapon a felony.


Maine Background Checks for Gun Sales Measure, Question 3, is a proposed measure to require any transfers between individuals who are not licensed gun dealers to meet at a licensed gun retailer for a background check on the transferee. Exceptions to this laws include transfers between family members during hunting or sport shooting and transfers during a time of emergency self-defense. The intended measure is intended create accountability during gun transactions and regulate the sale of guns against unqualified individuals.


Nevada Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative, Question 1, is an initiative to extend background checks during transfer of firearms to include those performed between unlicensed individuals. This initiative would require any transfer to be conducted through a licensed gun dealer who could charge a “reasonable fee” for running a background check. Exemptions would include transfers by law enforcement officials, transfers between family members as well as temporary transfers such as those while hunting, during public showcases and in the event of preventing death or injury. Violations would result in gross misdemeanor fines, prison sentences or both depending on a trial by jury.


Washington: Individual Gun Access Prevention by Court Order, Initiative 1491 is an initiative to allow courts to enact an “extreme risk protection order” banning possession and access of firearms for individuals seen as a potential danger to themselves or others. The protection order would require a petition by police, family members or household members who would be required to provide proof that an individual’s behavior could lead to future action that could endanger themselves or others. Such petitions would be filed under oath and if accepted last for one year with the option for renewal. This initiative would also include an “ex parte extreme risk order” option for individuals posing immediate danger. False information from petitioners would be considered a crime.