While praising California’s new gun restriction policies, Governor Gavin Newsom supported new legislation that would require residents to provide Real IDs for any ammunition purchases beginning July 1, 2019. However, California’s Department of Justice subsequently contradicted Newsom in an attempt to clarify, stating that “Real ID [was not a] requirement of new firearms and ammunition regulations taking effect July 1.”
The Department of Justice claimed that regular California driver’s license IDs would be sufficient for any ammunition purposes. Real IDs and excess documents were only required for those with “federal limits,” such as illegal immigrants. This lack of communication within the state’s governing body has left many California gun owners confused and frustrated. Citizens continue to struggle to navigate new policies due to a lack of information, and in this case, even misinformation.
The 2016 gun control measure, Proposition 63, was set to require Real IDs and force Californians to submit to background tests for ammunition purchases. Even gun rights advocacy groups such as the California Rifle and Pistol Association began warning members of the new requirements for gun-related purchases.
The situation became especially confusing with the statements released by California’s Department of Justice, which undercut Governor Newsom and other legislative initiatives, including Proposition 63. Besides the lack of communication putting gun owners in a precarious position, most Californians do not have a Real ID yet and getting one would require an exhaustive trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Law-abiding gun owners have been left puzzled. One Los Angeles resident who hunts for recreational purposes felt that “another layer of complexity” had been added, not because of new laws regarding gun ownership, but rather the execution and implementation of these laws. Some residents felt so helpless that they resorted to personally contacting state and local politicians to try to understand their limitations.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson sought clarification from Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, but remained uncertain about the new conditions. Patterson expressed his frustrations, explaining that people are getting denied guns not because of failed background checks, but because the system has become so inefficient. Others have suggested that gun owners need clear checklists provided to them regarding the new restrictions.
Even during Newsom’s press conference regarding the new changes, he dodged multiple questions and deferred them to his “attorney general” because even Newsom himself was not familiar with the “legal framework.” It seems that even the governor himself was dubious about the legal restrictions of Proposition 63.
If the leaders of this new bill are continuing to contradict each other, it only goes to show the lack of leadership that has left thousands of citizens in the dark. Responsible gun owners need to be made aware of state action taken against their right to bear arms, and the current political leaders have failed to do so.