Hot Topics: Initiatives on Guns and Gay Marriage

It’s worth highlighting the following two initiatives, as they deal more with social issues and could provoke passionate debate from all sides if either qualifies for the ballot.

First up is a proposal that would make it easier to carry a concealed weapon in the state of California, which is a hot-button issue. The listed proponent is David John Clark. Supporters must collect signatures of 504,760 registered voters – the number equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by May 14, 2012.

The official ballot title and summary are as follows:

CONCEALED FIREARMS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Eliminates good cause and good moral character requirements for license to carry concealed firearms. Compels sheriffs and police chiefs to issue licenses to carry concealed firearms to any eligible applicant with no history of mental illness, substance abuse, or domestic violence, who is not currently under criminal investigation or indictment or currently subject of restraining order. Eliminates sheriffs’ and police chiefs’ option to require applicants complete up to 24 hours of firearms training, and prohibits them from imposing reasonable restrictions or conditions when issuing the firearms license. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state and local expenditures of an unknown amount to process applications for concealed firearms licenses, which would be funded with revenues collected from license application fees.

Next up is a proposal that touches on Proposition 8, as it would overturn the results of that measure and allow same-sex couples to marry. The signature of 807,615 registered voters must be collected for qualification.

The official ballot title and summary:

REINSTATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Repeals the current provision in California’s Constitution that states only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Provides that marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Clarifies that the initiative shall not be interpreted to require any priest, minister, pastor, rabbi, or other person to perform a marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Over the long run, this measure would likely have little fiscal impact on state and local governments.

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