The Real Story Behind Senate President’s Endorsement of Prop. 63

kevin de leon 2When Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon endorsed Proposition 63 last week, he didn’t mention the endorsement was conditional.

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This summer, the Los Angeles Democrat ushered through the Legislature a measure that substantially amends in advance the ballot measure’s ammo regulation provisions — a move a Prop. 63 spokesman at the time called “sickeningly cynical.”

For about a year now, de Leon has been in a political feud with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Prop. 63’s primary proponent. The two fought over who had better ideas for gun and ammo control and what lawmaking avenue was more appropriate: the Legislature or the Ballot Box. And at least for now, de Leon won.

None of this was mentioned in the endorsement.

“Earlier this year, our Legislature passed the most sweeping and important package of gun safety laws in the nation, increasing nationwide momentum and grass-roots outcries for common-sense safeguards against gun violence,” de Leon wrote in a statement. “I endorse Proposition 63 because we must send a powerful and united message to the national Gun Lobby that California will not capitulate to political bullying or compromise the public safety.”

Critics cry foul

Republicans in the Assembly tried to fight de Leon’s bill as it moved through the Legislature, arguing on procedural grounds, and were easily overruled. In an interview this week, Assemblyman James Gallagher, an attorney by trade, called de Leon’s actions “ridiculous,” adding the Los Angeles Democrat is “trying to change what might be the will of the voters.”

“The voters are being asked to vote on something right now that, if passed, [the Legislature is] going to change the language,” said Gallagher, a Nicolaus Republican.

Gallagher opposes both Prop. 63 and the de Leon bill, but said the procedure matters: “Is that the kind of precedent that we want to set?”

Legal analysis

But, in fact, it may be legal.

“I don’t think I have seen this before, but it looks legit to me,” said Frederic Woocher, an elections law specialist at the Los Angeles law firm Strumwasser and Woocher, who has no connection with either the ballot measure or the legislation.

Prop. 63 does allow for legislative amendments, as long as they “further the purposes” of the measure and pass by at least 55 percent. According to Woocher, since the Legislature has the power to amend the measure, and since the legislation won’t go into effect until after Prop. 63 would pass, this is akin to passing the legislation next year — like postdating a check.

“Under this admittedly unusual circumstance, I believe it would constitute a valid amendment to Prop. 63 under the initiative’s provisions allowing for amendments (again, this assumes that it ‘furthers the purposes’ of the initiative),” Woocher said.

But is it transparent?

Where Gallagher and Woocher disagree most though, is whether the Legislature’s move is transparent. Gallagher said that the voter-fatigue inducing, 17-measure ballot and accompanying voter guide already make the process cumbersome on voters — adding pending legislative amendments makes matters worse.

“It’s bad enough that you have this huge voter pamphlet; let alone to have to go ‘Oh, well, also the Legislature may have passed a bill that’s going to change this language,’” Gallagher said.

But Woocher argued that because the Legislature took action prior to the November election, and the Legislative Analyst’s Office was able to consider the amendments in its analysis, interested voters will have the opportunity to become fully versed.

“The amendments may not be reflected in the title and summary per se … but I think it is not unreasonable to expect interested voters to review the entire Voters’ Pamphlet, which includes the Leg Analyst’s more in-depth and explanatory analysis of the expected impacts of the measure’s passage,” Woocher said.

A spokesman for Kevin de Leon did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

This piece was originally published by


  1. Senate President Pro Temper Kevin de Leon is one of the most arrogant and corrupt liberal demo creeps in stinkramento! Anything he is involved with you know is NOT for citizen’s benefits! He will always side with those who will line his pockets with silver!! VOTE NO on Prop 63! One more erosion of our constitutional rights via the out of control unstoppable, democrat oligarchy in stinkramento!! When “things” start to happen and they most certainly will, we will point the radical demonstrators to the liberal democrat politican’s houses FIRST!!

  2. FLFF, you are 100% correct. This State has to be split up with the f—–g liberals in one half and the normal people in the other. It is getting close to “pitchforks and torches” time.

    • For all the previously mentioned reasons in differant articles the state won’t be split up, it still will not happen. The XX might as well be read,” D.O.D”

  3. De Leon is a total disgrace to this state and those that continually elect him are for sure traitors of the country. I agree with Anziani, let’s split this state, in fact better yet the country and I don’t care which direction, horizontally, vertically or diagonally…only problem is we might have to build a wall to keep them out because they will try to enter the freedom half of the country.

  4. The proper response is to Vote NO!

  5. Rottweiler says

    Progressives know what is best for you. Just ask Hillary, Bill and Chelsea with Papa Soros pulling their strings willingly. Yikes we are in for a rough ride. Buckle up and lock and load!

  6. Multiple reasons to vote for Trump and get Constitutional Justices on the Supreme Court, because that’s where these illegal ‘laws’ are heading.

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