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Three states OK stricter gun laws in Election Day referenda

Guns are heaped in a pile during the destruction of approximately 3,400 guns and other weapons at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's annual gun melt in Rancho Cucamonga, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Three states voted Tuesday to expand gun control measures, while one defeated an attempt to restrict Second Amendment rights.

California, Washington and Nevada all approved stricter gun laws, from banning certain ammunition sales to requiring background checks on private gun sales. Maine shot down an attempt to require background checks on private purchases.

The California measure makes it illegal to possess ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. It also requires background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition and lays out a process by which convicted felons' firearms are seized.

"It was a repudiation of the National Rifle Assn. and the gun lobby. They lost badly," California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told the Los Angeles Times. "It’s a very important initiative because I think it’s the beginning of a national debate on relinquishment and ammunition background checks that will I think will have a very significant impact on reducing gun violence in this country.”

In Washington, voters approved a measure that allows police and family to petition a judge to restrict gun ownership of people thought to be a danger to themselves or to others, the Seattle Times reported.

Nevada voters OK'd expanding background checks for all private gun sales and transfers.

Joe Duffy, who headed the campaign in support of Nevada's proposed new gun laws told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the newly approved law is a "common-sense measure that can save lives while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners."

Maine voters rejected a measure similar to the one in Nevada. Gun rights advocates celebrated their victory, calling it a "great night for the people of Maine."

“With their freedoms in question and liberties at stake, they embraced the rights recognized in our constitution and said no to the poorly written, unenforceable mandates of the Question 3 ballot initiative," Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Portland Press Herald.

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