With 300 million firearms in circulation and calls for more restrictions hitting a wall, Democrats and gun control advocates from California to Virginia are increasingly turning to other proposals such as restricting ammunition and magazine rounds and narrowing the ability to wield weapons.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2018, released a statewide ballot campaign Thursday to require background checks for ammunition purchases.

“Why is it that we have background checks for guns but not background checks for ammunition? It makes no sense,” Mr. Newsom said at his press conference in San Francisco.

“California can set the tone for the rest of the nation with these common-sense public safety provisions,” he said. “We will lead the nation. We’ll be the only state in America that has background checks on point-of-sale purchases of ammunition.”

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