Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks gun control, marijuana, Trump and homelessness

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom stopped by our KTVU studios on Wednesday for a one-on-one interview.

He's now running for Governor. He's been outspoken on controversial issues including same sex marriage, gun control, and homelessness.

In our Question of the Day we solicited questions from viewers on Facebook and Twitter - we wanted to know what viewers wanted to ask the lt. governor.

We spoke with Newsom about his new reform initiative to increase gun control, the state initiative he's spearheading to legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, the presidential election and homelessness.

Gun Control

Newsom’s ballot initiative has enough signatures to be on the ballot in November and ammunition is a big component. Prop 63 aims to change the gun laws. Newsom says, "We make the argument that we should treat ammunition like we do guns. It's an interesting debate we're having about background checks on guns and that's a raging debate. Even though it really shouldn't be because 80-90% of people support those background checks. But a gun in and of itself has never killed anybody unless it's used as a blunt instrument. It's the gun and the ammunition and it's an interesting fact in California you can buy ammunition anywhere. There's no licensing requirements. Daycare centers can sell unlimited rounds of ammunition. There's no licensing requirements to where it can be sold or who sells them. So we want to create a regulatory framework that operates precisely like the current regulations for guns."

He also spoke on the issue of stolen guns being used in crimes. He wants to join other states that have lost and stolen gun provisions, which makes gun owners more responsible not more accountable, according to numerous studies. Other provisions include a ban on large capacity magazines. He says the most significant piece is a relinquishment requirement. "Tens of thousands of guns are in the hands of convicted felons today. That's because we have a backlog cause there's not protocol to get the guns away from those felons that have been convicted. We would have the first relinquishment procedure in America - we think it's a game changer."


We asked Newsom about his answer for homeless issues. He said he's most passionate and frustrated about issues surrounding homelessness, "We have failed as a society." He says the answer is housing and services. "There's no one answer to homelessness because everyone's background requires a unique approach. We don't know one size fits all.... at the end of the day it's housing and services to address the reason why people are on the streets in the first place." He says mental health and drug addictions, physical ailments, vocational issues all play a role.

Donald Trump

When asked about the presidential election and Donald Trump, Newsom referred to something Bill Clinton had said in the past. "He said given the choice, the American people always support strong and wrong vs. weak and right. And I think it's a way of explaining the power dominance aggressiveness, assertiveness that comes out of Donald Trump. That sells for a lot of folks. So the challenge for the Clinton campaign is to be strong and right not strong and wrong." Newsom adds Trump seems to be graded on the curve and has a different set of standards as to what he says and how he conducts himself. "That said, I think the gig is up. The reality is the last couple of days, the last few days, he's really shown himself to be completely bankrupt in terms of values and ideology and his attacks are now becoming so problematic, even within his own party."


Newsom is a proponent of legalizing marijuana in California. We asked him what he says about teen usage. "One of the problems with the debate is there is a lot of miss-information out there. And I want to make clear, I'm not pro-marijuana - I'm just anti-prohibition... I don't support the status-quo." He says by legalizing marijuana we can get drug dealers off the street and the "cartel out of our backyard. And we can rationalize this." Newsom adds teenage use has gone slightly down in Colorado since marijuana was legalized. 


Watch the full interview below - or mobile app users can watch it here.