UPDATE: Since posting this decision has been reversed: California Reinstates Ammo Restrictions
SAN DIEGO, CA –-(Ammoland.com)- Last year U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California struck down California’s magazine ban (Duncan v. Becerra). For one week, there was a buying frenzy of magazines hold over 10 rounds until the courts granted the state an injunction against the ruling.
Less than 13 months later, the George W. Bush appointee has dealt another blow against Draconian California gun laws. The judge overturned a state law requiring background checks on all purchases of ammunition.
“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Judge Benitez said in his ruling Thursday evening.
In 2016, then-Lt Governor Gavin Newson championed California Proposition 63, which required buyers to pass a background to buy ammunition. Anti-gun U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote the official argument in support of Proposition 63 that the state printed in their official voter’s guide. The ballot measure passed a popular vote and was signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown.
In April of 2018, the California Rifle & Pistol Association, along with Olympic skeet shooter Kim Rhode and nine other individuals and businesses, sued the state over the law (Rhode v. Becerra). The coalition claimed that the law placed an unconstitutional burden on Interstate Commerce by making it a requirement for ammunition to be shipped to a licensed dealer before the buyer could take delivery.
Once the ammunition arrived at a dealer, the buyer would have to undergo a background check similar to the process of buying a firearm. This requirement placed so much of a burden on companies that virtually all websites stopped selling ammunition to residents of California. Even if the buyer purchased the ammunition directly from a store, they still would have to undergo a background check.
Due to California’s buggy background check system, the state would incorrectly deny nearly one in five attempted purchases. The information on the buyer’s ID must match the personal information that the state has in its gun registration system. Any discrepancy in the data would trigger a denial. In most cases, a clerical error out of control of the buyer was to blame for the false flag. The buyer would be approved to buy a new gun but couldn’t get an approval response to purchase ammunition. The system was often down for hours blocking lawful buyers from purchasing ammunition for their legally owned firearms.
Judge Benitez highlights in his 120-page ruling that California’s system would “systematically prohibit or deter an untold number of law-abiding California citizen-residents from undergoing the required background checks.”
Out of all the ammunition background checks California ran on its citizens, the system prevented only 188 unlawful purchases. There were an estimated 62,000 false denials in the same period. Some gun rights advocates believed that California dragged their feet in fixing the system because of their anti-gun stance.
Online sellers started shipping to California almost immediately after the court ruling. Ammunition Depot posted the court’s decision to their site and started selling directly to state residents. A gun owner in California spent $1500 on ammunition right after the verdict came down. He posted that he would have spent more, but he couldn’t find every caliber he needed.
If the lifting of the magazine ban is any indication, online shops will see a run on their already thin stock of ammunition.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.