There’s an old Chris Rock bit about how we don’t actually need gun control, we need bullet control. Apparently lawmakers in the state of California have taken that advice to heart, and are introducing legislation that would require ammunition purchasers to present identification and have the sales reported to the DOJ.
The goal is ostensibly to prevent criminals from stockpiling bullets, but I get the feeling that the real intention is to create lists of people who buy ammunition in bulk. BTW, I usually go through about 1,000 rounds of 5.56 ammo alone in about a month. The only logical reason to record these transactions would be to try and identify people who buy large amounts of ammunition and, in a Minority Report kind of way, stop them before they go shoot up a school or something. An obvious invasion of the privacy of law abiding citizens if I’ve ever seen one. What ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”
This happening on the same day that the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” policy was declared unconstitutional, BTW.
Nancy Skinner proposed the legislation and spoke at the press conference about the bill. According to her, “it was the bullets that killed [Californians]. Buying bullets should not be easy. Buying deadly bullets should receive the same scrutiny as the purchase of guns.”
I don’t think Nancy quite understands the boondoggle she’s asking for. The NICS system gets overwhelmed every time Dianne Feinstein opens her trap, so any system that would perform a background check for ammunition purchases would be overwhelmed as soon as it came online. It would turn into the situation we have in Colorado, where the law says firearms sales have no waiting period but the background check takes 8 and a half days.
There are two possible things going on here. Either Nancy Skinner is a control freak and believes that keeping lists of the legal activities of law abiding citizens is a benefit to a society that was founded on freedom and the right to privacy, or she’s well aware that such a system would be a natural emergency brake on ammunition sales and effectively be a back door ban.
Its an interesting end-run around the constitution — the Second Amendment protects our right to keep and bear arms, but there’s no mention of ammunition. And also an end run around that pesky Firearm Owners Protection Act that keeps the government from creating a list of firearms owners, since its the ammunition that is being tracked.
While the chief of police for Emmeryville was quick to point out that anyone can just waltz into a store and buy ammo without a background check, he conveniently forgot that the guns that fire those bullets are supposedly already tightly regulated in the state of California and require a background check in addition to all sorts of other restrictions.
While trolling through the comments, I couldn’t see a single one that didn’t think this was the dumbest bill they’ve ever seen. John Wilson makes a particularly good point:
Many of you don’t remember this in 1986, Congress repealed the 1960s-era ban on mail order sales that also called for the keeping of detailed purchase logs. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) testified in Congress that ammunition sales logs were not an effective law enforcement tool and accordingly they did not oppose removing this onerous record-keeping requirement. There is simply no reason to believe that recording ammunition sales will somehow now be an effective law enforcement tool when it has already been tried and shown not to be effective.
Also in the bill is language that would restrict the sale of magazine rebuild kits. Pre-ban magazines (10+ rounds) were allowed to be fixed using such kits, which was a loophole in the magazine ban in California that was a way to get new magazines into the state.