Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 1225. It’s a lengthy, extremely restrictive law regulating the sale of ammunition in California. It’s so restrictive that it might not hold up in court. Challenges to the law may have to wait. The law only goes into effect if voters fail to approve the ballot initiative ironically entitled the “Safety for All Act of 2016.”
California legislators and Governor Brown have presented Golden State gun owners with a “heads we win – tails you lose” scenario. If they vote against the Prop 63, extremely restrictive gun control laws go into effect. If they vote against for Prop 63, extremely restrictive gun control laws go into effect.
If Prop 63 doesn’t pass, then SB 1225 will be phased in from 1 January, 2018 to 1 January, 2019. (Individual ammunition purchasers will not be constrained until 1 January, 2019.) SB 1225 is long and complicated. Its provision are sweeping and costly. Here are the main points:
1. All ammunition sales to individuals are required to be face to face and shall require a background check. A long list of occupational exceptions, exceptions for concealed carry permit holders, law enforcement, etc. will not be required to process the background check, but sales will be recorded. Vendors may charge a fee of up to $10 per background check.
2. It will be illegal to purchase ammunition through the mail.
3. It will be illegal for residents of California to purchase ammunition out of state, and bring it back into the state. Ammunition purchased outside the state will be required to be sent to a licensed vendor in California.
4. Non-residents may legally transport ammunition into and through California, but may not sell it in California, unless is is sold through a licensed vendor subject to a background check. There are exceptions for sale to a direct family member, registered domestic partner, or hunting partner in quantities of no more than 50 rounds per month.
5. All ammunition sales will be kept on a computer data base that will be checked against a list of people who have been ruled to be prohibited possessors of firearms.
6. Nearly all private transfers of ammunition within the state of Callifornia will be required to be done through a licensed ammunition vendor, who may charge a fee for the process.
I expect a rush on ammunition in Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona gun shops over the next two and a half years. That is if the “Safety for All” initiative fails. If the “Safety for All” initiative passes, the provisions above go into effect starting 1 January, 2017, according to discussion of the initiative on calguns.net. That’s only six months from now.
The California law does not regulate the reloading of ammunition, or the sale of components such as gunpowder for reloaders, projectiles, wads, cartridge cases or shotgun hulls or primers. Gunpowder and primers have hazmat restrictions, but they could be ordered in bulk by gun clubs. The sale of these items is unrestricted by California law.
Reloading takes a small investment in tools and in the aquisition of skills, but it is not difficult. I started reloading cartridges under supervision when I was 13. I was doing it by myself at 16. I expect there will be a surge of interest in reloading in California.
A law similar to this one was tried nationwide in the 1970s and 1980s. It was found to be so burdensome and ineffective, that even the BATF testified against it in Congress. It was repealed in 1986, through an enormous grass roots effort that forced the repeal to come to a vote against the will of the Democrat house leadership.
The U.S. Congress or the federal court system could override or strike down the provisions of California’s ammunition regulations as excessively restrictive of interstate commerce. Besides, the amount of ammunition used in crime is minuscule. This law only burdens and punishes responsible and honest shooters. It will easily be circumvented by gun owners, formerly known as law-abiding citizens
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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