On the left coast, a new law that was recently passed required that all sales of handgun ammunition take place “face-to-face,” outlawing all internet sales. Also included was a requirement that sales records be kept as to the buyer, caliber and so forth. It was the holy grail of ammunition registration, a Chris Rock-esque scheme to make purchasing ammo as prohibitively expensive and onerous as possible. And on Wednesday, a California court threw the whole thing out the window . . .

The specific reason why the law was overturned isn’t because they were a violation of the Second Amendment (because what self respecting California judge would ever rule in favor of the 2A?). Instead the California Superior Court decision said the requirements were unconstitutionally vague. Thanks to the various pistol caliber carbines available as well as the pistol version of the AR-15 and the AK-47, it makes it impossible to actually define what a handgun caliber is.

The statutes were written in an intentionally vague manner (probably so that they could expand this law to all ammunition at some point), but the court was having none of it. They issued an immediate injunction and the ammo is now once again flowing freely (and legally) into the Golden State in little brown boxes straight to your doorstep.

Naturally this will upset many in California’s extensive civilian disarmament community and I expect a revised version of the law to be introduced almost immediately. But the ruling opens the door to overturning other vague laws such as the requirements for a concealed carry license. California is a “may issue” state, but their statute doesn’t specifically say what justification is required for the permit to be issued. This leads to issues where Los Angeles issues virtually no permits while other counties issue them freely. Look for that one to be up next on the judicial chopping block here shortly.

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63 Responses to CA Court Strikes Down Online Ammo Ban

        • Taste the bitter nectar…

          People are poking their heads out of their offices wondering why I’m laughing right now. You are one messed-up dude. 🙂

        • As I heard on Anger Management with Charlie Sheen:

          Female to Charlie: “Hope your hungry, I just shaved desert! “

        • Prince (Dirk) Alcott, [q] yearn for the nectar of her skin[/q] ~ Mirror Mirror
          Dirk you got me spittin coffee on me keyboard [glad i cover it with saran wrap before reading TTAG]

    • CA, believe it or not, is a HUGE ammo market. There were a number of plaintiffs to the case, including Natchez and Cheaper Than Dirt. I’m very glad that this law got struck down. Ammo prices would have skyrocketed, which is exactly what the antis want. LA still bans mail order ammo sales within city limits, which is part of the reason why I live in Republican Orange County. The Orange County SO will issue CCW’s whereas Baca et all of the LASO won’t (unless you buy him an expensive wedding present or are otherwise politically connected).

      Despite the pessimists who say that gun rights are dead in CA, these events make clear than gun rights are in fact only “mostly dead.”

      I’m still very concerned by SCOTUS once if it gets stacked by an additional anti freedom judge by the Obama administration.

      All I ask is that people fight for gun rights wherever they are. I supported the CO recalls, and I’m fighting lots of the crap in CA.

      • We are a huge ammo and gun market. 8 million plus gun owners here. If this market is shut down by the grabbers gun and ammo companies are going to have to cut production or raise prices or both to stay in business.

        Some of the gun friendly states don’t have near the market we have. And I’ve done my best to grow that market, with some success, since moving here. There’s a number of people that bought their first guns thanks to my range time with them.

      • DAMNIT! I was looking forward to setting up an ammo store just inside the Arizona border, with free maps of all border-crossing roads and trails with every purchase. I’d have been filthy rich within a year, I tells ya! Walter White? Yeah, I f#@%*& him…..

        • Please do set up that Arizona border ammo shop. Some of us specialists in CA like to be able to get hands on Black Powder on occasion. No one sells in it CA, Pyrodex only. Shops are only allowed to have 1lb on hand total (where a flintlock requires minimum 2 powder types), and must be stored in some obscure gov’t department’s explosive resistant box (read: wooden crate with holes drilled in it).

    • I’m not sure what all this hunting is about. I haven’t had to do any hunting for quite some time now. I’ve simply added a thousand rounds to my shopping cart and clicked “checkout” …I’ve also avoided those extremely over priced places like suckygunner and bulkammo. My current place of choice has 500 rounds of new 9mm for sale $136. Not exactly “the olden days” prices, but not bad considering what else is out there.

      Also, being a californian and a USPSA competitive shooter, practically the only ammo I use is my handgun ammo. So I’m extremely glad to see this tossed out the window. Because my 2,000 rounds of 9mm doesn’t load itself into my glock 19 and go on mass shootings, I will rest easy.

    • It seems like had they written the law to ban all ammo, it would have held up…

      Of course, that assumes the law would ever get passed with that language to begin with. Even Fudd’s may like to order specialty rounds over the internet.

      • fudds, order from the internet? no way. if they did that, they wouldn’t have any reason to loiter for hours on end at their local gun shop, drinking the free coffee and causing their staff buddies to ignore paying customers.

    • They did. Twice. In 2011 and 2013. Both times vetoed by Brown. His veto statement gave a sense of irritation over vetoing it again

  1. Just a temporary victory, we all know California is going into the ocean of total gun control at some point. It’s great the initial attempt failed as that is all that is needed for other state’s with less police state militarization and gungrabbing politicians in power to keep bills like this from becoming law or even having a chance to be heard.
    I couldn’t imagine not getting my ammo and reloading supplies online. Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting the few semi-local gun shops in my area and picking up a keg of powder or whatever every now and then when they get a shipment in, but during most months of the year one cannot beat the availability and prices of online sales.

    • “…Just a temporary victory”

      Agreed.

      They started vague to see if it would work. Nope. Now they will refine it a bit and try again.

      For the gun grabbing crowd it is just a matter of enough iterations. If they take small enough bites then maybe no one will notice and they are willing to take a million small bites if it gets them what they are after.

      • That’s why you have to order 5,000 primers and 8# of powder. Of course, in the “old days” of availability, you would get a few people together and do a single (even larger) order.

  2. Actually, AB 962 has been struck down for a few years now, so the title isn’t quite accurate. What the court struck down was the state’s appeal to overturn the district court’s ruling of AB 962 being “constitutionally vague”, and rightfully so.

    • Correct, give this guy the prize. This is the final nail in the coffin of AB962 from a few years back, and thankfully it came after the end of this year’s legislative season.

  3. I just phoned Cheaper-than-Dirt to find out if they shipped ammo to CA, not knowing about the Court’s decision. They said they shipped city-by-city. I.e., some cities allowed internet sales; others didn’t. But…..the court ruling might have opened the door for out-of-state ammo suppliers to not have to be restricted to the city-by-city gig, nor should they. Luckily I live in a city where there is no problem (Santa Rosa)…..yet.

    Anyway, this is good news for a change.

    • Why does a Texas company (or any other not located in the PRC) care what “rules” any particular city may pass. Not their problem or business how stupid the gov’t of a city they are not located in may be.

      • Beats me. Maybe they are ruled by “fear.” A common problem here in California.
        Joking aside, I would guess that they might be involved in one of Holder’s lawsuits if interstate commerce laws are breached by CTD. But…that’s another subject that one of the attorney readers might be able to answer.

        • Because the local authorities can file suit in Federal court against out-of-state entities for inducing or aiding residents in violating state/local law. See the city of SF vs Exile Machine, 44Mag et al lawsuit over magazine rebuild kits for an example of how this works.

  4. California is a “may issue” state

    The major problem (having issued permits for a dept in CA). Most people don’t understand the the STATE of California DOES ISSUE permits. It is done on the local level.

  5. I have never understood why gun grabbers are against online ammo sales. If I were a gun grabber I would ban face-to-face sales and only allow online sales. You get the name, address and financial information of the buyer. Face-to-to sales can be done with cash and a fake ID. Plus online sales introduce a delay to the process. Nobody said gun grabbers are smart.

  6. Won’t California do the same thing they did to gasoline? They will insist that all ammunition sold in California be manufactured in California, so they can monitor the contents and procedures to make sure they conform to California’s ecological requirements.

    Actually I’m surprised it wasn’t the first thing they tried. Considering the ban on lead ammo they have all the tools they need to do just that.

    • I don’t know, but the issue may involve laws regarding restraint of trade. I’m no lawyer, but it would be interesting if an attorney who reads this thread could enlighten us.

    • Does California do that? Seems something like that would be interfering with interstate commerce and protectionism. Its one of Congress’s few enumerated job under the Constitution, surprised they would let any state undermine that.

      • California has its own blend of Gasoline to reduce emissions. There are actually two, summer and winter.

        It could be done outside California, but almost all is within the State, because that’s where the market is. Because it’s more expensive than other blends, other States don’t want to purchase it, but they could. Sometimes, summer or winter is sold out of State at a loss when the other blend kicks in.

        For example, earlier this year, the State basically ran out of summer, and winter couldn’t be sold yet, so gas really spiked, so they allowed winter to be sold early.

        It doesn’t violate the interstate commerce clause, because there is a rational reason (reduction of smog) for the difference in blends, and it can cross State lines, it just doesn’t because it rarely makes economic sense.

  7. i would not hold your breath or go on a starvation diet for the CA courts to strike down may-issue. They’ll need to be smacked into doing it or CA will have to elect a republican supermajority. While I hope to be wrong on this, realistically the CA courts are not friends of the 2a.

    • I was just informed by my local NRA rep that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which might have been the court in question here had become more friendly to 2nd Amendment issues in recent years. This particular court is known for its bending in the liberal direction in many of its decisions. It’s a shame that too many dumb laws end up being passed de facto by some court. Some of these laws should have never even gotten past the state legislature.

      • there are cases in front of them. Peruta is one and i recall another Hawaii carry case. I am not getting my hopes up for anything good to come from California (as far as laws or court decisions anyway).

  8. The actual ruling was back in 2011. This appears to be a last ditch appeal by the state, which thankfully failed. Maybe this is why, even though the law was found to be unconstitutional it was still in the Penal Code as a valid law.

    Now if only we could get all of the out of state manufacturers/suppliers to understand that they can, in fact, ship to the city of Los Angeles, we’d be in good shape.

  9. “They issued an immediate injunction and the ammo is now once again flowing freely (and legally) into the Golden State in little brown boxes straight to your doorstep.”

    Once again? Um, this bill was never in effect. It has been jammed up in the courts since its inception. I have ordered ammo many times and I live in California. Cabela’s sends me ammo, has for years.

  10. I like this. At some point there will need to be an all out offensive for CA gun rights. When will that happen?

  11. Shouldn’t we be talking about making going to a Chris Rock concert “as expensive and onerous as possible”? Fair is fair, right?

  12. We have a miserable excuse for a human Congressman named David Cicillne from RI,an openly gay gun grabbing left winger who tried to get the state legislature to ban online ammo sales in favor of “face to face” sales.No such bill was submitted and it wouldn’t make sense-proponents suggest “anonymous online sales.It’s the furthest thing from the truth-online sales require a credit card and a residential or other actual physical address for delivery by an express carrier since USPS won’t transport ammo.UPS and FEDEX don’t deliver to box addresses.”Face to face”sales in RI are the same as for liquor.-if you look under 21 they can ask for ID(for handgun ammo-rifle/shotgun is 18) but if you are obviously older they cannot..A Walmart employee demanded my ID for some 45 ACP ammo I was buying once-I’m in my 60’s-and I refused-she didn’t want to complete so I had a manager called over and he asked why i wouldn’t show ID and I replied because I didn’t have to considering no one could possibly think I was under 21.I also said I didn’t intend for the clerk or him or anyone else in the store to see my home address because I don’t know who they or their friends are.I prevailed rather quickly.These people will buffalo you if they think they can.

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