Back when I lived in the city that is always home to me, Pittsburgh, I ran into a kerfuffle with Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro didn’t want to ship ammunition that I’d ordered online because the City of Bridges had passed an ordinance in 1993 (§ 607.09) requiring photo identification for all ammunition sales.
The ordinance was passed purely to pose, as Pennsylvania’s statewide preemption law dates back to 1974. But Bass Pro’s legal team wasn’t taking any chances.
As it happens, a Pennsylvania legislator has apparently looked at Pittsburgh’s laws and said to himself: “Cool idea, bro!”
State legislator Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia, as if you didn’t know) announced this week that he “will be introducing a bill that would regulate the sale of ammunition in the same way that firearm sales are currently regulated” in the Keystone State.
Mr. Sims wants to require background checks for every purchase. The part of the law that would have the greatest chilling effect, however, is the one that would create a separate license that would allow the citizenry to bypass the background check.
Technically, the law wouldn’t require such a license…but this is exactly the sort of thing that creates a chilling effect on the exercise of a right.
People being people, why go through the effort to become a gun owner, if you have to fill out a NICS form and go through the bureaucratic hassle (and errors) every single time you want to pick up a box of 50 rounds of .22LR.
Since Mr. Sims doesn’t mention private sales at all, perhaps he intends for any such transfers to take place at a FFL as well? Good luck enforcing that rule, Brian.
While I don’t want to be a conspiratorial sort, an ‘optional license’ is the sort of thing that becomes a requirement in a few years under the “It won’t start a precedent — besides, we did this a few years ago anyway,” theory.
[I suppose I should also note that it’s already illegal under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)) for people prohibited from possessing firearms to similarly possess ammunition.]
So: a bill that would chill the wave of new gun buying, including a back door ammunition licensing scheme, while encouraging a black market in ammunition sales that would make anyone who gave a box of ammunition to a friend without first doing a background check a criminal.
This isn’t the first goofy political idea Mr. Sims has had.
Now, when it comes to Pennsyvlania beers, I’m more of a Rolling Rock kind of guy, but Pennsylvania is a drinking state with a sports problem, and that idea wasn’t going to fly. I expect this new notion will work out just as well.