california ammunition background check
A photo from The Time Before (Dan Z for TTAG)
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It appears that, unlike the brief period during which Californians could buy standard capacity 30-round magazines last year — a period appropriately known as freedom week — Californians may be about to enjoy a longer period of background check-free ammunition purchases. Maybe much longer.

Judge Roger Benitez has denied the state of California’s motion for a stay of the injunction he issued yesterday in Rhode v. Becerra. That injunction prevents the state from enforcing its law requiring that purchasers of ammunition undergo a background check.

In his brief, three-page decision, the judge wrote . . .

The Attorney General has conceded that the right to purchase and acquire ammunition is a right protected by the Second Amendment. That is an understanding consistent with Ninth Circuit decisions. Furthermore, as discussed in its preliminary injunction order, this Court found Plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits.


Here the Attorney General focuses on the possibility that a prohibited person may acquire ammunition. Buying ammunition is something that prohibited persons have managed to accomplish for 170 years and these new laws show little likelihood of success of preventing prohibited persons from unlawfully possessing future acquisitions. This Court’s focus is on the 101,047 + law-abiding, responsible citizens who have been completely blocked by the operation of these laws. Without an injunction, these law-abiding individuals have no legal way to acquire the ammunition which they enjoy the constitutional right of possession. These law-abiding individuals whose numbers are vast have no way to lawfully acquire ammunition to defend themselves, their families and their homes. The injunction restores that right.


[T]he Court found the background check and anti-importation laws to severely burden Plaintiffs and all law-abiding citizen-residents of California who want to acquire ammunition. The Attorney General does not point to any change in circumstances or new evidence to undermine that conclusion. That the laws have been in effect for 10 months reflects this Court’s patient consideration, not its constitutional approval. Any delay was occasioned by judicial optimism that the high erroneous denial rate of early Standard background checks might significantly improve. It did not. Instead, the constitutional impingements on Second Amendment rights that began immediately, will continue if a stay is granted. Thus, the Court cannot find the remaining two factors tip the scales in favor of a stay. A 16.4% error rate that deprives citizens the enjoyment of any constitutional right is offensive and unacceptable.

You can read the full decision here.

Again, this isn’t over by any means. The next step is a likely motion by the state to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But for now, Californians should enjoy the unencumbered ability to purchase gun food while they can.

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  1. At least be consistent, if you need an ID to buy ammo you’d damn sure better need one to vote.

    • I was asked for my voter booklet and my DL by the voter booth staff for our primary elections last month. The downside to this was how they scanned your ID into the new (L.A. County) digital voting system, then printed a customized non-readable barcode label and affixed it to the top of your ballot. Does that then identify your ballot to you, effectively removing the privacy of previous paper punch ballots? This is exactly why I don’t like the new “mandatory” mail-in ballots due to the COVID-19.

      • There’s a nice database out there with how everyone votes. The list will come in handy when the camps are built

        • Took an excerpt right out of my mind. Anyone getting the feeling that Welle’s treatise on all things Orwellian has been used as an instruction manual, instead of a dire warning against over the last couple of decades?

  2. If I find a young woman to have an affair with and if that poorly thought out affair leads to a child I’m naming that child Judge Roger Benitez. Boy or girl.

    • We’ve been hearing the rumblings of a shifting 9th circuit for awhile. They’re getting louder.

      • This doesn’t really have anything to do with the recent shift, since Benitez was appointed by Bush.

        • It will have something to do with the Ninth if the state appeals it up the chain.

          Because Trump has nearly flipped the Ninth into a conservative court. While everyone has been hyperventilating about the press’ latest invented anti-Trump hysteria, Trump and “Cocaine” Mitch McConnell have been running judges through the confirmation process like cattle through a sale barn.

        • DG,

          Well said. I would not consider Trump a gun rights champion, but confirming conservative judges is a pro-2A win. I’m in CA and my civilian sources won’t ship ammo to me in Brea, CA, and many of my LE sources have burned out. Also, being conservative cost me a promotion. Oh, well.

    • This IS “breaking.” The first order was the injunction against the state from enforcing the ban. Today’s order is a rejection of their request to stay the first order.

      Two different events.

      • Correct. Let’s all remember that there were multiple attempts by CA to appeal and/or stay Benitez’ rulings on the magazine issue.

        In 2016, AB63 was signed into law, and quickly challenged in court upon unconstitutional grounds.

        In 2017, Benitez ruled against it and placed an original injunction on certain portions of the related CA Penal Code. CA appealed it to the Ninth.

        In 2018, a 3-judge panel within the Ninth (shockingly) agreed with Benitez by a 2-1 opinion and sent it back. CA appealed it yet again, though it was now back in Benitez’ court.

        In 2019, Benitez was so rightfully ticked off that he expanded his original 2017 ruling and injunctioned the entire P.C. section that had been argued within the lawsuit, declaring it unconstitutional. CA appealed for a fourth time, attempting to force an en banc hearing within the Ninth Circuit that might end up in Sacramento’s favor (this was actually a super stupid move, as an en banc hearing now places the Ninth in a pickle, because they had already – in a previous unrelated case – declared that they all 27 judicial seats within the Circuit are bound by their own rulings). However, to minimize the options for CA’s appeal, Benitez permitted a stay on two of the four subsections of the affected P.C., effectively reinstating them as enforceable (no purchase, transfer, or importation of new 10+ rd mags), but kept in place his injunction with the other two subsections (possession, use).

        So the net effect of all of this for us today is that mere possession and/or use of any detachable ammunition-feeding device (regardless of type or capacity) is no longer grounds for LE to perform any stop, search, or seizure. Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. But you can’t (legally) purchase, transfer, gift, lend, or import until this matter is settled, and it’s going to remain in limbo in the Ninth for an indeterminate amount of time because, again, the Ninth is in a pickle and the liberal actors in all of this (Sacramento, the Leftists judges within the Circuit) would like to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Similar to how Young v. Hawaii was a 2A win for open carry and *should* already be applicable to all states within the Ninth Circut, but its appeal to the Ninth is sitting in limbo until NYSRPA v. NYC is completed.

        Waiting, waiting, waiting…

        • There isn’t a lot of time remaining for SCOTUS to issue its decision. Even with the delayed oral arguments (the NYSRPA case was not one of them), the decision should issue no later than June.

        • ” …the decision should issue no later than June.”

          As I recall, the ‘Heller v. DC’ decision was announced at the end of last day the Court was in session for that term.

          Literally, as they were walking out the door. An ultimate ‘mic drop’ moment for 2A rights. That it was a civil right to own and possess a firearm not connected to military service.

          May the echos of the upcoming ‘NY Pistol’ decision be a ‘mic drop’ audible in Leftist heads (and incessantly be mocking them) for hundreds of years in the future… 🙂

        • “@Mark N., and it’s starting to look like Thomas *may* be the author… ”

          Now, *that* has me giggling like an 8 year-old schoolgirl in anticipation.

          May Leftists heads detonate like a Teller-Ulam 3-stage nuke when they read it and realize what that means for them and their evil plan to do to this great country :

        • Justice Thomas is, by far, the most “originalist” justice on the court.

          I also like that he doesn’t participate in the dog-n-pony shows of hearings and verbal arguments. He refuses to give the press anything to make commentary.

        • @Dypeptic Gunsmith

          Agreed, much as he’s been since the Anita Hill faux scandal.

          On a different note: I need to get your attention for a moment concerning your specialty, and some advice, & services I need in a few months for an uncommon weapon platform on this side of the pond. I can set up a temporary email to bridge the contact gap initially, but would rather post it when I know your observing, to avoid repetitiveness and being spear fished or spammed.

  3. I wonder why this same reasoning isn’t applied to “background checks”, the 10 day waiting period, and the fact that violent men still acquire firearms without going through either.

    • That was tried already and failed, even though the State admitted that 20% of approvals are within one day, and 80% within five, and even though the plaintiffs in that case had either COEs or CCWs.

  4. Judge Roger Benitez is a patriot and and an honorable American. I would enjoy buying him the whisky of his choice and thank him for his service to the nation. We need more judges like him. This man is an example of why we need Trump as president for another 4 years. There is a good chance under Trump we get more men like Benitez.
    Godspeed Sir.

      • 1st step is to deport 1/3 of the pop to their home of origin. Think of the positive greenie benefits – traffic, pollution, water/energy use. Empty houses for the “homeless”. Reasonable housing costs. Open roads, beaches, malls. MIGHT be worth going to the place again.

      • I tell my clients that someday our children are going to have to sell California to the Chinese to pay for the COVID stimulus packages….that was before I read your comment and realized it was no longer ours to sell. LOL.

  5. Should do the same with the handgun roster, The law limits what a normal person can buy with the lame excuse of Safety authorization. There are no guns with the micro stamping available to purchase in calif. so the roster is a way to limit new guns available to everyone else outside the state. for example why is a new Glock 19 G5 not safe compared to a Glock 19 G3? why is a new sig 226 not safe compared to a 226 from 2015? its BS!

    • ^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS!

      The cali state DA has to tell my why…I can’t buy one gun VS another that is on the safety list?

      Yet any cop in the state can buy any gun that is not ‘safe’ and carry it during their job? and shoot at criminals with it?
      Lawsuit anyone if you are a bystander that got shot by an “unsafe” gun!

    • That case was brought already and lost in the Ninth, not clear anymore on the legal basis for the suit. I do seem to recall that bthe plaintiffs did NOT raise the issue that the state AG (Kamala Harris) abused her discretion in certifying the law based on experimental technology that did not microstamp guns as required by the statute. (To make matters worse, it was the Gubernator whom we have to thank for this idiotic law.) I think that case may also be being held pending NYSRPA.

    • I certainly do NOT agree with the safe handgun roster for Cali. My question is how have guns been added after this ruling? The colt king cobra is one I believe. Does it microstamp? I hope not.

      • Only semiautomatic pistols are required to have micro stamping to be added to the roster, as well as chamber loaded indicator (with font and color) and a magazine disconnect safety.
        If you haven’t seen what they did to CA legal SIG 226’s… just save yourself the pain and don’t look.

    • this is what you get for the FED allowing an open border for the last 4 decades!

      soon to come to your state! Like it or not

  6. Judge Roger Benitez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please keep your Pimp backhand slap strong! to smite more of these Commie Lib F-ing bi-tch morons in cali!!

    If owned a bar anywhere near ya….. you’d drink free for life (or until you go lib crazy like the rest?)

  7. I thought he would follow his previous playbook and I was wrong. I’m pleasantly surprised. They sure acted fast to try and get an injunction this time, unlike the previous.

    • Tonight, Leftist scum are trembling in their statist jack-boots in fear as to what is about to happen in Washington, D.C. soon.

      The courts, that they were so convinced they controlled, are gonna bite them in the ass *bigtime*… 🙂

  8. Judge Benitez’s writings are the type that all judges should aspire to. It’s easy to read and understand. The language isn’t tortured to the point of disbelief. It’s grounded in the constitution and the true meaning and intent.

    I was in CA visiting during Freedom Week 1.0. It was awesome getting to see 30 round mags on store shelves for at least a few days. I bought the front end of an AMD-65 from one shop in Sacramento that was in their used junk bin. I also bought a Remington M1903 from them that is really nice. There was one shop in the area that were total dicks to customers coming in looking for standard magazines. They kept telling people it wasn’t legal and that nothing had changed. Everywhere else was placing rush orders on boxes of freedom. I hope Freedom Week 2.0 is Freedom Weeks for CA. We need more of this garbage legislation dismantled.

    Oh and for those that think CA is lost, this is a reason why we need to keep fighting. These laws are coming to a safe and free state near you. How do you think we feel here in VA? In one election we went from great for gun laws to a bunch of NY/CA type laws. Keep up the fight.

    • Great meme.
      Now make one the same from the waist up, lotus position, sitting in a mound of ammo!

  9. I’ve been saying it for a while now. If Trump gets a second term we will have constitutional carry nation wide by the end of his term. It’s coming. Like the collapse of communism in eastern europe. Folks are going to be caught flat footed by what was obvious in hind sight.

    • I would say it’s obvious in foresight, but I’m not a pinko commie liberal fag who hates America.

    • So Trump invented a time machine and went back to Bush’s term to put this guy in office?

      • This is just one judge. Trump has been appointing lots of them. He’s remaking the legal landscape in America.

        I know from your comments you identify more left than right. But you’re just going to have to get used to 2a being a civil right just as all the numbers in the BOR. Putting restrictions on my exercise of that right is no different from telling a person they cannot vote because of their race.

  10. Looks like all the Friendly’s behind enemy lines are crashing online ammo dealers. SGA was unavailable due to to people looking at the www site.

  11. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the HUMONGOUS numbers of Judges that Trump has had confirmed to the bench nationwide is having a big effect. California is what? The ninth circuit? They used to be the most “reliably” leftist bench in the country and the one most frequently overturned by the SCOTUS. But since Trump started filling the vacancies there (and elsewhere) the rulings at all levels have started to turn around. That’s a big part of Trump’s legacy and it will grow exponentially when he is re-elected.

    • Not just Trump. Bush appointed boatloads of judges too. Obama, not so many. But, you’re right – every judge that Trump appoints shifts things in favor of the Second.

      • “Bush appointed boatloads of judges too. Obama, not so many.”

        You can bet your ass if Leftists control the White House and Senate, they will do the exact same thing to us…

      • How many federal judges has Donald Trump appointed?
        In total, Trump has appointed 39 federal judges to date, including 17 district court judges and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Supreme Court Justice Cavanaugh.

        In his eight years, George W. Bush got 327 Article III Federal Judges confirmed including two SCOTUS and one Chief Justice. That Chief Justice has turned against the Constitution more than once siding with the liberals notably stabbing us in the back with Obamacare.

        • What you smoking?

          “White House Logo


          FACT SHEETS

          President Donald J. Trump Is Appointing a Historic Number of Federal Judges to Uphold Our Constitution as Written

           LAW & JUSTICE

          Issued on: November 6, 2019

          ALL NEWS


          It is up to us to reclaim our heritage of equal and impartial justice. It is up to us to re-dedicate ourselves to the traditions and wisdom of our Founders.

          President Donald J. Trump

          HISTORIC RESTORATION OF THE JUDICIARY: President Trump is transforming our judiciary – appointing a historic number of Federal judges who will interpret the Constitution as written.

          Working with the Senate, President Trump has now had 158 judicial nominees confirmed to the Federal bench – a historic transformation of the judiciary.President Trump has nominated and had confirmed, two Supreme Court justices, 44 Circuit Court judges, and 112 District Court judges.President Trump has appointed more circuit judges by this point in his presidency than any president in recent history.Approximately 1 out of every 4 active judges on United States Courts of Appeals has been appointed by President Trump.This historic transformation is only accelerating, with President Trump on pace to have more judges confirmed this year than in 2017 and 2018 combined.”

          • I stand corrected. My source was an obviously corrupted source of Wikipedia. I knew it was weird when I read it.

            I’m not a fan if the Bush family even though at one time, Jeb Bush was a personal friend of mine. First name basis. But his daddy and his brother were part of an evil that sought to suck our freedom down into the pit of Hell. I swear, when I heard his daddy give the speech right after the end of Gulf War #1 where he made the term “New World Order” a part of the modern lexicon, I know I smelled sulphur and brimstone.

            Later, Jeb showed HIS true colors when he pushed Common Core down the throats of all Florida educators. It was a curricula specifically designed to “dumb down” the strength of our country in our children. Dumb down every generation going forward so that when it came time to give up essential liberties and even the Constitution itself, that “strength” will cave like a cheap suit.

            When I finally realized that in December of 2018, I retired at that moment with an historical flair. My last day in a classroom teaching American History was December 7th. Pearl Harbor Day. In a similar fashion the day I got my military commission was June 6th. The date of the D-Day Invasion of Europe that would lead to the end of WW2.

  12. Great, so Californians are free to not find 9mm, 45acp, .223/5.56, et al, just like the rest of us. Yeehaaaa!!

    • Just purchased 350 rounds of TMJ at .28 per round from Lucky Gunner. Supplies seem to slowly be building.

    • Not only are we free to purchase said ammo, but we can now drive across state lines and purchase the aforementioned ammo without watching our rear view mirrors while on the lookout for the CHP. They have been the hired goon squad in charge of pulling over, searching and arresting California citizens for “breaking the law”.
      Well done Judge B!

    • In recent weeks, I’ve purchased 1,000 rounds each of 5.56 and 9mm. Good quality stuff at not horrible prices, too. It took some search engine sweat, but it’s possible to do.

  13. Bottom line choice is between Gun Control which is rooted in racism and genocide or The Bill Of Rights which is rooted in Freedom.

  14. It’s funny, you could replace the word “ammo” with the word “guns” or “arms” in almost the entire written argument to make an excellent case against the whole NICS. Frankly, if background checks to purchase weapons are legitimate (which they are very much not, but for the sake of argument….), how are background checks to purchase ammo not?

    If the ability to purchase both of those items is recognized as being intrinsic to exercise of the 2A, then such checks are either valid or they aren’t. Still, this is definitely a positive step in the right direction

    • You could replace the first of his 4-prong decision with guns which is why it’s good that he had 3 more. The first is likely to fail if for no other reason than it would invalidate pretty much any gun control.

  15. A panel of 9th Circuit judges just granted the CA DOJ’s appeal for an emergency stay. So for now the law remains.

  16. It seams the judge is saying that the state can require background checks for ammo, but that the way it is being done is not constitutional?

  17. If your interested in a work from home opportunity let me know! No prior experiences or degree needed, we get paid every Friday. It’s a great way to create an extra stream of income. Friend visit this site…

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