BREAKING: US District Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking California’s Ammo Background Check Law

California Ammo Background Checks

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A big preliminary win for the California Rifle and Pistol Association in its fight against California’s ludicrous ammunition background check law, the case known as Rhode v. Becerra. US District Court Judge Roger Benitez — the same District Court judge who set off the week-long standard capacity magazine buying spree — has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the law.

Benitez wrote:

Law-abiding citizens are imbued with the unalienable right to keep and bear firearms along with the ammunition to make their firearms work. That a majority today may wish it were otherwise, does not change the Constitutional right. It never has. California has tried its unprecedented experiment. The casualties suffered by law abiding citizens have been counted.

And finally . . .

Defendant Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with him, and those duly sworn state peace officers and federal law enforcement officers who gain knowledge of this injunction order or know of the existence of this injunction order, are enjoined from implementing or enforcing the ammunition sales background check provisions found in California Penal Code §§ 30370(a) through (d) and 30352, and the ammunition anti-importation provisions found in §§ 30312(a) and (b), and 30314(a) as well as the criminal enforcement of California Penal Code §§ 30365, 30312(d) and 30314(c).

You can read the full 120-page decision here.

Will this kick off another (likely short-lived) airlift like the magazine freedom week event after that injunction was handed down?

Will Ammuniton Depot, Brownells, Cabela’s and all the rest be shipping gun food to the Golden State during this brief period of freedom until the injunction is (likely) lifted so the state’s appeal can be heard?

Given the gun and ammo buying frenzy that’s been going on across the country the last six weeks, do retailers have much ammunition to send?

Watch this space.

UPDATE: We’ve talked to Ammunition Depot. They tell us they already have a crew in their warehouse filling orders they’ve received from California since the injunction was announced. And they’re surely not the only ammo seller doing that.

UPDATE 2: We just heard from Brownells who confirm that they, too are shipping ammunition to the left coast. Get your order in while you can.

comments

  1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

    “Law-abiding citizens are imbued with the unalienable right to keep and bear firearms along with the ammunition to make their firearms work. That a majority today may wish it were otherwise, does not change the Constitutional right. It never has. California has tried its unprecedented experiment. The casualties suffered by law abiding citizens have been counted.”

    I nominate Judge Roger Benitez as “Gun Hero of the Day”…

    *Applause* 🙂

    (Now for the real ‘Adventure’, how long will it take for the mail-order houses to start shipping to California?)

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      👏👏👏👏👏👏👍👍👍🍸🍺🍹🍼🍕🌭🍔

    2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      +1

    3. avatar Roymond says:

      If the coronavirus is kind, he will get a chance to be nominated to SCOTUS.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        No chance of that. He is already on senior status, meaning he is past retirement age but still working a reduced case load due to the shortage of judges. If I recall correctly, he is in his 80s.

        1. avatar ggdsgsdg says:

          He’s 69

        2. avatar Roymond says:

          So again I miss Judge Roll, killed in the Gabby Giffords shooting.

        3. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

          The hell with the supreme court. Nominate him for the presidential race in 2024.

    4. avatar kevin says:

      Judge Benitez was also responsible for Freedom Week a year or two back.

    5. avatar John says:

      Ammunition Depot is already taking orders for California and giving them priority.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Thx for the tip! Looking at their site now to see what’s available.

        1. avatar John says:

          Now SG Ammo is taking orders as well (I don’t see priority mentioned though).

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Beginning last night, and checking again this morning, every single site I’ve visited is completely sold out of all calibers for my handguns. FMJ, JHP, +P, everything, lol. The only site with stock is Ammunition Depot, but only by the case (for several hundred dollars a pop). I only want +P and JHP to augment my inventory.

          That’s okay. I’m already stocked.

      2. avatar D Y says:

        That’s great! While I like my stuff right now as I’m sure most do, when it comes to this or pending bans, I’d prefer that customers in those locales get the best prices, and priority. One last chance to “stick it” to the man.

  2. avatar LifeSavor says:

    For all you TTAGers who live in CA: Congratulations!!!

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Only two months ago, I told everyone here that this AB 63 would be injuctioned, and y’all laughed. But methinks a few of you might now owe me that beer. 🙂

      https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/ca-ammo-background-checks-fees-drive-hunters-away-cutting-into-conservation-funding/#comment-4452968

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        Well, it seems I said about your prediction :

        “Haz, I *hope* I need to buy you that beer one day…”

        How about a virtual beer?

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Tell you what…the wife and I have been watching the entire Avengers MCU movie lineup (all 23 films since the original Iron Man from 2008). Tonight we’re finally at Avengers: End Game. I’ll pull a frosted ale from the fridge, consider it as from my TTAG colleagues, and dedicate the first sip to our good friend Judge Benitez, who has now served twice(!) as a 2A patriot for CA.

          Today our evil AG Becerra lost. Tonight…Thanos.

      2. avatar Rayna Ritchie says:

        Cheers, bud! It just took a little longer than I expected, personally. Anything anti-gun can pass here, but if the constitution is upheld through justice and our contributions to groups like CRPA, SAF, and others, we will see these things struck down. CM’s office is a powerhouse.

  3. avatar Prndll says:

    Glad to see this getting some real attention.

  4. avatar Fit2Btyed says:

    Hallelujah! Let everything on earth and sky PTL.

  5. avatar Sam I Am says:

    An injunction does not kill the matter. An injunction only delays the infringement until a final ruling by a federal appeals court/Supreme Court. Put down your shovel, sit back, light up a Camel, and wait for the final episode.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Haz,

      Yup. But still happy!

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      If nothing else, the law will be delayed long enough to resupply without the rigamarole.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        It’s *possible* they may choose to punt, since that would speed up the time to get it eventually appealed by a SCOTUS currently open to hearing gun rights…

    3. avatar Roymond says:

      True, but judges aren’t supposed to issue injunctions unless they think there is at least a reasonable chance that the law will be overturned. An injunction is intended to prevent what is expected to be ruled as harm.

  6. avatar Robert Nall says:

    Benitez is a damn good!! Love that man! Finally helping us in California have our rights restored

  7. avatar mark says:

    Roger Benitez continues to be a true patriot. God Bless this man.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I *just* finished reading the Opinion. All 120 pages. I particularly like this quote from Page 118:

      “Presently, California and many other states sit in isolation under pandemic-inspired stay-at-home orders. Schools, parks, beaches, and countless non-essential businesses are closed. Courts are limping by while police make arrests for only the more serious crimes. Maintaining Second Amendment rights are especially important in times like these. Keeping vigilant is necessary in both bad times and good, for if we let these rights lapse in the good times, they might never be recovered in time to resist the next appearance of criminals, terrorists, or tyrants.

      Youbetcha.

  8. avatar GS650G says:

    Let’s see if the 9th over rules him.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Trump has been putting his picks on the 9th. This will be interesting.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Correct. We will see if it makes the difference.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      First, nothing will happen in the Ninth until SCOTUS decides the NYSRPA v. NYC case, because it is assumed that SCOTUS will set a standard of review in 2A cases. Second, the issuance of a preliminary injunction is vested in the sound discretion of the trial judge, and an abuse of discretion must be shown to overturn the decision, a very difficult burden to meet. In a recent case, the Ninth sustained a preliminary injunction in this basis even if the appellate judges might have decided the case differently. Finally, since this is not a decision on the merits but a preliminary decision, it wouldn’t make much difference if they did.

  9. avatar Debbie W. says:

    It’s pathetic that it takes a judge to determine what is clearly a nobrainer. Frankly he should have declared the opposition insane and had them commited.
    Let’s see…1 and 1 equals 2. Not if a leftist ratbassturd can help it.

  10. avatar Lance says:

    Well that’s one way to make Cali open back up. I know they’re not going to let it slide by that easy.

    Then again I’ve been wrong before.

  11. avatar TFred says:

    “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

    Any judge that quotes this part of Heller is going to be getting it right!

  12. avatar Spencer Hutchings says:

    Good for this judge.
    California is still a smoking hole.
    Still glad I left.

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    If this goes the way that the last preliminary injunction (barring enforcement of the 30 round mag law), the State will immediately file for review with the Ninth Circuit, and will file a motion for a stay of the order pending appeal. the last time around, Benitez granted the stay pending appeal one week after issuing his order. Here it was called “Freedom Week,” and there was a mad rush to buy as many “standard mags” as possible in that time frame.

    SO ALL YOU CALIFORNIANS LOW ON AMMO SHOULD SHOP WHILE YOU CAN STILL HAVE IT SHIPPED TO YOUR DOOR!

    (Hmm, time to check my own supplies. Been looking for good prices on .308.)

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I recently bought a .357. The only gun I haven’t got a large supply on hand for. Freedom week got me some standard cap mags for my g19. Good times.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I’m completely full on my inventory, but I could use some more JHP in a couple of pistol calibers. I like to train with FMJ at the range, as everyone does, but at least twice per year I like to run a box of JHP to verify good feeding and cycling of both the dedicated mags and the gun(s).

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Defense ammo usually doesn’t get hit as hard by this kind of thing. If you want there have been some “police trade in” deals on JHP. I check gundeals on reddit frequently.

    3. avatar Darkman says:

      There are No good deals on ammo. For the most part prices have more than doubled since this Chinese virus shit happened. Makes Ya wonder about price gouging. If it were medical supplies. Suppliers/Manufacturers would be going to jail. Fortunately for the Prepared the need is of no consequence. Good fortune for those in Commiefornia. Buy what you need fast. If you can find it. The next Court decision will most likely not be on the side of Freedom. You must remember Liberal Democrats are playing the long game against Freedom. Pushing their agenda here and there. Two steps forward…One step back. Waiting for the day when the “Common Sense” Ideology has Indoctrinated as many people as possible. Through the MSM and the Education system. After 50 years of effort. They have learned that time is on their side. Simply look at where their Agendas ( Not just Anti 2A) are compared to 50 years ago. Keep Your Powder Dry.

      1. avatar SoCalJack says:

        I was just comparing ammoseek to CA LGS prices. A few online retailers have lower prices, but no smokin’ deals. However there are great deals on 6.5 CM and other rifle rounds other than 5.56, compared to CA prices.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          Haven’t had much time to browse. I need to supplement the .308 shelf with range ammo, and so far no screaming deals.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          I have a plentiful supply of .38 because I have 3 revolvers in that caliber. I bought a .357 right before this crap started. At that time I bought a supply of hollow points for it. Not a large amount but enough for an emergency.

          My primary self defense handguns are a j frame and a G19 and I have plenty for them.

          I will wait until the madness settles down before I stock up the .357 loads.

        3. avatar SoCalJack says:

          A lot of folks on the Calguns message boards are reporting ammo retailers websites crashing, no stock, and heavy price gouging. A few say thier bulk orders went through.

    4. avatar Dan k says:

      Lax ammo or freedomMunitions

      They got your ammo

  14. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    The tyrants of Commiefornia just took it in the shorts, lets hear it for the good people of the state.

  15. avatar GS650G says:

    Time for ammo runs to Nevada

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Just watch for checkpoints on the return journey.

    2. avatar Steve says:

      If you have friends in Nevada they can bring in all they want. The law only applies to Californians. Have Nevada pals bring it in.

  16. avatar Stateisevil says:

    The Kourt system will not ultimately overturn any of Kalifornia’s more serious infringements. It’s comical, and sad, that so many believe in this false hope. If you want your rights, you must take them back.

  17. avatar Rob says:

    I just called my local CA sporting goods store that sells ammo and they haven’t even heard about this and said they are still doing background checks. I think it might be a couple days before this becomes common knowledge and you don’t have to fight the guy at the counter

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Remember that nobody immediately believed Benitez’ previous ruling regarding magazines. Once that particular injunction was verified the next day, the floodgates opened up. Let’s see how stores react tomorrow morning. Smaller stores will be able to respond quickly, but larger chains will need to go through the whole “corporate memo” rigamarole, which may take a couple of weeks. And let’s not forget that ammo is in somewhat thin supply right now due to last month’s panic.

    2. avatar John says:

      Ammunition Depot is taking orders and making them a “priority” for those in Cali. Idk about the prices though and they’re all cases from what I see.

  18. avatar Rogelio Landgrave says:

    Just like “freedom week” this win for California gun owners is brought to you by ….. The National Rifle Association and The California Rifle and Pistol Association….. Support those who support our 2A Community!

  19. avatar Michael A says:

    Get a FFL03 and a COE and always have Ammo shipped to your door

  20. avatar strych9 says:

    I think we all know what to do now.

    The NYC snitch line is back up, so in celebration I suggest we flood it with “inappropriate” trolling. Apparently we gotta get creative since it’s already had mass submissions of dick pics, middle finger pics, hilter memes and reports of DeBlasio fellating other men behind convenience stores.

    Photos of piles of ammo with a note about the NY SCOTUS case might be appropriate. Maybe we can give the Mayor a freedom/CoV-2 induced stroke.

  21. avatar JRU says:

    Shop til ya drop, thank you judge!
    So glad I left Commiefornia!

  22. avatar Ed Gruberman says:

    Can we get this guy on the Supreme Court?

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      I wished that already’ Mark pointed out he’s on senior status, which means part-time, already, so not likely.

      1. avatar lao says:

        that is by choice. He can still work full time.

  23. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    Good for California.

  24. avatar GratiaEtVeritas says:

    “For a Second Amendment challenge, the Ninth Circuit uses what might be called a tripartite binary test with a sliding scale and a reasonable fit. There are three different two-part tests, after which a point on the sliding scale of scrutiny is selected. Most courts select intermediate scrutiny in the end. Intermediate scrutiny, in turn, looks for a “reasonable fit.”It is a complex analysis that only a law professor can appreciate.Worse, these complicated legal tests usually result in upholding Second Amendment restrictions upon something akin to a rational basis test. The test stands at odds with the simple test used by the Supreme Court in Heller. Heller’s test is a test that any citizen can understand. ”

    Is it just me, or is it that Judge Benitez is trying to put the 9th Circuit’s Standard of Review in contradiction to Heller? Benitez looks to be weaving Heller and Miller together in his writing as well. Maybe I’m just too simplistic, but I get the feeling that Benitez is trying to turn SCOTUS against the 9th Circuit.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      I think he’s trying to get SCOTUS to pick a case that will allow them to settle the issue by decreeing that all Second Amendment matters are to be assessed by strict scrutiny. It isn’t just the Ninth; the circuits are all over the place, and he’s hinting at that by pointing out the Ninth’s inconsistency.

      1. avatar GratiaEtVertias says:

        No kidding, I’m hoping if Trump gets a 2nd term, he can fix some of the issues in the 4th circuit. Ultimately, I think the wave of gun control will be stopped when bastions of gun control are constantly batted down by federal courts. Say what you will regarding same-sex marriage, but I think the Chief Karen Shannon Watts and her legion of flying harpees (under the guise of the Wizard of NY Bloomberg) are taking the wrong legal strategy. Most states had constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage. When Windsor struck-down DOMA, it opened the door for the Obergefell decision. IIRC, Obergefell took down state constitutions regarding prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

        Barring a massive shift in SCOTUS with regards to incorporation and a return to state sovereignty, assuming the federal judiciary is staffed with liberty minded judges and justices, the long-run of gun controllers trying to circumvent the federal government by going to the states directly will ultimately fail. The only run against this would be a constitutional convention of sorts.I’d be an old man if that were to ever happen in my lifetime.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      His criticism is merited. When laws are upheld even when the State supplies no evidence whatsoever to support its position, the Ninth is using rational basis (i.e., if the law is rational, it passes muster) clothed in the language of “intermediate scrutiny.” Of particular note, the majority in Heller specifically held that a sliding scale test was not to be used–and this is preciselty what the Ninth has been using, which by any measure is a slap in the face to the Supremes.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        Say the SCOTUS rules strict scrutiny applies – Does that mean most gun laws evaporate?

        Like the NFA?

  25. avatar Ralph says:

    Benitez is a very interesting character. He’s a Cuban-born American, appointed by W, confirmed in 2004, and graduated from what might be the worst law school in America at the time. And yet, he’s smarter than most Harvard-trained judges that I know, and I know (or knew — many of them are dead now) quite a few.

    Go figure.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      “worst law school in America at the time”

      Yeah, it wasn’t yet accredited by the American Bar Association!

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      intelligence and wisdom are different.
      harvard closed first. not smart.

  26. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Wish I had a class 06 and could flood CA right now. Make it hail guys!

  27. avatar J says:

    This is great news, but California will take it higher to the appeal it. We still have not heard from the magazine appeal in California thou.

  28. avatar Nanashi says:

    It’s a shame Judge Roger Benitez is over 70 years old.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Not quite. As said by someone who corrected me, he is 69. He turns 70 in December.

  29. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    As an observation from SC, walked into the local Sportsman warehouse the other day. Plenty of 223., 6.5 Creadmoor, and even .224 Valkyrie…Pistol carry and range ammo gone. Lots of match grade rifle ammo though. Academy is pretty much still bare. Haven’t been up to PSA in awhile, maybe tomorrow.
    There would be actual riots here if the politicians ever tried a background check for ammo purchases like California.

  30. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Congratulations to California gun owners. Especially to the new ones!!
    (Smile)

  31. avatar Jim Warren says:

    Yeah, he gave CA high cap magazines back, but then REVERSED HIMSELF a week later. Not a paragon of 2A virtue, he seems to have stability issues.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      That was done for complex legal issues. You lack research skills and intelligence.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      He DID NOT reverse himself. He merely agreed to stay the effect of his decision pending the appeal taken by the State, but that stay was on HIS terms, not the terms set by the Ninth. Those terms included an injunction against enforcement actions or prosecutions for possession of “hi-cap” mags (the law required all such mags to be turned over to the police or destroyed). Because he did that, we got Freedom Week. I sincerely doubt that the Ninth, given its ‘druthers, w ould have been so accommodating.

    3. avatar Mark N. says:

      He DID NOT reverse himself. He merely agreed to stay the effect of his decision pending the appeal taken by the State, but that stay was on HIS terms, not the terms set by the Ninth. Those terms included an injunction against enforcement actions or prosecutions for possession of “hi-cap” mags (the law required all such mags to be turned over to the police or destroyed). Because he did that, we got Freedom Week. I sincerely doubt that the Ninth, given its ‘druthers, would have been so accommodating.

  32. avatar Hannibal says:

    Not the best time to be buying ammo but it’s better than nothing.

  33. avatar Nanashi says:

    I just looked at the actual ruling. The wording really looks like he’d throw the 1968 GCA out the window if given the chance, since he attacks background checks in general, not just for this law.

  34. avatar Cyrius Conundrum says:

    This is a Preliminary Injunction which is not likely to be overturned by a three judge panel unless they find Benitez exceeded his discretion. This will likely stand until Benitez rules on the merits. California will appeal. It will likely be years of appeals before a loss would allow the law to take effect again.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      I suspect it will go just like his last injunction… which is, as a Chernobyl functionary might say, “not great, not terrible.” Although keeping ammo is not quite as useful as being able to keep legal “high capacity” magazines.

  35. avatar Kyle says:

    Bass Pro isn’t honoring it. They’re still not shipping to CA

  36. avatar Alan says:

    Be interesting to see how long this ruling lasts, for instance, will it survive the 9th Circuit Court, where it might well appear and or be considered

  37. avatar Paladin says:

    Should rule as long as the constitution has, and oh yeah shall not be infringed!
    Let’s start infringing on their 1st amendments, no speech zones, fingerprints needed, permit to conduct conversations, mental issues? Drug offenses? Only one speech per month… you too can conform to what others want! Oh but now you say we have a constitution. Funny how your equal is not so equal!

  38. avatar JF says:

    Hello. I’m a new gun owner. Does anyone here know if I can have ammo shipped to my door in Studio City, CA without any problems from the DOJ/Police? I was told Los Angeles is not included in the injunction. Thanks in advance for your insights

  39. avatar Toothy says:

    Family member lives in Illinois. When he tries to buy ammo online, his purchases get cancelled because, they say, he lives in cook county.

    They claim he must have the ammo sent to an FFL in his area. Total BS!

  40. avatar David says:

    Well that didn’t last long. The AG asked Judge Benetiz to stay his decision, and he refused, so they ran to the 9th with an emergency motion, and the 9th granted it pending “further review”.

  41. avatar Kevin says:

    What’s happening on this now?
    Ammo sales were open for 8 hours, now what?

    1. avatar Rogelio Landgrave says:

      9th Circuit issued an emergency stay….CRPA has responded …waiting…. At this point you’re able to purchase ammo with a back ground check.

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