california ammunition background check
A photo from The Time Before (Dan Z for TTAG)
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Well, the California ammunition background check system is working pretty much exactly as the hoplophobic hacks in Sacramento intended. For those of you who aren’t aware, ammunition purchases in the Golden State are subjected to pretty much the same background check requirement as firearm purchases are.

Now, some preliminary numbers are in as to how well the law is keeping dangerous gun food out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have it.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.

Yet another 62,000 ammunition purchases were rejected as well. Those people left empty-handed because their personal information hadn’t been entered into the state’s system, or the information on their identification cards didn’t match what officials had entered into the California gun registry database, which retail sellers must review when they do the ammunition background check.

If my iPhone calculator is working, that means about 18% of law-abiding citizens have been refused state permission to buy ammunition. Almost one in five. But the good news is .02% of the interrupted transactions were attempted by actual prohibited persons.

The numbers only came out as a result of a lawsuit filed agains the state over the law.

The rejection numbers are detailed in court documents Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego in response to a pending lawsuit that’s seeking to overturn to the new gun laws. The suit was filed by the California Rifle & Pistol Association. The case’s lead plaintiff is Kim Rhode, an Olympic shooter and National Rifle Association board member.

So to recap, the most anti-gun state in the union did what they do best. They created a huge new system and bureaucracy to put up yet more hurdles and add more expense in the name of screwing gun owners making the state safer from “gun violence.”

Yet the only practical result of the law is that the vast majority of those caught up in the bureaucratic web, those prevented from buying ammunition for their firearms are…law-abiding gun owners.

Who could possibly have seen something like this happening?


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    • Only now the exchange, only for a bit more money per round, will take place in the Walmart parking lot from a friendly ammo smuggler. This kind of stuff is so incredibly stupid.

  1. “Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.”

    The law wasn’t designed to prevent the “prohibited person” from obtaining ammunition,rather to make it harder for the law abiding Commiefornians to exercise their Constitutional rights. As that is what the numbers show that civilian disarmament proponents intended with the law.

    • The Washington State Universal Background Check, when last I heard it had stopped 152 ineligible” people. However, there’s been 1 conviction under the law. Why?
      “ One reason why “lie and try” cases aren’t pursued more often is cost. The Washington law established a fund to reimburse local law enforcement up to $500 for each transaction denial it investigates. But so far, WASPC has received only three grant requests, only one of which resulted in a prosecution.”

      However, in just 2019, the state had 627, 301 background checks. Does anyone see a problem?

  2. It isn’t a flaw, it’s a feature….
    This is why you bought your stock when iPods were still a thing!

  3. So how many more years before all the REAL citizens leave the cesspool and the only ones left are the politicians and the miscreants they entitled.

    • Hopefully It’s a few weeks before we put up the wall around the whole state and declare them an America free, Independent (hostile) country and sever all relations with them

    • Sure, Dennis. Do you have a well-paying job waiting for me? Where I only have to commute less than 10 miles from home? And where I’m part of upper management and have solid job security? You know, to match what I’ve earned here in CA over my lifetime at my current employer? I have all of this now right where I am.

      It’s not easy to leave an area where it’s less than an hour each direction to sandy beaches, cool mountains, open desert, or ample metropolitan entertainment. And let’s not forget a good church that teaches solidly from Scripture (not feelz like Joel Osteen or Hillsong).

      It’s not as simple as you make it out to be.

      Besides, if I left CA along with all the remaining conservatives, who would be left to continue the fight here to keep it from spreading faster to your state?

      • Fighting isn’t working and you are giving up your liberty for a paycheck….quite the patriot!
        The soapbox and ballot box aren’t working….

        • Sure, Michael. So you’re advocating (along with Dennis) that those of us in CA who are fighting (by donating money to FPC, GOA, SAF), voting, and taking new people to the range to educate them on guns and the 2A aren’t doing anything worthwhile, and we should abandon our posts? So the Left can pass even more gun control and spread to other states, and so you can complain even more?

          Sounds to me like you don’t understand the situation at all. I’m doing my part to help stem the tide. What are you doing, other than pointing fingers?

        • You do realize California gun groups have thus far achieved a lot more in fighting their absurd laws and have several cases pending that could have far more dramatic consequences than anything out of the east coast right?

        • Yes, I can see you are winning!!! And I didn’t say abandon your post, quite the opposite but maybe you should read more to understand the reference.

        • lots of words….funny thing though, I notice you didn’t offer him that job he was asking about.

          Two sides of this coin are:
          Side 1) If you give up liberty for security, you deserve neither argument.
          Side 2) If I dont have security, my family and I are living in a cardboard box and have neither liberty (as I’m either arrested for vagrancy or dead) nor security.

          Its always very easy to tell someone else to give up their life to “fight the good fight” when you have your life in a location where “fighting the good fight” has no real consequence.

      • Haz, I get what your saying and while there is truth to it we all pick our poisons. I’ll give up a quick drive to the hills or beach so when I walk out my door I’m still standing on free ground.

        • …unless the Blue Tide continues unchecked and spreads closer to where you are, thereby threatening your own free ground. Don’t forget that CA was a conservative red state only four decades ago. That’s a massive swing within the span of less than two generations. If we conservatives here in CA give up, you can be certain the circus will come to your town even quicker.

          I’m really not understanding why all of you in “Free America” aren’t appreciating all we here in CA are doing to help slow the tide. We’re indirectly helping you as well.

        • Not sure where you read that y’all’s help is unappreciated. I simply stated that having a choice I prefer to live in a gun friendly area. We all have a choice, executing that choice may be more difficult for some but it’s a freedom we all have last I checked. All of us 2a lovers fight for our rights and beliefs. Doesn’t matter where your fighting as long as your still in the fight.

        • I agree with Haz for obvious reasons. I’ve lived here my whole life, but we’re leaving when I can pull my retirement without consequences. I’m a single issue voter (guns) and I could care less about most anything else. I’m extremely conservative by California standards and probably a flaming lib by some of your standards. So don’t worry about me and how hard I have it here. I’ll bring my voting dollars and soft liberalism to your state soon enough. The hardcore California libs will be coming shortly thereafter, and your children will experience my life: watching a red state turn blue, while people in “free” states deride them for not moving someplace “free”. Who knows, maybe you’ll be an old man talking about how 40 years ago your state wasn’t a blue state either….. wash, rinse, repeat. California > Oregon > Washington > Arizona > Nevada > Colorado > now Virginia, next Florida, then Texas.

      • Face it, Haz: You’re not even slowing California’s progressive retardation, and you never will. You’re vastly outnumbered by progbots and morons.

        Whether you stay or go, nothing in California will change.

        However, if only 50% of California’s conservatives pulled up stakes and moved to another western state, you could tip Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and possibly also Arizona from blue to freedom-colored red — and it would stay that way for decades.

        Also, there ARE plenty of well-paid jobs in all those other states. Just keep looking and you’ll find one. Even if you take a 30% pay cut, between the lower cost of living and the fat $$$ you’d make on your California real estate, you’d still be money ahead. And just think how nice it would be to live in a place that isn’t completely ruled by progtards.

        I know, easier said than done. But it’s the only thing you can do that will actually help your situation and ours.

        • Disagree, Ing. If I’m currently at the front lines, I’ll continue the fight in the belly of the beast, even while my so-called 2A brethren mock me from the comfort of their rocking chairs. I guarantee you that every small victory we achieve in beating back the dragon (such as this past year’s Freedom Week) tastes sweeter to our tongues than they ever will on those who have no part of it.

          “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives”.

          I’ll continue the good fight, alongside my CA brethren like Mark N. and SoCalJack.

        • Ing, fair points. The media has painted the picture well of how the US libereal/dems see California. Of course the media wont talk about how CA gun owners continue to buy a shit ton of guns every year, and more counties and people are able to obtain a CCW license. Unconstitutional CA gun laws TRY to slow us gun owners down. When only the cops and criminals have guns, then it’s time to leave, until then CA gun owners will continue to support each other (via Calguns, GOC, CRPA) , buy more guns & ammo, hunt, bring in new shooters, teach our youth, argue with Antis on social media, keep shooting and carry on smartly. It ain’t over yet.

      • I call shenanigans.
        “.. where it’s less than an hour each direction to sandy beaches, cool mountains, open desert, or ample metropolitan entertainment.”

        you can not get from sandy beaches to mountains, from open desert to ample metropolitan entertainment in less than an hour in Southern California.
        no. freaking. way. you are lying to yourself or you live in a very specific location. The harsh reality of socal is, whenever someone comes from out of town and asks
        “How far is it to Disneyland?” the answer is always “Depends. hour to an hour and a half or more”

        “No, I mean how *far*, as in miles?”
        “.. aren’t you precious? 😂”

        We tell everyone who comes to visit “If you fly into LAX to save a little bit on airfare, plan on spending triple what you saved to Uber to the house. We will NOT come and get you or drop you off.”
        “But it’s only 83 miles”
        No Sparky , it’s anywhere from 2 hours going and possibly 2-4 hours returning. that’s potentially a 4-6 hour round trip.. there’s a reason people in California measure distance in time and not miles.

    • According to the law it’s illegal to purchase ammo in another state and bring it into CA, unless you then jump through all hoops in CA as well. According to some and observers on the ground in CA the state popo are hanging out in NV gun store parking lots looking for CA tags and following them back to CA and stopping them for searches.

      • That’s a broad statement that too many people are incorrectly circulating, Craig. It’s *generally* not legal to import ammo from outside CA, but it *is* legal in some circumstances to import up to 50 rds per person. And the law has no clarification whatsoever of how many times this can be done (per week? per day?).

        BTW, in my discussions with certain LEO friends, they’ve confirmed that the rumors about CHP collaborating with AZ & NV Depts to check gun shows/stores are true.

      • Simple ways around this: Don’t park at the shop/show. Park a block away and walk. Park miles away and take public transportation, taxi, or Uber. Use a rental car with non-CA plates (and save wear and tear on your car from the long trip).

    • Still building the bullet train (pun intended) to carry those 101 souls out of state to buy their ammo…and get home by noon to wait at the mail box for their welfare check.

  4. It is very simple. Hoplophobes believe that weapons cause violence and the logic of getting rid of weapons is the blatantly obvious solution.

    They are wrong.

    As are most people who panic in the face of unreasoning fear.

    • And the real movers and shakers on the left know that armed population is a barrier to materialization of their socialist utopia dreams. So they use the hoplophobes’ fear of “gun violence” as a convenient pretext for public disarmament.
      Gun control was never about fighting violent crime. It’s only a fake facade of power grab and attempts of absolute control over disarmed masses.
      If leftists cared about violent crime, they wouldn’t plan releasing violent criminals from prisons.

  5. And they’ll never admit their “system” is broken, nor will they make any attempt to fix it…ca doesn’t care who’s rights they violate, as long as they they get their tax revenues and fed $$$…

    I’ve said all along, the ONLY way to get ca in line with the rest of the country, an in line with the Constitution is to take away their fed $$$ until they comply, without federal $$$, they’d last about a month…

      • Believing what…??? And just WhoTF are you referring to as “sheeple”…???

        It’s asshats like you, who don’t know or understand shit who’ll be the first to run in the face of confrontation…so GFY asswipe…

        Fuckface dipshit…

        • you for one. Thanks for the educated response, perhaps you should read what the founding fathers wrote instead of resorting to profanity.

        • WI Patriot,

          I have to stand with Michael on this one. You just blew all your credibility with your vulgarity-laced rant just because you disagreed with someone.

          That’s what the Left is famous for. We POTG should be better than that.

  6. The best thing to do to California is simply……..TURN OFF THE WATER!! 70% of CA’s water comes from out of State, and the Federal Government controls that Water Supply. Turn it off, and dehydrate/starve that Maoist f***-up of a SHITHOLE.

    These Stalinist filth that have destroyed that State brag with a poshy hoytee-toytee attitude about how much of a beautiful Progressive Utopia that they are, how they’re the “5th Largest Economy in the World” and such.

    CA has 11.5% of America’s total population but has 32% of the Country’s homeless, and has the highest proportional and quantitative poverty rates; INCOME INEQUALITY.

    CA Liberal Stalinist filth brag about their (PHONEY!!) “Budget Surpluses” but the State has more debt at all of it’s government levels than all of the Red States combined.

    This is what you get under 1-Party Democrat Rule, and it’s a shame that the good ‘ole Demographics keep voting it in like sheep, but then again……..LOOK AT MEXICO………America’s future, barring something catastrophic that flips the Electorates of some of the large Blue States.

    • California does have a budget surplus because the legislature blindly refuses to do anything about the impending collapse of the State retirement system (PERS) that has grossly underfunded liabilities. This is the result of state and county public entities promising future benefits because they do not have the money for much needed raises. The low estimate of that liability is $200 million, and the high end is over a trillion dollars.

      Mos of California’s water comes from ins-state sources, and not the Colorado River. That water comes from Northern California and the Sierras that is shipped south by a giant canal running down the middle of the Central Valley. Even then, Los Angeles has and is outgrowing available water supplies, and that must come to a bad end at the point the environment will no longer support the population. This has happened any number of times in Central and South America.

  7. Californians have more important issues to deal with. You don’t have to shut the water off. If you believe the climate change radicals, this will happen within a few years. Same thing will happen in Las Vegas, Phoenix and other desert cities. Back to guns, I have read the constitution and the bill of rights. It doesn’t need to be interpreted. I know what it says. here in Washington state with the passing of I-1639. The state government has already violated our rights. If I have to asked the gov’t for permission to exercise a right, that right has been violated, it’s really that simple. Here in Washington to buy a Ruger 10/22, not only do you have to take a safety class, have the Sheriff approve it and also release your private medical records ( violation of Hippa laws). All this to exercise a right? It’s no longer a right if I have to ask permission. Enough is enough. I will not comply. Anyone else waiting for the next revolution?.

    • Don’t forget the extra $18 you have to separately pay to the state for the privilege of buying your 10/22 assault weapon.

  8. And just how do you get your correct information into a system in a state as screwed up as California? What kind of I.D. can they require since the state produces much of it from birth certificates on down? It’s like the situation I was in when one February my county sent me a second prospective jury form because I hadn’t responded to the first one. The one I got had my old address with my new address on the little yellow USPS sticker. I responded by sending the county a copy of my NEW voters registration that had been issued the previous October. I also included a color copy of their envelope with the address change sticker on it. I should have asked if I could help in updating their system.

    • It isn’t an issue with the ID, it is an issue with whether the system shows that you have a record of the purchase of at least one firearm with the state. If, for example, your only gun is a rifle bought prior to 1/1/2013, then you are not in the system and you cannot buy ammo unless you voluntarily register the rifle with the state.

    • ^This.

      Been stocking up on all the reloading components I can. I know damn well they’ll be coming for powder and primers next. Regulate them as “explosive devices”. Don’t think they can touch brass or any shell casing metals. Most likely ban lead bullets completely for environmental reasons.

      Honestly, F**k California.

  9. Can you imagine the outcry if government approval was required for every abortion and 18% of the applications were denied because of bureaucratic mistakes?

    • There has been. Every time a “Heartbeat Bill” or other pro-life measure is passed, the Left screams and challenges it to court.

      Think about that statement. Every time legislation is passed to move the needle over toward the side of actually protecting human life (you know, one of government’s few legitimate responsibilities), the Left tries to stop it, and often succeeds.

  10. Well kids in ILLinois if this BS comes to my state there’s gunshops right across the eastern border that don’t ask ID on ammo purchases. I even sent a “sketchy” buddy to an Indiana shop & he had no problems. Cabelas is NOT one them(or WallyWorld)…

  11. I like the article. However, it leaves a gaping hole in that it did not indicate how many of the 101 were prosecuted for attempting the illegal purchase. The evidence is there in the form of the paperwork for the background check. Remember no one is above the law in illegal activities

  12. I agree with everything in your article except this: “For those of you who aren’t aware, ammunition purchases in the Golden State are subjected to pretty much the same background check requirement as firearm purchases are.”

    In actuality, they are not at all alike. For a gun purchase, the applicant’s name is searched against a database of all criminal files and all civil adjudications of danger to one’s self or others, including CLETS for restraining orders. A check is also made against NCIS. The waiting period is ten days.

    For ammunition, the first check is to see if the purchaser has a record of a firearm in the DOJ’s DROS database. One must own at least one firearm “registered” (the state claims it is not registration but…), but the trick is that the registration must match the address shown on one’s Ca. ID or driver’s license. If they don’t, rejection. If no registration, rejection (i.e., handguns purchased prior to the date registration began, which I don’t recall, or long guns purchased after 1/1/2013). If you pass that test, they run your name against the APPS database, i.e., the list of felons, domestic abusers, and involuntarily detained mental health patients. If a hit there, rejection. If not, the sale goes through. It is supposed to happen nearly instantaneously because it is (supposed to be) entirely automated. The problem with the system is that there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of firearms that are LEGALLY not “registered” with the state, And the system is buggy–even people with a current COE have been rejected.

    • 100% correct, Mark.

      You can pencil me in as one of the lawful gun owners who is not allowed to buy ammo in my own home state – where I was born, raised, and lived my entire life as a law-abiding citizen – because of the absurdity of the new law’s requirements.

      • Go buy a sub-$200 handgun and you will be good to go. Have at least one registered gun, and can buy ammo for ANY gun. But since you haven’t done so recently, you will probably have to take the test, pay the $25 fee, and get a firearms safety certificate. 30 questions, multiple choice, and they give you a handout to read before you take the test that has all the answers. Unless your short term memory is shot, it’s a breeze.

  13. Yeah sure wake up. Out of those 101 people they just may have stopped the next mass shooter but I know that does not compute because the body count can never be too high in a mass shooting because it might inconvenience you to go through a 5 minute back ground check. Just remember the next kid that gets gunned down may be your own.

    • So you are saying that it is better that 35,000 law abiding individuals (so far) should have their constitutional rights denied to assure that a few prohibited persons will not acquire ammunition from a licensed vendor and not the street?

      Are you unaware that very few of the mass shooters we have had are actually prohibited persons? In fact, not one of the mass shooters in California was a prohibited person.

      • (well, actually, the recent Saugus High School shooter was a 16-yr-old minor in unsupervised possession of a handgun, so…)

        But other than that, you’re correct. Even that youngster would have gotten ammo anywhere. If he was able to get a gun, then ammo is even easier.

        • Bingo. Last I heard, no one knows where he got the gun or the ammo. He certainly did not buy either at a store, and supposedly none were in the home. The gun appears to have been an 80% build, so he–or a builder–could have legally acquired the parts, but the ammo is another issue unless someone bought the ammo for him.

    • Okay, Vlad.

      You’re using the classic “liberty vs. security” argument, which never works. You’re saying it’s better that everyone gives up their liberty to buy a little bit of security. And by your own admission, it hasn’t prevented any crime…you simply admitted that the BGC hassle “may” have prevented a crime.

      • Until its your kid that gets his brains blown out and then the dim light bulb goes on in your head. Brilliant.

        • By his ‘logic’, all cars should be outlawed. Public transportation only.

          30,000 lives saved annually…

    • Maybe one of those people was a battered woman on the run from her crazy boyfriend who had some old conviction 30 years ago. But you don’t give a shit about those victim now do you?

    • “Out of those 101 people they just may have stopped the next mass shooter…”
      Yes, one of the 101 prohibited people might have been planning a mass murder.
      Or one of the tens of thousands non prohibited, but stopped from purchase anyway, people might be a future mass murderer.
      Or any of the rest ammo buyers might.
      Or none of them. The operative here is MIGHT.

      Which other natural, civil, constitutionally protected human rights are you willing to abrogate in order to prevent a crime that someone somewhere MIGHT be planning?

  14. The point I ponder is if they caught 101 prohibited persons, 1) what did they do to them, if anything. 2) how many prohibited people fell through the cracks because data was not up to date. 3) if I am falsely denied ammo, then something bad happens and I can not defend myself, who besides myself will suffer consequences?

    No one in power will care until the elites’ body guards run out of ammo.

    Nothing could be better than the government taking care of you while cleaning out you wallet with taxes.

  15. It’s all about hassling gun owners…let’s be honest…
    they don’t care about who is getting denied…just that they get denied

  16. When I saw this bill coming down the pike I stocked up. And stocked up some more. And I go to Utah a couple of times a year.

    • Same here. And I go out of state for…um…events…several times per year. Sometimes my car weighs a few pounds more coming back. Blame it on Cracker Barrel?…

  17. Serious shooters in California are reloading. Eventually they will demand record keeping on components and machinery. A lot more effort than arresting thieves or illegals.

    • The data being recorded now is unreal. The statute calls for the recording of the caliber and amount, but the regulations require the recording of the caliber, bullet weight, bullet type, muzzle velocity, manufacturer, and intended use (range, plinking or hunting). I have no idea what utility this mass of data has.

      • I *suspect* it has to do with building a gun owner ‘profile’ as to their typical ammunition purchases.

        That way, if there is a ‘abnormal’ purchase or purchases, it can flag an owner for closer scrutiny. They probably believe if there is a sudden large purchase it could indicate a potential mass shooting, like the Aurora, Colorado killer who bought something like 6,000 rounds in a short period of time.

        The only problem is, someone can break a mass shooting record with nothing more than 2 boxes of 50 rounds each of ammo, a typical value for an hour or 2 at a gun range…

  18. I think we can agree that this is a form of harassment. as such I think a nice class action lawsuit since it DOES violate the 2a rights. but also constitutes a deformation of character on law abiding citizens. perhaps a background check on the communist party ( domocraptic national party of the USSA) is in order. and we do it every time they meet and every time they go to say something.

  19. No doubt there are problems as with any government run program. And if you haven’t bought a firearm over the past few years being ‘circulated’ in the system and your dealing with a clueless wal-mart worker, then you may have problems. I have had no question or problem buying ammo for myself and am glad to hear that it has weeded out some legitimately.
    (…that means about 18% of law-abiding citizens have been refused state permission to buy ammunition)
    Let us not assume that the remaining 18% are all law-abiding by default. In the age of information hacking and identity theft there maybe complicated outside factors that can interfere with the process.
    Certainly not a law that I voted for but we got it now and so it is important to make the distinction between a bad gun owner and a good gun owner.

    • BBQ Bill is why these laws get so much support. ‘ So long as I can still buy the amount that interests me, I see nothing wrong with stepping on everyone elses toes in the name of safety.”

      This is the majority of Californians mentality, and why they are so despised by the rest of the Nation.

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