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In yet another victory for California’s beleaguered gun owners, a federal court has struck down the state law requiring in-person background checks for each purchase of standard ammunition.

In the case Rhode v. Bonta, Judge Robert Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled on Jan. 31 that the restriction not only violated the Second Amendment, but also has “no historical pedigree.”

“The ammunition background checks laws have no historical pedigree and operate in such a way that they violate the Second Amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms,” Judge Bonta wrote in his ruling. “The anti-importation components violate the dormant Commerce Clause and to the extent applicable to individuals traveling into California are preempted by 18 U.S.C. § 926A.

“Perhaps the simpler, four-year and $50 ammunition purchase permit approved by the voters in Proposition 63, would have fared better.”

Throughout the court process, the background check restriction was shown to be ineffective in what supporters had said it would do. Since it took effect, it mistakenly blocked 16.4% of lawful ammo purchases due to various administrative errors and database issues, while only catching .03% of purchases that were accurately prohibited.

The suit was brought by the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CPRA) on behalf of a number of ammunition sellers and shooters.

“Today’s ruling represents continued affirmation that the Bruen decision, and Heller before that, represent a sea change in the way courts must look at these absurdly restrictive laws,” CRPA President and General Counsel Chuck Michel said in a news alert. “Sure, the state will appeal, but the clock is ticking on laws that violate the Constitution.”

One of the parties listed in the suit, online retailer Ammunition Depot, was also quite pleased with the ruling.

“Like millions of gun owners, we share a deep appreciation for the freedoms guaranteed to us by our nation’s constitution, and we were alarmed by the overt violations this system sought to infringe on Second Amendment rights for our country’s most populous state,” Ammunition Depot CEO Dan Wolgin said following the decision. “We applaud the court’s decision, and Ammunition Depot is proud to have joined Kim Rhode, the CRPA and all others in this fight to protect the liberties we all hold dear as Americans.”

Judge Benitez had ruled against the law back in 2020, saying that it not only made California the only state in U.S. history to place such heavy restrictions on simple ammo purchases, but its convoluted policies created widespread hassle and confusion for residents, visitors, vendors and industry workers alike. Since then, the case has been tied up in appeals.

Of course, California’s anti-gun Gov. Gavin Newsom, who some people still consider a Democrat presidential contender in 2024, isn’t content to let the ruling stand, no matter how unconstitutional it is.

“Like clockwork, Judge Benitez has yet again put his personal politics and fealty for the gun lobby over the Constitution and common sense,” Newsom said. “California will fight this extremist, illogical and incoherent ruling as we defend our life-saving measures that are proven to keep our communities safe.”

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  1. So far, nearly every site I’ve visited still doesn’t ship to CA and hasn’t updated. PSA does, but is pretty much sold out of common calibers now. This is similar to what happened back in 2019 when Benitez gave us our magazine “Freedom Week”. Took at least two days for sellers to confirm and update their sites to accept CA orders.

    AG Bonta is moving fast to stop this, though, so time is of the essence. I put some selections into my cart at PSA, and it showed as in stock with plenty more for others. But by the time I went to checkout, one of them was already gone and had to be removed.

    • KIR Ammo, and Trueshotammo were taking orders early this morning. Thank you Judge St. Benitez! The tyrants are really getting pissed, and let’s not stop the progress on regaining at least part of our freedoms in this lefty universe of constitutional oath breakers.

      • I just tried TSA, and while they have a splash banner stating they’re now shipping to CA, they still won’t process my order without an FFL recipient. Seems like they’re not truly updated.

        • They were by the end of the day, but not at the beginning of the day. Remember, each seller had to confirm the news as true, then contact their IT guys to make the proper updates to their sites. As I continued checking each hour throughout the day, I noted that sites began allowing CA sales one-by-one. It was expected.

    • AmmoJoy sent an email today about how they’re shipping to Calif. I’ve ordered frequently from them, good company.

    • I got an email earlier saying Rainier Arms will. Can’t confirm, I don’t live on the left coast anymore.

  2. Judge Benitez really knows his stuff, and he’s up there working for us. BUT, remember, just about every time Judge Benitez rules in our favor, the Silly Circuit finds a way to overrule him. Let’s wait a bit, and see what comes of this.

  3. CA folks need to move fast as the forces of the anti-Constitution party will quickly appeal this to the 9th Circus for their anti-gun rubber stamp.

    • Not much we can do until sellers update their sites to allow direct sales. I know a few friends who are checking in hourly, just as I am.

        • No need. Finally got through on a reasonably priced site and backed up the truck with a hefty order. It’s just taking a while for retailers to confirm the ruling, contact their respective IT guys, and have their sites properly updated. Similar to what happened with our 2019 Freedom Week.

          I’m considering placing another order, because Bonta…

        • Get the fuck out of California Haz. I lived there from 1973 to 2015. I witnessed the truly Golden State go from paradise to the shithole that it is now. Family there or not. Tell them I’m gone! Meet me when you can.

  4. The delay in opening sales to CA may be a sales tax thing. If the online store isn’t already set up to charge, collect, report, and pay CA sales tax, they will have to get that sorted. How quickly will CA be in helping all these sellers to set it up?

  5. California,,,?
    I’m just here for the midget wearing a yellow thong wielding a whip while riding a scantily dressed hairy man in a leather harness.

  6. The dims are making life difficult if ILL annoy. Had my 1st ever background BS check for ammo. In Indiana-you have lost my business Sheepdog Dyer! Cabelas always asks for a FOID but doesn’t go beyond that. I’m pretty well set save for a civil war. Enjoy yer halfazzed “freedom Commiefornia🙄

  7. It’s a pity that legal fees can’t/won’t be levied on those who write and enact unconstitutional laws. In places like Cali and New York where SCOTUS is ignored at will, such law-fare would probably be vastly reduced.

  8. FWIW: I got a text from Brownell’s this morning saying they’re shipping ammo to Kaliforniastan.
    I didn’t follow up: I mostly “roll my own “ these days.

  9. So they knowingly violated the 2nd amendment and no punitive damages? Why not? Begs the question: Did governor Newsom conspire with other to violate California citizens 2nd amendment rights?


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