New CA Law Requires Background Check For Ammo Purchases

P. Gardner Goldsmith | June 18, 2019
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Just in time to honor Independence Day, on July 1, a new statute in California will take effect, mandating that anyone attempting to purchase ammunition there must show a government-issued ID and undergo a state “background check” that will be dragged through the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

What an unusual sight: contemporary politicians attacking the rights American Revolutionaries fought to defend.

As attorney Joe Wolverton II writes for The New American, the statute is the result of a state referendum called “Proposition 63”, and demonstrates the wisdom in the statement, often attributed to Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson, and possibly originating from the great contemporary writer James Bovard, “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting over dinner.”

Simply put, “democracy” is not synonymous with, nor a bulwark for, individual liberty.

Indeed, the majority of Californians who voted for this “referendum” in 2016 chose to use the force of the state to threaten people engaging in private market trade, and to force them to undergo invasive searches of their backgrounds and use government-approved IDs. This is the very definition of the threat “democracy” represents, and is the beating heart behind why the US Constitution includes the Bill of Rights, strictly prohibiting the government from mandating these kinds of restrictions and infringements.

Proposition 63 required individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. The measure mandated dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition. The measure also eliminated several exemptions to the large-capacity magazines ban and increased the penalty for possessing them. Proposition 63 enacted a court process that attempts to ensure prohibited individuals do not continue to have firearms.

Which is a beautiful demonstration of how the artifice of government allows people to do to their neighbors things they would never do face-to-face. They simply “vote” away their neighbors’ rights and wash their hands of it, letting the machine of the state handle the coercion and threaten arrest for non-compliance.

And even if one decouples from principle, is the law practically warranted? The propaganda line for the referendum was that “reasonable” and “common sense” statutes were needed in order to curb “gun violence.”

Apart from the fact that those are amorphous collectivist catch phrases that call political mandates “common sense” and allow the state to determine what is “reasonable” even as they bamboozle and burgle people’s rights, the facts tell us that firearms not only curb violent crime, they are used to stop crimes 3.6 times more often than they are used to engage in them.

Then, of course, there is the practical capper, which is that prohibition doesn’t work. History tells us that those already intent on breaking laws will not abide by the laws. In fact, all this statute will do is increase the cost of ammunition for law-abiding people, and place that cash in the hands of the government, as  Beth Baumann of Town Hall notes:

What it's really doing? Jacking up the price of ammo so law-abiding gun owners can't afford to carry... A $14 box of 50 rounds of .9mm will now cost $34 ($1 for the background check, $19 for the basic ammunition eligibility check if they aren't in the Dealer Record of Sale system). That means that the price per round jumps from .35 to .68. That's just about double the current price. And that's just what they're proposing fee wise. It hasn't been finalized yet. Most Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) generally charge $25-$30 every time they run a background check and we have no idea if they'll have to tack on that fee.

So, as she also observes:

Mike Hein of Ade’s Gun Shop in Orange told the Los Angeles Times he has seen a more than 10 percent increase in customers making bulk purchases of 1,000 rounds. 'People are starting to stock up. We stocked up on ammunition,” he said. “Most people know about the deadline. They are running scared. They are pi***d off.'

And this is just one small facet of the new restrictions the government of California is placing on the right to keep and bear arms. A right, we must remember, which is not supposed to be touchable by government.

As CNBC reports, CA this year is instituting Assembly Bill 1968, which “…mandates a lifetime ban on the ownership of firearms for individuals if they were involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility more than once within a one-year period because they were deemed a danger to themselves or others.”

Who could ever see the state abusing that?

Then there’s Assembly Bill 3129 which “puts a lifetime ban on gun ownership or possession for individuals convicted on or after Jan. 1, 2019, of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or for battery on a spouse, cohabitant or person the defendant currently or previously dated or engaged in a relationship.”

And as CBS 13 reports, there’s already the CA ban on people under 21 legally buying rifles and handguns.

All of which makes the ever-loving collectivist Governor, Gavin Newsom, observably pleased.

One thing that has not pleased gun-grabbers like him is the fact that in March, San Diego-based US District Judge Roger Benitez struck down the CA ban on ammo magazines of more than ten bullets, saying, "Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts.”

But they are in the eyes of collectivists, and always have been.

And this is likely why the left-collectivists in CA are so excited to be making it harder for law-abiding people to buy ammo. They know there are still judges like Benitez out there, and so they will try everything they can to make it more expensive to get ammunition.

And they’ll take that cash to fund more state attacks on freedom.

Something to keep in mind. There’s a saying that tells us, “As goes California, so goes the nation.”

Let’s home that’s not true.


(Cover Photo by Vinay Karadagi from Pexels)

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