California residents would have to register with the state, get fingerprinted, undergo a background check, and pay a state fee to buy a box of bullets if a bill in the state legislature becomes law.
Senate bill (SB) 53, which already has passed the Senate, would direct the state attorney general (the head of the Department of Justice) to collect and maintain records on all ammunition purchases. Retailers would be required to provide detailed data on such transactions to the DOJ.
“SB 53 would require the purchasers of ammunition to register with the state Department of Justice (DOJ) prior to purchasing any ammunition,” a press release from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action noted. Purchasers would be required to pay for the fingerprinting and the background check.
The bill states, “This bill would require the Attorney General to also maintain copies of ammunition purchase permits, information about ammunition transactions, as specified, and ammunition vendor licenses, as specified, for those purposes.”
Another Assault On Gun Rights
Supporters say the purpose of the law is to prevent individuals in the DOJ’s Prohibited Persons File from buying ammunition. Prohibited persons include felons, the mentally ill, and persons with restraining orders against them. Another bill in the California state legislature, AB 1014, would allow judges to issue a gun restraining order that could effectively put any citizen in the Prohibited Persons File, as Off The Grid News previously reported. That bill deals with the mentally ill.
“Under existing law, a person who is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having under his or her custody or control, any ammunition or reloaded ammunition,” the text of legislation states.
Senate Bill 53 was sponsored by state Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), the president pro tem.
De Leon has a long history of supporting gun control legislation. In January De Leon introduced a bill that would ban plastic “ghost guns” that cannot be picked up by metal detectors and would restrict the manufacture of homemade weapons in California.
Background Checks Might Not Become Law
Both the state Senate and the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee have passed SB 53. It would have to be passed by the Assembly to go to the governor.
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill also sponsored by de Leon in 2011, the NRA noted. Brown has a mixed record on gun control.
Even if Brown signs the law it might not go into effect because a similar California state law was struck down as unconstitutional, although the decision is being appealed. That law (AB 962) requires a background check for the purchase of handgun ammunition and bans mail order ammo sales.
“SB 53 would place drastic and unjustified restrictions on law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to reduce violent crime,” a letter from the NRA to state legislators reads. The required fee would itself exceed the annual cost of ammo each year, the NRA said.
“Criminals will simply buy the ammunition elsewhere, steal it, purchase it on the black market, reload their own ammunition, or use a straw purchaser,” the letter says.
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