Gun owners in California are buying ammunition en masse as they prepare for a new ammo background check law that is set to go into effect on July 1. Beginning next month, every time a person in the state purchases ammo, he or she must undergo a background check.
The new law was passed back in 2016 when California voters passed Prop. 63, the gun control law then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) championed.
“From San Bernardino to Ventura to Poway, too many Californians have already died from gun violence,” now-Gov. Newsom said last week. “I championed Prop. 63 because it is beyond time that we take common sense actions such as these to keep deadly ammo out of the wrong hands and protect our communities.”
Proponents of the law say it will weed out prohibited possessors because it forces people to purchase their ammo face-to-face instead of online.
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. Remember, they have to be paid for their time as well.
Gun owners know the rather stupid law is coming so now they're stockpiling ammo...and who could blame them? There's absolutely no incentive for them to buy ammo down the road. They're better off buying a brick of 1,000 rounds for a few hundred bucks than buying a small box here and there.
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 pissed off.”
These are just a few promotions that have ran at various gun stores throughout the state.
Six-time Olympian Kim Rhode, in conjunction with the California Rifle and Pistol Association, filed a lawsuit against the state in April 2018, challenging the legality of the law.
According to Rhode, the regulations could prevent her from practicing for the Olympics. When I spoke with her at SHOT Show earlier this year, she told me how this law would personally impact her, as an Olympic athlete. Her ammo sponsor would no longer be allowed to mail her boxes of rounds for her to use during practice. Essentially, she'd no longer have a company paying for her practice rounds, which is, arguably, the most expensive part of the shooting sports.
“These regulations essentially prevent me from being able to stay qualified and not only hurt my skill, but jeopardize the United States’ representation at the Olympic Games,” Rhode told the Times.
The real kicker in this gun control move: criminals aren't going to suddenly decide to comply with the law. They're not going to say, "Oh, darn. I'm not allowed to have ammo so I'm going to stop committing crimes." If that were the case, they wouldn't have firearms, despite them being prohibited possessors. Another law doesn't make someone wake up one day and decide they're going to change their ways.
This law will only do two things: 1) price law-abiding gun owners who want to protect themselves or participate in the shooting sports from being able to do so and 2) increase the number of straw purchases. Because, you know, criminals will do anything in their power to get their hands on whatever it is they want.