Here We Go: Unenforceable Background Checks Being Proposed (Again) For Ammunition Purchases in California

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Oct 20, 2015 9:35 AM
Here We Go: Unenforceable Background Checks Being Proposed (Again) For Ammunition Purchases in California

In addition to new gun control measures, California is moving on to ammunition control. 

Former San Francisco Mayor, current California Lt. Governor and gubenatorial candidate Gavin Newsom has proposed a background check requirement for ammunition in the Golden State. More from the Wall Street Journal

The measure would require background checks for those seeking to purchase ammunition, Mr. Newsom said. It would also ban possession of large-capacity magazines with 11 rounds or more.

“California can set the tone for the rest of the nation with these common-sense public-safety provisions,” he said. “We will lead the nation.”

If California enacts a point-of sale-background check on ammunition, done at the time of purchase, it could become the only state to have such a provision. New York State passed a similar provision in 2013, but has suspended it as officials develop a way to implement the law. Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey require a license for those who buy or possess ammunition, and a background check is required to obtain such a license, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

It should be noted a similar proposal was rejected by California lawmakers, including current Governor Jerry Brown, just last year: 

Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) originally proposed that residents who buy bullets be required to get a state permit and undergo a background check before the purchase to make sure they can legally own guns, but Gov. Jerry Brown opposed that scheme.

The revised bill that failed Saturday would have required ammo sellers to provide information on purchasers to the state Department of Justice after the fact, including name, address, date of birth, date of the sale, brand type and amount.
The NRA has already slammed the measure and plans to fight the proposal should it move back into the legislature.
These initiatives would ban and force surrender of common, standard-capacity magazines; require background checks for every ammunition sale; require prohibited persons to surrender their firearms; encourage greater sharing of information with federal law enforcement; and punish gun owners who fail to report lost or stolen firearms.

While the exact text of these proposals is not yet available, for those who closely follow California firearm legislation, many of these measures will look very familiar. Newsom’s proposed initiatives read like a laundry list of recent, failed California legislation.

Unsurprisingly, these proposals would only burden law-abiding Californians' right to defend themselves while doing little, if anything, to punish the criminal misuse of firearms or promote public safety. Similar proposals in other states have proven ineffective and even impossible to implement.