Preliminary injunction against dysfunctional California ammunition background checks

The law made it impossible for many law-abiding citizens to buy ammunition.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On April 23, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California issued a preliminary injunction against California's background check law for ammunition purchases. As the court found, the failed system improperly prevents lawful purchases by very large numbers of law-abiding citizens.

Starting in 2018, California prohibited consumers from purchasing ammunition by mail. Then in 2019, California forbade Californians from buying ammunition at stores in other states, and required background checks for in-state retail sales. All the new restrictions are now blocked by the preliminary injunction. Some mail-order ammunition vendors have prioritized sales to Californians, and began fulfilling orders on the evening the decision was issued.

Lead plaintiff in the case is Kim Rhode, who shoots skeet and trap, is the only U.S. individual athlete to win medals in six consecutive Olympics and the only American to win Olympic medals on five different continents. (The sole other athlete with six consecutive medals in the Olympics is Italian luge racer Armin Zoggler.) Also among the plaintiffs is the California Rifle & Pistol Association. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are Michel Associates, and their page for all the filings in the case is here.

Today, California Attorney General Becerra asked U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez for a stay of the injunction pending appeal. This afternoon, the motion was denied; the balance of the equities did not favor unconstitutionally preventing law-abiding Californians from acquiring ammunition. The Attorney General then filed a notice of interlocutory appeal with the Ninth Circuit.

Judge Benitez's opinion explains the Catch-22 that California has created for persons attempting to purchase ammunition. According to California law, only citizens may purchase ammunition. But California issues drivers licenses to "illegal aliens" (the term used in federal statutes). Millions of California citizens have drivers licenses that are indistinguishable from the drivers licenses carried by illegal aliens in California. Therefore, a standard California drivers license is insufficient for attempting to purchase ammunition. The California citizen with a California driver's license must instead obtain and present a passport or a certified birth certificate. Plaintiffs say that obtaining a certified birth certificate in California takes up to 22 weeks, while the California government promises delivery in less than 8 weeks. A passport would take even longer, since the application usually requires a certified birth certificate.

It is doubtful that requiring law-abiding Californians to spend weeks or months obtaining alternative identification is motivated by a sincere determination to keep ammunition out of the hands of illegal aliens. Given that the legislature has declared California to be a sanctuary state, an illegal alien who did try to illegally buy ammunition would presumably not be prosecuted.

The district court noted the plight of David Dodd, a retired veteran. Because he was adopted at a young age, and does not know his biological father's full name, he cannot obtain a certified birth certificate. And thus California prevents him from purchasing ammunition at all.

Six hundred and forty thousand Californians who apparently did have passports or certified birth certificates did attempt to purchase ammunition. Of those, 188 were properly rejected because of disqualifying condition found in the California background check database (e.g., felony conviction, certain misdemeanors, mental health holds). Additionally, 101,047 lawful applicants were improperly blocked.

In other words, 99.8% of ammunition check denials were erroneous.

Many lawful would-be buyers were blocked because they are not in California's database of gun owners. But there is no legal requirement that a person must be in the database in order to possess ammunition; the California gunowner registration database is compiled by harvesting records of firearm background checks; persons who acquired their firearms before the registration system was imposed are lawful owners who are not in the registry. (The registry was created for handguns in 1990 and for long guns in 2014.)

Other buyers were rejected because of identifier mismatches, such as currently living at a different address than they did when they bought a firearm years before.

It might not be accurate to consider system of mass false denials to be merely the result of incompetence. Ever since the gun control lobbies were founded in the 1970s, they have endeavored to place every possible obstacle in the way of lawful firearms ownership and use, as part of a long-term strategy to drive down the number of gun owners, as I detailed in a recent article for Colorado Politics. One of the most activate anti-gun litigants, the Gifford organization, moved to file an amicus brief in defense of the quasi-prohibitory ammunition law, although Judge Benitez denied the motion. (Practice tip: appellate courts are generally lenient in accepting amicus briefs and have procedural rules for filing them; trial courts rarely  have amicus rules, and some trial judges do not favor amicus briefs.)

As Judge Benitez's opinion explains, buyers who are improperly rejected must then proceed through an opaque and slow process to ask the California Department of Justice to put them on its list of persons who allowed to purchase ammunition.

In effect, the California DOJ has inverted the normal system of background checks to turn it into a system of presumptive denial. In a normal background check system, such as the National Instant Check System run by the FBI, the buyer's name is checked against a list of prohibited persons (e.g., persons with certain criminal convictions). Unless the buyer is on the prohibited list, the sale proceeds. But in California, unless the buyer is on the California registry of gun owners, and lives at the same address as when the buyer purchased a firearm years before, the sale is denied.

As an alternative to the above dysfunctional California system, a would-be ammunition buyer may pay an extra fee for a different background check. There were 19,599 Californians who chose this route. Of them, 570 were properly denied, and 342 were improperly denied. Of those who were approved, a quarter were approved promptly, while the rest had to wait one to three days for an approval. The functional check costs $19, while the dysfunctional check costs only $1. If you pay the $19 for the mostly-functional check on Monday and are allowed to purchase the ammunition on Thursday, the state should put you on the list of approved buyers, so you could buy more ammunition the next week and use the $1 check. But the state government refuses to add people to pay the extra fee to the list of approved buyers.

The chilling effect of the California system is powerful. Before the system was implemented, the state estimated that of the 4.5 million people in its gun owner registry, about 3 million would purchase ammunition 4 of 5 times a year–resulting in about 13 million ammunition background checks annually. The actual number has been far less: about 630,000 in the seven months since the retail limits went into effect on July 1, 2019. In other words, the new California system seems to have deterred or prevented over 2 million law-abiding Californians from purchasing ammunition.

Starting on July 1, 2025, the dysfunctional ammunition check system will be extended to gun parts (Calif. AB 879, signed into law by Gov. Newsom in 2019), thus serving to prevent law-abiding Californians from replacing a worn-out barrel, buying a better trigger, and so on.

In issuing the preliminary injunction, Judge Benitez found that plaintiffs had a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The right to keep and bear arms necessarily includes the right to acquire ammunition, as the Ninth Circuit and all other courts that have examined the issue have held.

A law that improperly prevents huge numbers of law-abiding persons from acquiring ammunition is straightforwardly unconstitutional under the methodology used by the Supreme Court in its leading Second Amendment cases, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the judge noted.

Rather than copying the methodology of Heller and McDonald, most of the federal circuit courts, including the Ninth, have adopted a complicated interest-balancing test, as urged by Justice Breyer in his Heller dissent. The California quasi-ban on ammunition purchases fails that test as well, according to Judge Benitez. Because the law is completely novel in American history, it does not qualify for any presumption of constitutionality. (Heller said that certain "longstanding" laws, such as "conditions and qualifications" for firearms stores, were "presumptively" constitutional.)

A de facto ban on ammunition acquisition by law-abiding citizens is "the severest burden" on the Second Amendment right. Imposing this burden on over a hundred thousand lawful citizens is unconstitutional per se. Of the persons who are improperly denied in a given month, only 40-48% are eventually able to convince the California DOJ to let them buy ammunition later. Even for them, the wrongful denial of their right to purchase ammunition for weeks or months is still is significant constitutional injury.

If the burden were instead assumed to be relatively modest, then the often lenient standards of intermediate scrutiny might apply. Yet under intermediate scrutiny, the Attorney General still failed to carry his burden of proving that the law is appropriately "tailored" for a reasonable "fit." To the contrary, the mass numbers of false denials show that the law is very badly tailored.

Moreover, a recent study by a gun control research center created by the California legislature showed that California's firearms purchase background check system, implemented in 1991, had no discernible benefits in reducing suicide or homicide. The study also reported that repeal of background check systems in Tennessee and Indiana had no statistically discernable adverse effects. Alvaro Castillo Carniglia, et al., California's Comprehensive Background Check and Misdemeanor Violence Prohibition Policies and Firearm Mortality, 30 Annals of Epidemiology 50 (2019).

In sum:

There is only one policy enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Guns and ammunition in the hands of criminals, tyrants and terrorists are poisonous; guns in the hands of law-abiding responsible citizens are the antidote. To give full life to the core right of self-defense, every law-abiding responsible individual citizen has a constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear firearms and ammunition. No legislature or popular vote has the constitutional authority to dictate to a citizen that he or she may not acquire ordinary and popular ammunition for his or her guns. Nor may the acquisition process be made so unreasonably difficult that she simply throws up her hands and surrenders the right. Plaintiffs have made a sufficient showing of their likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the Second Amendment claims.

Plaintiffs also challenged the ammunition restrictions under the dormant commerce clause, since the restrictions favor California vendors over those from other states. Non-California ammunition vendors can sell to Californians only by: 1. opening a store in the state, or 2. convincing a California ammunition vendor to act as an in-state retailer for the out-of-state product. A similar discrimination between New York in-state and out-of-state wineries was held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460 (2005).

If California had a functional system of ammunition background checks, it could require non-California vendors to use the same background check system for California residents that California vendors do. "The isolationist burdens on interstate commerce created by California's Proposition 63 appears at this early stage of litigation to far outweigh whatever benefit it is designed to achieve."

Another element in preliminary injunctions is irreparable injury. As with the First Amendment, the loss of Second Amendment rights for even a short time is an irreparable injury. Indeed, "The right to keep and bear arms is the insurance policy behind the right to life.  If a state regulation prevents a citizen from protecting his life, his other constitutional rights will be superfluous.  The right to keep and bear arms protects both tangible and intangible interests which cannot be compensated by damages. . . When one needs to defend herself, family, or property right now, but is defenseless for lack of ammunition, it is the heaviest kind of irreparable harm."

A third factor in preliminary injunctions is the balance of harms. The Ninth Circuit has rejected the view that temporary non-enforcement of a state statute pending trial on the merits is such a terrible hardship that it outweighs the continuing harm of denial of citizens' constitutional rights.

The final factor in preliminary injunctions is the public interest. "It is always in the public interest to prevent government from violating a citizen's constitutional rights." This is especially true when the harm suffered by the public is denial of necessary tools for lawful defense of life.

In the current pandemic, "Courts are limping by while police make arrests for only the more serious crimes. Maintaining Second Amendment rights are especially important in times like these. Keeping vigilant is necessary in both bad times and good, for if we let these rights lapse in the good times, they might never be recovered in time to resist the next appearance of criminals, terrorists, or tyrants."

In conclusion, Judge Benitez points out that the preliminary injunction does not mean that all background checks on ammunition purchasers are necessarily unconstitutional. What is unconstitutional is California's often-prohibitory system:

If the state objective is to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for its law-abiding citizens to purchase protected ammunition, then this law appears to be well-drafted.  However, if the genuine object is to keep ammunition out of the hands of those who should not be able to buy it, perhaps the State could create a database (that would include persons prohibited, i.e., aliens unlawfully present, felons, and others) and simply make that information available to sellers by cross-checking with the magnetic strip on a standard driver's license and by allowing out-of-state vendors the same ability to engage in commerce as it does California vendors.

The next stage of this case will be the interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit. There, some gun control groups and advocates will reveal their true character. Rather than urging the California legislature to adopt a functional and fair system for ammunition background checks, they will demand the perpetuation of a grossly abusive system for denying law-abiding citizens the tools to defend themselves and their families.

NEXT: Markets in Not-Quite-Everything: Post-Pandemic Insurance

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I don’t see what the problem is. Just show them the ID card that your militia, being “well-regulated”, would have provided you with.

    1. Ah yes, the “well-regulated” canard that betrays a complete lack of comprehension as to what “well-regulated” meant in 1791.

      1. Well?

        Tell me about Shays Rebellion. And what armories were for. If you’re in an urban area in the original thirteen, there’s probably one near you.

        1. Actually, the Springfield Armory was placed where it was because it WASN’T in a city, then all seaports, and it wasn’t possible to sail up the Connecticut River to Springfield.

    2. Sure. And I’m sure you wouldn’t have a problem with no mail in ballots, a poll tax, and a requirement to produce proof of citizenship to vote. No domestic violence convictions, no felonies, and no violent misdemeanors. And you have to go to the polls at least 10 but no more than 30 days before an election to register to be allowed to vote in that election. Of course a literacy test and proof of address (government documents only) will be required too.

    3. Your premise was rejected by the Supreme Court, the second amendment right to keep and bear arms is a right of the people not just militia members. “Crank” is the legal term used to describe those who cling to a discredited legal theory long after its been rejected by the courts.

      But in any case I’m in the unregulated militia, as authorized by the Militia Act of 1791, which of course as an enumerated power of Congress voids any conflicting state law.

      1. Believing that Courts have decided a case incorrectly makes one a “crank”? That’s a pretty broad interpretation.

        1. You’re ignoring the other criteria of not understanding basic English and sentence structure.

          So yes, your argument demonstrates you to be a crank.

    4. “I don’t see what the problem is. Just show them the ID card that your militia, being “well-regulated”, would have provided you with.”

      Or just use the ammunition they issued to you.

    5. Sigh.

      “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

      Supreme Court of the United States
      District of Columbia v. Heller
      554 U.S. 570
      2008

      If you can’t keep up, take notes.

  2. So let me understand this:

    On passing egregious ID regulations to be able to vote: Republicans are perfectly ok with this

    On passing egregious ID regulations on buying gun ammunition: Republicans aren’t perfectly ok with this

    1. One of these is a constitutional right.

      1. Yes, the right to vote.

        1. I’ve never seen even ONE, SINGLE cite of a person who was denied the right to vote because they could not obtain an ID.

          1. Ahem . . .

            Look it up ok?

            1. Spoiler: If you “look it up”, you generally find people who could have obtained an ID, but hadn’t bothered, or even had it, but just refused to present it.

              “At trial, the plaintiffs were unable to produce any witnesses who claimed they were unable to meet the law’s requirements.”

              As far as I’m aware, it is still Supreme court precedent that voter ID laws, as such, are entirely constitutional, and all court victories against voter ID have been in the lower courts.

        2. BULLSHIT and you damned well know it.
          You may not like the right to keep and bear arms and the jurisprudence backing it up, but that’s what the Bill of Rights is about.
          Keeping people with febrile fantasies, like you, in check.

        3. Where? What article, section?

          1. crickets…

        4. First, there is NOT a general right to vote. There’s a right to not have a right to vote that the legislature allows infringed on certain bases, such as race, sex, age, and failure to pay a poll tax. That’s it. There is no right to vote otherwise.

          Second, only a moron can think an ID requirement is “egregious.”

          1. “, only a moron can think an ID requirement is ‘egregious.'”

            On the contrary, anything that disenfranchises a citizen from voting is “egregious”. Particularly if it was imposed in an attempt at partisan gain(s).
            “Oh, we’re having trouble winning election because more people are voting against us than for us? We could address this problem by trying to have policies that appeal to more voters, but we don’t have to do that. Let’s just try to find reasons why some of the people voting against us don’t count”

            1. If a person is disenfranchised by having to show an ID, then he shouldn’t be voting in the first place. People who can’t handle adult responsibilities shouldn’t get adult privileges.

              1. Shall we start a list of rights which you are no longer permitted to exercise based on our observations of you?

                1. There’s a reason the founders didn’t believe in universal franchise.

                  1. So you aren’t willing to forego your rights based on your own failures of adult responsibility, yet think that standard should apply to others.

                    Got it. You’re just another partisan tool.

    2. “egregious ID regulations to be able to vote”

      Filling out forms and providing proof of identification is “egregious.” Please. You provide more information on a job or loan application. This is the great fiction of the Left nowadays, that voter ID laws are “egregious.” Only in the fever swamps of the radical Left.

      1. voter ID laws that are poorly-camouflaged attempts at voter suppression are “egregious”, and if you disagree, your vote shouldn’t count.

        1. Voter ID laws that are far simpler and less expensive to comply with are “egregious” but gun control laws that are poorly-camouflaged attempts at confiscation or banning are… what exactly?

    3. What regexp fails to understand is that the requirements should be the same AND ILLEGAL ALIENS OUGHT NOT HAVE DRIVER’S LICENSES….

      The court recognized that here — and should elsewhere….

      1. Can’t say I am sad to see their “sanctuary state” policy finally have some negative ramifications.

      2. “They’re people, and they’re here. If there’s a further requirement, I’m not aware of it.”

        — John Adams, “1776” (talking about black
        people)

        1. That, I suspect, is a made up quote. And a stupid argument when women couldn’t vote an in many cases un-propertied men.

      3. ” ILLEGAL ALIENS OUGHT NOT HAVE DRIVER’S LICENSES…”

        What part of illegal status indicates to you an inability to drive?

        I offer a counter, anybody who can pass a behind-the-wheel driving test ought to get a driver’s license. Driver’s licenses should be withheld from people who lack skill or have medical conditions incompatible with safe driving.

        1. Should there be any age restrictions, or should a 10 year old who can pass a behind the wheel test be allowed to drive?

        2. Their inability to drive is a direct consequence of the fact that, once they’re identified as illegal immigrants, they should be detained until they are ejected from the country. What are they supposed to be doing, doing donuts in the cell?

      4. What happened to international driver’s licenses anyway? I had one when I moved to England for a couple of years back in the 70’s, and the British don’t even drive on the right side of the road?

        Did some officious besk pilot get rid of them? Why to aliens of any kind need a local state issued license?

    4. If California allowed the forms of identification that are permitted under the most stringent voter ID law, this lawsuit probably wouldn’t be going anywhere.

    5. That is a fabulous idea.

      We can unify the laws for voting with the laws for buying guns and ammunition. The same exact regulations and protocols that apply to one can apply to the other.

      Thank you for recommending this.

      1. Just add an eyesight measurement into the US passport

        1. An odd suggestion, since one doesn’t require a US passport to either vote or obtain a firearm.

          But, if you wanted to make physical scanning of a US passport a requirement prior to voting or buying a firearm, I suppose that could work.

    6. “So let me understand this:

      On passing egregious ID regulations to be able to vote: Republicans are perfectly ok with this

      On passing egregious ID regulations on buying gun ammunition: Republicans aren’t perfectly ok with this”

      And vice versa for the Dems. Both Sides!

      Well, OK. Not both sides. Most republicans are fine with having to show an ordinary driver’s license to purchase ammunition. Nice try, though.

      1. What, exactly, does the ability to drive a car have to do with safe, responsible possession of firearm ammunition?

        1. California will issue an ID card that isn’t a driver’s license as well, and if it was only issued to people here legally it would be an acceptable substitute.

    7. “egregious demands”? As in the same egregious (and don’t forget racist) demands for boarding an airplane, checking out a library book, driving a car or picking up a controlled prescription drug at any pharmacy? That kind of “egregious demand”? Gun grabbers are nothing else, if not denser than depleted uranium and amazingly slow to learn. Now, tell us about the guns you own, for some false credibility.

      1. Checking out a library book?

        LOL.

        Let me guess, you think ID is required for buying groceries too?

        1. If it is alcohol at a Walmart, yea.

  3. “Rather than copying the methodology of Heller and McDonald, most of the federal circuit courts, including the Ninth, have adopted a complicated interest-balancing test, as urged by Justice Breyer in his Heller dissent.”

    This speaks volumes. NYSRPA cannot come soon enough.

    1. To be fair to lower courts, especially trial courts, expecting them to engage in Originalist jurisprudence is perhaps a bit much to much to ask. If the would faithfully follow Heller’s precedent consistently would be nice though.

      And I think that NY case will be just decided as moot.

      1. Heller is indeed the perfect encapsulation of an “originalist” decision.

  4. It is doubtful that requiring law-abiding Californians to spend weeks or months obtaining alternative identification is motivated by a sincere determination to keep ammunition out of the hands of illegal aliens.

    OK. That’s probably true. But let’s bear this argument in mind the next time some law is challenged because of the motivation behind it.

    1. Frankly I oppose abortion restrictions that are designed for no other purpose then making it hard to obtain an abortion. I think Roe was wrongly decided and ought to be overruled, but until then it is law of the land.

      1. Where Roe went wrong was supplanting the legislative process. Not is Overturning the Texas law in question for some explicit reason but setting forth a further qualifications only lead to the current situation.

        Contrast that with the death penalty cases, where the courts rulings have generally been explicit and left room for legislatures to craft fixes.

  5. A major part of the gun control agenda has been to just make it a bureaucratic nightmare obtain permission to purchase or own a firearm. Before the various gun rights acts of Congress in the 80’s and 90’s the amount of law enforcement harassment in some states was also off the chart.

    This just shows how insincere the gun control nut jobs are when it comes to messaging. They say they want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but the ends of most gun control just make criminals out of citizens who attempt to purchase or move guns while missing some obscure regulation.

    1. That is a feature of gun font laws.
      Not a bug

    2. ” Before the various gun rights acts of Congress in the 80’s and 90’s the amount of law enforcement harassment in some states was also off the chart.”

      Laboratories of democracy. We’re probably better off if gun-control fans and firearms enthusiasts live in totally different places, each with legislatures that cater to their preferences.

      1. Do you apply this logic to racual segregation in public schools as well?

      2. Sure. Probably true from a purely practical perspective.

        So how do you propose dividing up California? Because I’ve tried living in Wyoming and, surprise, it’s a nasty place to live during the winter once you’ve passed the age of 55 or so.

        What say we make a deal and the gun control folks get San Francisco? Maybe Santa Cruz? Then they leave the rest of us alone?

    3. “This just shows how insincere the gun control nut jobs are when it comes to messaging. They say they want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but the ends of most gun control just make criminals out of citizens who attempt to purchase or move guns while missing some obscure regulation.

      Reminds me of the people who argue that their hatred of illegal immigrants is 100% justified because they’re illegally present, who oppose any change in law that would remove that “illegal” status.

      1. James, there’s no constitutional rights question surrounding illegal aliens. That’s the difference.

        Sort of surprising you’d need that pointed out to you.

  6. Another Chuck Michel case.

  7. and the 9th Circuit stayed it, at 9:45 on a Friday night

    1. I have not found any evidence of that. Source?

      1. Just ask your favorite mail order ammunition dealer, they’ll cite chapter and verse.

        No, you can’t by ammunition in California. The injunction was almost immediately stayed.

  8. A couple of points.

    (1) Should the judge really be providing dicta on the sort of alternative background check system for ammunition that he thinks would be constitutional? If the state goes ahead and implements such a system as designed by the judge, wouldn’t the judge feel flattered and thus pressured to uphold it against a constitutional challenge, rather than evaluate the new system dispassionately and with fresh eyes? Aren’t such separation of powers concerns the basis of the prohibition on advisory opinions?

    (2) This case nicely illustrates that bad faith of those who seek “modest” gun controls. In many cases, there really is no modest. Most gun control advocates understandably want to live in a world where the risk of a mass shooting is zero or as close to that as possible. But to live in such a world, the right to keep and bear arms must be effectively minimized, since as long as guns and ammunition are abundant, the risk cannot be eliminated. The inability of anything other than a near ban to achieve the objectives of gun control advocates is why the “modest regulations” they claim they are making nearly always are a step to something much more ambitious, or in the case here, actually near prohibitory.

    There will always be a mismatch between truly modest restrictions and the stated ambitions of gun control advocates. This is just the nature of the problem, because a solution to the problem of mass shootings must make guns and ammunition non-abundant.

    1. Exactly on #2. Which is why actually parsing through these decisions are a waste of time. Because most judges are not acting in good faith. They’re part of the same swamp that creates the regulations in the first place. They know what they’re doing is wrong, and they don’t care.

    2. The mania for mass shootings is also a part of the gun control propaganda. Mass shootings of certain types are played up. Admittedly they are horrible events, but other mass shootings that do not fit the narrative are seldom highly publicized. I know of two cases in New Orleans where gangsters seeking revenge on a person shot up public gatherings wounding many people and killing several. Those incidents made little nations news.

      1. “Some shootings are more equal than others …”
        Typical week in Chicago, another Democrat run urban paradise.
        Just wait until it gets warmer out and watch the numbers climb.
        Last Week’s Totals (4/19 – 4/25)
        Shot & Killed: 13
        Shot & Wounded: 41
        Total Shot: 54

    3. “The inability of anything other than a near ban to achieve the objectives of gun control advocates is why the “modest regulations” they claim they are making nearly always are a step to something much more ambitious, or in the case here, actually near prohibitory. ”

      Development of a system that at the same time effectively limits the capability of people who objectively should not possess deadly weapons and allows the responsible to possess the weapons of their choice will not come until both sides of the debate are actively working to achieve such a system. As long as one side declines to participate, their interests will not be represented.

      1. “Development of a system that at the same time effectively limits the capability of people who objectively should not possess deadly weapons and allows the responsible to possess the weapons of their choice will not come until both sides of the debate are actively working to achieve such a system. As long as one side declines to participate, their interests will not be represented”

        That says a lot while not saying much at all, and applies to virtually every public policy. Devil’s in the details.

        1. ” applies to virtually every public policy.”

          Sure it does, don’t remember claiming it didn’t. Doesn’t change the fact that refusing to participate in regulatory processes and then whining that your interests aren’t represented is just foolish, anywhere it happens.

          1. So it was foolish for Negroes to refuse to participate in racial segregation?

      2. Give me a fucking break. Republicans have proposed system after system, which the Democrat Party rejects, as the goal is to disarm law-abiding whites. Nothing more, nothing less.

      3. “Development of a system that at the same time effectively limits the capability of people who objectively should not possess deadly weapons and allows the responsible to possess the weapons of their choice will not come until both sides of the debate are actively working to achieve such a system.”

        It won’t come, period.

        Take Meth as an example. No legal market. Use is very strongly socially disapproved. Only libertarians doubt the right of the government to ban it, and even libertarians regard using it as stupidly self destructive.

        And yet, there’s a market in it. A $13B market, by estimates.

        Contrast this with guns and ammo. The market isn’t just legal, it’s constitutionally protected. About a third of the population own them, ownership is strongly rooted in our culture. Owners tend to view attempts at regulation as constitutionally prohibited, and treat them accordingly. Only gun controllers think it would be legal to ban them, and even they have to mostly pretend that’s not what they’re attempting, they have so little social backing for their efforts.

        And you think you’re somehow going to effectively shut down a black market under those circumstances?

        I suppose there are some measures that *might* help at the margins, but the political difficulty here is that your side really IS out to disarm as many people as you can, by hook or by crook, and everybody knows it, and treats working with you accordingly.

    4. “a solution to the problem of mass shootings must make guns and ammunition non-abundant.”

      No, since one prevalent theory concerning the matter is that bad-guys-with-guns scenario can be handled effectively by good-guys-with-guns. Sometimes it works, (especially in the movies) but not reliably (except in movies).

      A policy of don’t give access to guns to people who shouldn’t have access to guns could work, in much the same way that discouraging people from letting drunk people drive away limits drunk driving. But that would require active participation from everyone who has a gun, a bit of divine prescience, and agreement as to just what constitutes “a person who shouldn’t have access to a gun”.

      1. What about crominal records as a proxy?

  9. Sounds pretty functional to me, since keeping people from buying ammo was the precise purpose of the law in the first place.

    1. Well, keeping SOME people from buying ammo was the purpose.

      1. Yes, law-abiding whites. DelQuan in Compton has no issue getting ammo for his gang activities.

        1. “DelQuan in Compton”

          These are your peeps, Conspirators.

          Remember that the next time you are sitting in a faculty meeting wondering ‘why doesn’t anyone take my opinions, especially about new hires, seriously?’

      2. Yes, it wasn’t aimed at police department purchasing departments, military, or “important” people. It was aimed at everybody else.

  10. I agree the rules are ridiculous, but a couple issues with the reporting

    Is an adopted person unable to get a passport? I find this unlikely, but is the implication WRT the David Dodd passage.

    A drivers license and firearms license is not enough, or a firearms license alone?

    Again, I agree that the rules are ridiculous, but the article seems to have some flaws making them seem more ridiculous.

    it also seems apparent there is a deliberate pattern of refusing ammo purchases

    1. arpiniant1, there’s no such thing as a firearms license in California.

      to buy a gun you have to pass a test and you receive a Firearms Safety Certificate, but that isn’t a form of ID – it pretty much just proves you can speak English, that’s how easy the test is. just another way of them getting money.

    2. The David Dodd issue confused me. I was adopted, and upon adoption the birth certificate was amended to include only my adoptive parents’ names. AFAIK, this is the long-standing procedure for legal adoptions in every jurisdiction in the U.S. I have no idea what either of my birth parents names are, but it’s irrelevant from a legal standpoint; my birth certificate enables me to exercise every legal right that non-adopted persons may exercise. I suspect that the David Dodd adoption did not proceed through the proper legal channels. If this is the case, then David Dodd was never “adopted” in the legal sense of the word. I cannot find any relevant link via google to explain what the specific issue with this adoption was. The only relevant link brought me to this blog post.

  11. I wonder how many people just ignore this crap and drive to Arizona or Nevada once or twice a year to stock up. Much lower sales tax rates too.

    1. People may indeed do that.
      However it is a crime.
      If you have a professional license, you will lose it if convicted of that crime.
      So as a doctor, I can tell you that I would not do that to save money on ammo.
      They is fear that they are watching the largest and closest gun stores on the border.
      To radio the numbers of cars with California plates to the California highway patrol for a stop.

      1. You get a similar effect near the borders of states that impose a sales tax and states that do not. People who buy goods in the no-sales-tax state and then import those goods to their sales-tax state are supposed to be paying use tax on those goods. Most do not.

      2. Let them prove it. Make laws stupid enough, most people will start to ignore them.

        As a lawyer, I absolutely would do that to save money and time on ammo.

        1. “Let them prove it.”

          Remember that ammunition boxes have lot numbers. That could lead to some issues:

          1)Was the lot you are in possession of shipped to CA?
          2)Do you have a record of a background check that matches that ammo (I’m not sure how much detail – caliber/lot #/etc) the system or the dealer retains).
          3)Fast forward a few years and the boxes, details of bullet design, etc will have changed … it would again be awkward to possess ammo that didn’t match a legit purchase you made.

        2. “As a lawyer, I absolutely would do that to save money and time on ammo.”

          I pity any client who relies on that level of judgment.

          Carry on, clingers.

  12. I have to say, the California ID requirement for ammunition purchasing doesn’t seem all that different from the ID requirements for voting that have been litigated (And often vigorously defended by conservatives) in recent years. I suppose what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Ammunition purchase fraud seems as likely a possibility as voter fraud.

    1. I don’t recall any voter ID requiring a fee to be paid at the time of voting.

    2. This isn’t a new ID requirement. It is a new face to face transaction requirement coupled with a fee based permission to purchase. Given that most if not all the ammunition stores can be closed at the whim of a politician as is the case now – this is an outright ban. Had they really been interested in the authorization component the CA government could have entertained a two factor authentication requirement for online purchases to vet the identity of the purchaser – they didn’t because the aim was to punish legitimate gun owners, period. This law was nothing more than another in a long line of eroding people’s civil liberties under the veil of security.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.