July 08, 2020
By Mark Chesnut
California’s ammunition background check law has been a huge flop. It has greatly inconvenienced law-abiding Golden State gun owners, infringed their right to keep and bear arms, and bounced around in the courts over constitutional challenges. Plus, there’s absolutely no proof that it has done anything to reduce crime (which we all knew it would not).
One might think the overly restrictive law would be one that continued to plague only California gun owners, and that the law’s ineffectiveness might be confined within that state’s borders. Unfortunately, a disturbing number of attorneys general throughout the nation appear to favor bringing such a law to their home states.
As my former long-time associate Cam Edwards recently pointed out over at BearingArms.com, when a lawsuit over the law was being heard a few months ago, attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia filed a friend of the court brief in favor of the ban’s provisions. Among other things, the brief stated: “First, the amici stated object to the district court’s conclusion that the Second Amendment constrained California’s ability to enact the ammunition regulations at issue here. As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Second Amendment allows states to address the harmful effects of gun violence through new regulations. And California’s ammunition regulations—which are similar to numerous laws across the country—are an appropriate exercise of that prerogative.”
Of course, no other states require an ammunition background check, so the law isn’t actually “similar.” States whose attorney general participated in the brief include Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.
As you likely already know, California’s law is a blatant infringement on Second Amendment rights. In fact, the court even found that to be the case. In late April, a federal judge in California blocked the California law.
“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted,” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in his 120-page opinion. “California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured.”
After the ruling, Judge Benitez explained to usnews.com, “Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks. The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition.”
Unfortunately, only a few days later, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s request to stay that judge’s order, leaving the provision in place.
For gun owners in states where the attorneys general voiced support for such laws, it’s time to vote those bureaucrats out of office and replace them with Second Amendment supporters. Failure to do so could result in those gun owners finding themselves in the same situation as California’s constantly beleaguered gun owners.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.