By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
California: A federal judge had blocked on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 a California law requiring background checks for people buying ammunition, issuing a sharply worded rebuke of “onerous and convoluted” regulations violates the constitutional right to bear arms.
United States District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego, California ruled in favor of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, which asked him to stop the checks and related restrictions on ammo sales.
“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” United States District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in a 120-page opinion granting the group’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Voters approved toughening California’s already strict firearms laws in 2016, and the restrictions took effect in July 2019.
The California law requires buyers who already are in the state’s firearm background check database to pay a $1 fee each time they buy ammunition, while others can buy longer-term licenses if they do not have certain criminal convictions or mental health commitments.
According to state court filings, it took an average of less than 5 minutes to complete the background checks, saying “There is no substantial impediment. Ammunition purchasers must pass an eligibility check that, in the vast majority of cases, delays a purchase by a few minutes.”
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a court filing earlier in April 2020 that the background checks stopped more than 750 people from buying bullets illegally from July 2019 through January 2020, not including those who didn’t even try because they knew they weren’t eligible.
United States District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that the ammunition law illegally locks out-of-state vendors out of California’s market, and that it conflicts with a federal law allowing gun owners to bring their firearms and ammunition through California.
The lawsuit by California Rifle and Pistol Association was joined by out-of-state ammunition sellers and California residents.
California Governor Gavin Newsom championed the law before he became governor, and following the ruling, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s spokeswoman Vicky Waters said his administration is disappointed by the decision and considering its next steps.
“California’s strong gun safety laws help keep our schools and communities safe,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom’s spokeswoman Vicky Waters.
California attorney general’s office said only that it is reviewing the decision, and not immediately say if it will appeal or seek to stay the order, which takes effect immediately at a time when some California gun stores have been ordered shut because of the COVID-19 pandemic.