In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 63, which will make it more difficult to exercise Second Amendment rights legally within the state come 2018. Beginning January 1, gun control will extend into ammunition distribution. Background checks will be required to buy ammo and the state will require an annually renewed “ammunition vendors license” in order to sell.
Unfortunately, the California Department of Justice failed to uphold their end of the requirements in making this new law go into effect smoothly, and distributors in California have been unable to get licenses to sell ammo. The DOJ did not make the application process available soon enough, so there is no longer enough time for businesses to get licensed before the new year. The department had planned to make licensing available in July but did not.
As of now, it looks like no one in the state of California will be able to purchase ammo in 2018. Three and half weeks is not enough time to obtain a license, even with an expedited application. The only way around the situation would be to amend the start date of the new law. This is doubtful though since the state dragged its feet in making the ammunition vendors license possible to obtain.
If this ammunition drought occurs, buying in another state will only be an option if done illegally. Gun owners will not be able to find supply online either. Selling and shipping directly to a California customer will be illegal, as well, so many retailers have stopped shipping already in preparation for the new law.
The new law is also unfortunate for small California businesses. Ammo comprises a significant portion of firearm supply store’s profits. Being prohibited from selling ammo for an undetermined portion of next year may cause some businesses to close down. Larger corporations are expected to stay afloat.
The purpose of Prop 63, or “Safety for All” is to combat gun violence in mass shootings, though in reality it only affects the average citizen. The incredibly ineffective new law is just another step law-abiding citizens must complete. If California gun laws are as effective as Democrats propose, then there is no need for one specifically on ammunition.
More importantly, if someone has obtained a firearm illegally, they probably know where to find ammo under the radar as well. The key word in this slight technicality is “legal,” which does not apply to every actual gun owner in the state. Ammunition cannot be tracked the way a firearm can; the state is insane for requiring so much red tape to obtain something that can be distributed illegally after it is purchased anyway. However, it still would make it technically illegal to gift or share ammunition when shooting for sport. The new law is only going to make it difficult for firearm owners to stay legal, as the next mass shooter does not regard it anyway.
Prop 63 tiptoed dangerously close to the Bill of Rights. Many saw the prop Unconstitutional, as the California government is directly affecting its citizens’ ability to bear arms. Without ammunition, they are not truly in possession of a firearm as intended. In fact, another side to Prop 63 included a second major proposed component that will not go into effect, at least not next year: a ban on possessing magazines over ten rounds for those grandfathered in before 2000. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that part of the proposition Unconstitutional, rightfully stating,
“The state of California’s desire to criminalize simple possession of a firearm magazine able to hold more than ten rounds is precisely to the type of policy choice that the Constitution takes off the table.”
The state of California’s attitude on gun control is disturbing to gun owners, as officials no doubt wish everyone would be unarmed. They have permitted a legal technicality to infringe on citizen’s Constitutional rights. It all just seems a little too intentional.
California gun control proponents saw Prop 63 as a victory in securing citizen’s safety, while really, legislatures created a very dangerous state-wide situation. Preventing law-abiding citizens from being able to obtain ammo just ensures that most of the live ammunition in the state will be in the hands of criminals. Hopefully, the state recognizes this danger and will amend the new law in some way that will honor the Second Amendment in the Golden State. In the meantime, California residents would be wise to stock up if they want to remain armed.