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CA to mandate background checks to buy gun ammo starting July 1

ammunition dealers (Exchange Associate/WikiCommons)
June 27, 2019

California will require background checks for all ammunition purchases starting July 1, expanding their collection of strict gun laws.

The California Department of Justice will begin cross-referencing the data of potential ammunition buyers in California’s own databases to determine buyers’ eligibility before purchasing ammunition, as a result of requirements imposed by the 2016 Proposition 63 initiative, Fox 11 reported on Wednesday.

Those who are matched in the system are deemed eligible buyers and are permitted to purchase ammunition with a $1 processing fee. California processes approximately 13.2 million ammunition purchases annually, and most buyers are expected to already exist in California’s database.

Those who are not in the system’s database will have to pay a one-time fee of $19 and the process is not instant. Once approved, it will be good for a single ammunition purchase within 30 days.

Gun dealers will run each person through two separate databases — the Automated Firearms System (AFS) and the Prohibited Armed Persons Profile (PAPP). The PAPP database will determine if the individual has lost their gun rights due to criminal convictions or mental health issues. If a person is cleared on both databases, they can successfully make the purchase.

The state refers to the process as an “eligibility check” and not a background check because it scans the state’s database of personal information, not the National Criminal Instant Background Check System.

The new law also prohibits online ammunition sales, as all ammunition purchases must be conducted face-to-face through registered gun dealers.

Gun owners will also have to prove their legal immigration status if their driver’s license notes “federal limits apply.”

This highly controversial move has supporters saying the move will save lives and opponents filing lawsuits.

Customers are lining up at their local ammunition dealers to stock up before the new law starts on Monday.

Chris Puehse, who owns Foothill Ammo east of Sacramento told the Associated Press on Wednesday, “In the last two weeks I’ve been up about 300%” with people “bulking up because of these stupid new laws.”

Spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Amanda Wilcox said, this type of measure is “the kind of thing that could have prevented” the fatal shooting of rookie Sacramento police Officer Tara O’Sullivan last week.

O’Sullivan, 26, was shot and killed by Adel Sambrano Ramos, who used parts to produce illegal weapons.

Supporters of the new law, including Wilcox, believe that ammunition background checks may have saved her life.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Robyn Thomas fear that there are still some problems that have to be handled, like the fact that those who purchased their guns prior to 2014 or handguns prior to 1996, will not be in the database.

“Sometimes in the drafting process little bits and pieces don’t always fit perfectly together,” Thomas told the AP.

Chuck Michel, an attorney for the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, the California Rifle & Pistol Association told the AP, “For retailers and the average recreational shooter, these new requirements are going to, at a minimum, create practical and financial problems and friction when trying to make a simple ammunition purchase, and they will do nothing to stop access by criminals who have so many other ways to get ammunition.”

Ari Freilich, California legislative affairs director for the San Francisco-based Gifford’s Law Center said the new law will allow the Justice Department to determine who is buying ammunition, the quantities purchased, will block ammunition purchases from those prohibited from owning a gun, and may even be able to link ammunition to crimes.