California– Since July, the use of a new database put in place to verify purchases has resulted in over 62,000 rejections for citizens trying to buy ammunition.
And it’s not just civilians, either. Numerous members of law enforcement agencies have been denied sale of ammo.
Now, California’s strict firearm and ammunition laws and the use of this new diabase have some second amendment supporters calling foul – and they want answers.
According to an article by the Sacramento Bee, cops like Sutter County sheriff’s deputy Zachary Berg typically have no issue purchasing ammunition for their own personal use.
Recently however, when Berg was headed out for a duck hunting trip, he stopped at his local Yuba City hardware store to purchase shotgun ammunition. When the store ran Berg’s information through the system, which performs the required background check for California’s ammunition purchases, he was denied.
All due to his information not matching what state officials had entered into the database.
“It’s a little ironic the fact I’m a deputy that I can’t buy ammunition,” Berg said. “But at the same time, anybody else who’s legally allowed to, they shouldn’t be denied based on address (errors). … It’s just crazy.”
Berg isn’t alone. There are tens of thousands of seemingly legal gun owners who have been denied the ability to purchase ammunition at stores that sell it.
About six months after California began requiring background checks for ammunition purchases, some gun store owners say they see a staggering amount of rejections — though very few of those people are actually prohibited from buying ammo. https://t.co/NpPd2SYYbS
— NewsWatch 12 (@KDRV) December 12, 2019
As reported by the Sacramento Bee;
‘Between July 1 and November, nearly 1 in every 5 ammunition purchases was rejected by the California Department of Justice, the figures show.
Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.
Yet another 62,000 ammunition purchases were rejected as well. Those people left empty-handed because their personal information hadn’t been entered into the state’s system, or the information on their identification cards didn’t match what officials had entered into the California gun registry database, which retail sellers must review when they do the ammunition background check.’
Welp…California's ammunition background check system is working exactly as it was intended. It's preventing tens of thousands law-abiding gun owners from buying ammo and preventing next to no purchases by prohibited persons.
— The Truth About Guns (@guntruth) December 12, 2019
Because 2A supporters feel that those numbers are so staggering and they feel the new database and background check system infringes on their second amendment rights, a new lawsuit has been filed in an attempt to overturn the strict gun and ammunition laws in California.
According to court records and multiple news outlets, the suit was filed by the California Rifle & Pistol Association. The case’s lead plaintiff is Kim Rhode, who is an Olympic shooter and a National Rifle Association board member.
Court documents also show that Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office has filed paperwork in the U.S. District Court in San Diego as a response to the lawsuit.
Due to the ongoing litigation, Becerra’s office has declined any official public comment to the news media.
According to court documents that has been filed, it is noted that “the state’s rejection rate declined from 19% in July to 15% in October, a downward trend the agency says will continue – as familiarity with the system among ammunition vendors and consumers increases.”
"California has arguably the nation’s toughest gun laws. What else is needed? 'We need other states to catch up to California,' Becerra says. Other states should start by following Mara Elliott’s red flag."
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 12, 2019
It was also noted by Becerra’s office that those who attempted to purchase ammunition and were denied once typically had better luck on the second attempt. As reported by the Sacramento Bee,
“44% of purchasers who had been rejected in July were able to buy ammunition by November.”
But supporters of the second amendment feel that the liberal leaning gun laws are directly targeting law abiding gun owners in the state.
Daniel Reid, who is the western regional director for the National Rifle Association, explained,
“The restrictions are not going on criminals. It’s not targeting criminal misuses. It’s targeting otherwise law-abiding persons in the way that they can exercise their rights. You’re seeing a handful of denials for prohibited persons and all these other people are being denied for clerical errors or administrative type issues.”
Everyone is debating “red flag” laws like they’re some new thing, but California has had variations of them for decades.
They’re all meant to disarm dangerous people — but they’re all fundamentally flawed. https://t.co/tGuk8nFat2
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 17, 2019
The argument is made that criminals are still obtaining guns and ammunition despite the law, and those citizens who follow the laws are made to “jump through regulatory hoops”.
The major issues seem to be occurring when database information has been entered incorrectly by the Justice Department, or not entered at all.
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As reported by the Sacramento Bee;
‘Under the ammunition background check law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, as of July 1, Californians buying ammunition are required to pass the in-store background check, which involves vendors running a buyer’s name through the Department of Justice database to see if they have legally purchased a gun in recent years. Purchasing a gun in California is a separate process that involves a background check and waiting period.
Californians who’ve legally bought a handgun since the 1990s were required to register with the state, and beginning in 2014, those who’ve bought a shotgun or a rifle also are in the system. If a gun owner has a weapon is in the database, and their government-issued identification card matches the gun registry, an ammunition buyer pays the state a $1 fee for each ammo transaction, and then he or she walks out of the store with their ammo in a couple of minutes.
Those who don’t have a gun in the Department of Justice’s system are required to pay the state a $19 fee and undergo a more comprehensive background check, a process that can take days, or they can go online and register a firearm in the database.
About 18% of purchases were rejected in the standard $1 background check process, according to the Department of Justice.
The DOJ says court filing says more than 19,000 ammunition buyers weren’t in the database at all, so they were denied when they went to buy ammo. More than 22,000 were rejected because of address mismatches, many of them due to having moved since they last bought a gun. Nearly 8,000 people had names in the state’s gun registry that didn’t match their identification, according to the Department of Justice filing.’
Red flag laws exist in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, and other states where they are designed to flag individuals who are believed to be a danger to themselves or others. https://t.co/Zno46o6q5K
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 5, 2019
The operations manager of Last Stand Readiness & Tactical Christopher Lapinski, which is a Sacramento based gun store stated that he’s refused more applicants than he’s approved. Lapinski noted that it all boils down to how the DOJ and the Department of Moto Vehicle puts information into those systems and whether or not they will match.
Lapinski stated that for him it has been,“especially frustrating to deny sales to retired law enforcement officers and active-duty members of the military.”
“You could be a Navy SEAL yesterday, but didn’t buy a gun in California, and now you can’t buy ammo,” Lapinksi commented.
One such individual Dan Logan, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired California Highway Patrol officer was denied the purchase of shotgun ammunition in October of this year. Logan explained that he registered a shotgun in July in accordance with the new law, but he was still denied the purchase of ammunition at a local sporting goods store in his home town.
As someone that follows the law, it is especially frustrating because the statute prevents individuals from crossing state lines to purchase ammunition and bring it back into California
“If I go to Nevada and buy ammunition there, I can go to jail,” Logan explained.
Critics of the new law, firearm supporters and second amendment advocates have stated that these laws and restrictions only harm those that will follow them, noting that criminals wouldn’t think twice before leaving the state to purchase ammunition and bring it back in if they needed it. The argument stands that this is just a way for the state to track gun ownership.
It is also noted that this further promotes a black-market industry for firearms and ammunition in California.
“The gun lobby’s proposals to arm teachers are a deliberate, outrageous distraction from the real threats we face and the serious policy discussion we need,” said Ari Freilich, a lawyer with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. https://t.co/s7QyrxPhPO
— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) March 12, 2018
Supporters of the law state that is it doing exactly what it was intended to do. Those that support gun control and “red flag” laws feel that what law-abiding gun owners are going through currently are only “minor inconveniences” and “will get sorted out as the database is updated.”
"Red flag" laws expedite the removal of guns from people seen as a public danger by family members or law enforcement. A new study says the law appears to be helping to reduce the chance of mass shootings in California. https://t.co/1QAXIW15wL
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 19, 2019
One such advocate Ari Freilich, who is an attorney with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence cited the 101 individuals who were denied the purchase of ammunition as the reason why this law is so important in California.
“Any one of those people, they were committing a serious crime trying to acquire a product designed to take human life. And they were stopped from doing so in that moment,” Freilich explained.
We just updated our running list of lawsuits, complaints & controversies engulfing the NRA.
Spoiler: It's a really long list. Check it out ⬇️ https://t.co/zZuljUWNwg
— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) December 12, 2019
He also stated that it is important for the State to have a up-to-date gun registry in order to have firearms taken away from dangerous people.
California’s “Red Flag” law allows any individual in the state of California to petition the court asking for police to remove firearms from an individual that they feel might harm others or themselves. This most recently includes coworkers, employers and teachers who feel that individuals may need firearms temporarily removed from the homes of others they think are a threat.
“Because of this DOJ database, (it) allows law enforcement to know that that person has arms, to know what kind of arms they have and to know where they reside, so they can ensure that the people who have been subject to threats are safe and that guns are removed from that dangerous situation,” Freilich commented.
Universal background checks
Red flag laws
10-day waiting period
“Assault weapons” ban
A campus carry ban
An armed teachers ban
Cenk, you’re an idiot. It has nothing to do with the NRA! https://t.co/kLQmL8XOHs
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) November 18, 2019
Former Democratic state Senate leader Kevin de León, who was at the head of leading the change in California’s gun laws with the new background check legislation stated,
“We can easily overcome this technical issue. To the NRA and others who don’t believe that we should keep our communities safe from gunfire, I would say stop the hyperbole over a technical issue that’s easily solvable and be part of the solution to reduce dramatically the numbers of needless killings that happen in our communities every single day.”
"Nine states have passed Red Flag laws over the past year, bringing the total to 14. Not including California, 1,700+ court orders allowing guns to be seized were issued in 2018 after they determined the individuals were a threat to themselves or others." https://t.co/LHkX6J1KEs
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 23, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom who has been an outspoken supporter of California Proposition 63, (Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases and Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban (2016)) has not made a public comment on the issues law abiding gun owners are currently experiencing with the purchase of ammunition in his state.
Why are most shooters male? California Gov. Gavin Newsom says gender must be part of national gun control discussion https://t.co/RAi01FOhOB
— POLITICO (@politico) August 6, 2019
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