Guns and Gear

Background Checks Are Required To Buy Ammunition In California


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Ammunition purchases in California require a background check, according to a state law that took effect Monday.

California voters passed Proposition 63 in November 2016, making California the first state in the country to require all buyers to go through background checks for the purchase of ammunition, according to USA Today.

“This is about preventing all forms of gun violence and ensuring we’re doing everything we can, through a second-long background check, to ensure that people with the most significant histories of criminal violence, or severe mental health impairments, are not able to access [guns],” said Ari Freilich, legislative affairs director for San Francisco’s Giffords Law Center.

A pedestrian walks past a gun shop in San Gabriel, California, on August 27, 2015. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A pedestrian walks past a gun shop in San Gabriel, California, on Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

“The biggest question on people’s minds is what the process is going to be like, and how burdened someone’s going to be,” Alexander Reyes, owner of the Martin B. Retting gun shop in Culver City, California, told USA Today.

Californians must pass a point-of-sale background check every time they purchase ammunition. In addition, ammunition sales must take place in person. If gun owners buy ammunition online, it must be shipped to a gun shop for pickup, where they will must undergo a background check.

If the customer’s background information is not already available in the Department of Justice database, they will have to pay $20 for their first check, which may take additional time to process. Future checks will only add $1 for additional ammunition purchases.

Some gun owners say the new restrictions will drive them to purchase ammunition in other states, reducing the revenue of California ammunition sales. (RELATED: California Gun Bill Passes State Senate, Could Restrict Gun Ownership For Those With Alcohol-Related Offenses)

“To me, it’s just a way for the government to make more money … people are gonna go other places to get what they need,” gun owner Kevin McGlothan of Compton told USA Today.

“They’re going to get it regardless, they’re just going to go a different way and cut the little man out,” McGlothan added.

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