Federal Judge Rules California Cannot Require Residents To Pass A Background Check To Buy Bullets

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled against California’s stringent ammunition purchase laws, effectively removing the requirement for residents to undergo and finance a background check with each bullet purchase, Associated Press (AP) reported.

The ruling takes effect immediately and challenges the state’s unique position on ammunition control, which previously mandated background checks for every transaction, with fees varying between $1 and $19 based on the buyer’s eligibility. This judicial decision has sparked a significant debate, juxtaposing public safety concerns against constitutional rights, according to AP.

Judge Benitez criticized California’s automated background check system and claimed it had a rejection rate of approximately 11% in the first half of 2023. “How many of the 58,087 needed ammunition to defend themselves against an impending criminal threat and how many were simply preparing for a sporting event, we will never know,” Benitez said, per AP, “What is known is that in almost all cases, the 322 individuals that are rejected each day are being denied permission to freely exercise their Second Amendment right — a right which our Founders instructed shall not be infringed.” (RELATED: Red State Gov Signs Executive Order Increasing Background Checks, Calls For Legislation Following Shooting)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, advocating for a delay in the ruling’s implementation to facilitate an appeal, highlighted the potential risks to public safety. “We will not stop in our efforts to protect the safety of communities and Californians’ rights to go about their business without fear of becoming victims of gun violence, while at the same time respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Bonta said, per AP.

The California Rifle & Pistol Association has welcomed Benitez’s decision. “…it has made it much more difficult and expensive for law-abiding gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment right to defend themselves and their family,Chuck Michel, president and general counsel of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said, according to AP.

This ruling came amidst a broader national reevaluation of gun laws, prompted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that mandates a historical consistency in firearm regulation interpretations, AP noted. As California’s stringent gun laws face increasing scrutiny and legal challenges, the discourse on gun control and constitutional rights continues to evolve.