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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), an organization for independent over-the-road truckers, has filed suit against the state of California for a law scheduled to take effect in 2011. AB-962, if enacted, will place what the OOIDA calls restrictions on the delivery of handgun ammunition.
In fact, the law would criminalize the delivery and transfer of handgun ammunition in anything other than face-to-face transactions. It would also require the shipper to determine if the recipient of a package containing handgun ammunition is covered by any exceptions in the law before delivering handgun ammunition in California.
The National Rifle Association, California educational and lobbying group Calguns, the Folsom Shooting Club and two Claifornia-based truckers and OOIDA members, Erik Royce and Brandon Elias agree, and have joined OOIDA in their lawsuit.
The suit alleges the law is unnecessary, being preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization act of 1994. The FAAA, the suit says, regulates the "routes, rates and services utilized for shipping and delivery or sale of ammunition to a person in California" because the provision "purports to regulate from whom and to whom carriers may make a delivery of ammunition in California."
Under the proposed California legislation, handgun ammunition would be clearly labeled . OOIDA says that law places unreasonable demands on carriers and drivers. Under the law, delivery drivers would be required to obtain a signature from the packages' addressee, determine the caliber of the handgun ammunition, and in some cases, even perform identification verifications.
That's not all. The law states that "transfer of ownership of ammunition may only occur in face-to-face transactions with the deliverer or transferor being provided bona fide evidence of identity from the purchaser or other transferee."
The independent drivers organization raises the argument that many drivers don't know enough about ammunition to know what's handgun ammo- or not. And the requirement for a face-to-face transaction means the drivers - normally on a schedule- must coordinate delivery times rather than maintaining their work schedules.
And, the organization alleges, the labeling requirement places additional burdens on all involved parties. Ammunition, currently shipped under the federal label ORM-D (Other Related Materials-Domestic) isn't the only using that designation. Perfumes, aerosol cans, beer and other commodities also carry the ORM-D label-meaning drivers don't always know what's in the boxes they're hauling.
In other words, they might be breaking the law without even knowing.
The organization says it's seeking a permanent injunction from the law being enforced on "motor carriers and air/ground intermodal carriers and otherwise legal recipients of ammunition."
The "otherwise legal recipients" would cover virtually anyone reading this story.
"This isn't about firearms or ammunition," says Jim Johnston, OOIDA president, "We cannot allow California to subject our members to criminal liability where the state has no right to meddle."
Johnston is referencing a 2008 Supreme Court decision in which the court struck down a similar law in Maine regarding the delivery of cigarettes to Maine. In the Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport case, the Supreme Court ruled- unanimously- that states cannot interfere with a carrier's rates, routes or services.
We'll keep you posted.
Editor's Note: You can read the complaint from the OOIDA by clicking here
I can never equal, let alone improve upon, Jim Shepherd's editorials. However, I can offer the observation that this is just one more step taken by The Peoples' State of Kalifornia in their ongoing attempts to disarm the law-abiding citizens of their state. And I wonder, parenthetically, why the heck they are so afraid of their citizens. Could it be because so many of their citizens aren't .... citizens? And whose fault is that, eh, Mayor Gavin Newsom?
"Gun Control isn't about Guns; it's about Control"