For ammunition purchaser in California, AB 962 means that every time you buy ammunition you have to present ID, fill out a form, and leave your thumbprint on the form. (Search here for "AB 962" to read the full final text of the bill, including the history, voting and status.)
Surprisingly, the Canada Free Press published a condemnatory (aka: opposed to bill on civil rights grounds) article on behalf of the NRA, which laudes Arnie for vetoing Senate Bill 585, which would have prohibited fire-arms sales in the Cow Palace. This was obviously nothing less than a direct assault on Gun Shows.
But when it came to AB 962, Arnie Blinked:
Unfortunately, the Governor did sign AB962. This bill requires individuals purchasing ammunition be fingerprinted and registered at the time of sale, mandates that dealers keep these records and make them available for inspection by the California Department of Justice. Ammunition retailers would also have to store ammunition in such a manner that it would be inaccessible to purchasers. Finally, mail order ammunition sales are prohibited under AB962. Over twenty years ago, Congress abolished similar requirements because ammunition sales records were found to be useless for solving crimes. AB962 is a dire threat to our Second Amendment rights in the Golden State.We see the word "registered" above (emphasis added) and while we are genetically equipped to oppose registration of firearms, this bill -- now law -- doesn't register firearms.
It registers nothing more than the purchasers of ammunition.
What's so bad about that? Oh, of course it implies that anyone who buys, say 9mm ammunition probably owns a 9mm firearm. In that caliber, it's probably a handgun. But anyone who purchases .22 ammunition may own either a handgun or a rifle. On the other hand, buying 5.56 ammunition suggests that the purchaser owns an AR type rifle. Buying in large quantities? You own an AR, and you shoot it a LOT.
Is that important information? Maybe. Maybe the sponsors of this bill actually fooled some folks with the descriptive text of the bill, which includes this verbiage:
This bill would provide that a person enjoined from engaging inOh. So, the purpose of the bill is to prevent street-gangs from buying ammunition.
activity associated with a criminal street gang, as specified, would
be prohibited from having under his or her possession, custody, or
control, any ammunition. Violation of these provisions would be a
The bill would prohibit supplying or delivering, as specified,
handgun ammunition to prohibited persons, as described, by persons or
others who know, or by using reasonable care should know, that the
recipient is a person prohibited from possessing ammunition or a
minor prohibited from possessing ammunition, as specified. Violation
of these provisions is a misdemeanor with specified penalties.
Strangely, there are no provisions for identifying "... a person enjoined from engaging in activity associated with a criminal street gang...", so what is a purveyor of ammunition to do, in order to abide by the stated purpose of this bill?
The actual text of this bill describes the dealer as "... a person who knows, or reasonably should know, is a person described in [various section of law, including those defining 'street gangs'] ..."
Note: no definition of "reasonably should know".
Does this sound a little vague to you? Does it put the burden on the dealer to know the un-knowable, rather than to put the burden on the Government, which has enacted this law, to provide a legal description and procedures which are reasonable to follow in order to accommodate this law? Does it strike you as generally unconstitutional?
Yeah, me to.
California Assembly GOP Leader Sam Blakeslee seems to feel the same way, as evidenced in "The Blakeslee Memo" as published in an October 14, 2009, article in "Capital Weekly: the newspaper of California Government and Politics":
The SF Chronicle carries a couple of editorials about this subject. On October 5, 2009, an editorial asserts that the bill "... represents a sensible attempt to control the flow of ammunition to the criminals without constraining the rights of law-abiding citizens."
To: "Assembly Republican Caucus"
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 13:57:45 -0700
Subject: Governor's Signatures
Yesterday we all witnessed the public policy disaster perpetrated by the Governor's hand.
His decision to sign into law some of the most noxious legislative proposals brought before us this year is both disheartening and revealing.
Most of us have read in today's papers accounts of the Governor's shocking reversal of position on the issues about which we care most deeply: taxes, second amendment rights, family values, over-regulation, etc.
This sudden realignment of his position reminds us to remain vigilant as defenders of Republican principles: limited government, individual freedom and opportunity, the sanctity of the family, and public safety.
On October 14, 2009, another article describes the ramifications of the bill more fully.
According to this interpretation:
Again: Is This Registration?
Starting in July, the law will require dealers to keep records of handgun ammunition sales for at least five years, and store the bullets securely out of customers' reach.
Like gun transactions, all ammunition sales will have to be face-to-face, a requirement that will force online buyers to arrange delivery of ammunition to a seller in California. Another provision makes it a crime to knowingly sell or give ammunition to someone who cannot possess it legally, including felons, gang members and the mentally ill.
As of February 2011, all ammunition buyers will have to provide a driver's license or other state identification and a thumbprint.
De León [the sponsor of the bill] said Monday that the bill gives police "a valuable tool to crack down on armed, dangerous criminals and gang-bangers in our communities."
Opponents said the restrictions would burden gun owners and dealers without impeding criminals.
"Ammunition or ammunition purchaser registration, in any form, serves only to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens," Gun Owners of California said while the bill was before the Legislature.
In signing the bill, Schwarzenegger said local governments that require record-keeping for ammunition sales have enabled police to arrest many illegal purchasers. Governments that regulate ammunition sales include San Francisco, Oakland, Tiburon and Contra Costa and Marin counties.
"Utilized properly, this type of information is invaluable for keeping communities safe," Schwarzenegger said.
Well, maybe, in a sense. But that's not the most important issue here.
The most important issue is that it continues the recent trend toward stigmatizing firearms owners.
There was a time when anybody could own a gun. That was eventually attenuated by including the proviso that convicted felons, small children, and the certifiably insane should be prevented from owning guns. This is not, I must say, an unreasonable safeguard. If you are constitutionally or proven to be unable to safely own a weapon, then you shouldn't own a weapon. Case closed, period freaking dot done.
Unfortunately, this has been warped to suggest (as does this bill) that anyone who chooses to possess a firearm, or the means to use one, must also be restricted. This is regardless of any proven history of imbalance or irresponsibility.
Essentially, it lowers all responsible citizens to the questionable status of crack dealers and gang-bangers.
They don't even bother to define "... crack dealers and gang-bangers"! The California Assembly (and Governor Arnie) just cheerfully assume that if you want to buy ammunition, you must be A Bad Guy.
Well, if you're a
But if you're a citizen of another state you need to take a close look at this bill, and then keep a close watch on your own state legislature. As in: "Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer."
Because you can bet the farm that, while California may lead the way, your own state legislatures will be quick to pounce on this new approach to gun control, and they will try to dump the same kind of backward/sideways/upside/down laws on you, too.
Remember, you heard it hear first.
As A1 Ammunition Sales says: