Monday, October 19, 2009

California Gun Stores Prepare

The Sun of San Bernadino California ran an article about the difficulty gun stores will face when the new law goes into effect. Today it's fairly simple and straightforward, you go into the store, pick up a box of ammo that you need and pay for it at the register. In 2011, things will be very different.

"We'll have to rearrange the store," said Hector Garcia, owner of Cold War Shooters, because the new law will force gun and sporting goods stores to keep handgun ammo where customers can't reach it. "But that will be a minor inconvenience compared to the paperwork."

The most important piece of the new law, which has already drawn the ire of the National Rifle Association and some Republican lawmakers, is a requirement that anyone purchasing handgun ammunition provide his or her name, address, phone number and thumbprint. Gun stores will have to keep those records - which also include the type, brand and amount of ammunition sold to customers - and allow police to go through them.

In discussing this recently, I've been flipping back and forth. Commenters pointed out that the inconvenience to gun owners who require large volumes of ammunition, like sports shooters, and gun owners who train regularly, will be significant while the potential detriment to criminals will be minor.

Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, sponsored the bill, saying it gives law enforcement agencies a way to check if criminals are buying ammunition.

"You could walk out of San Quentin (state prison) ... and walk into a gun store and by any ammunition you'd like," de Leon said. "Theoretically, you're not supposed to buy it. But practically, they don't have to check."

Does that make sense? Wouldn't it be good to prevent convicted felons from buying ammo even if they account for only a small percentage of the overall sales?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. First off, it doesn't do the felons any good without a gun. They'll get those easy enough from their gang buddies, and why not the ammo as well? Why go to a gun store, and have to go through all that paper work when they could get it easier on the black market.

    Second off, this seems like a law made to harass those that want to buy ammo and shoot at the range or hunt; a perfectly legal activity. It does no good to require the thumb print, the name, the address, those are already covered when a gun is purchased.

  2. +1 to sheepdog. In no way does this law stop felons or prohibited persons from buying ammo at gun shops.

  3. So they don't have to worry about this until 2011. Any bets that mail orders to California will increase dramatically over the next year? Also, good luck finding ammo on the shelves in California in the next year. Which of course is going to spread to the rest of the country as suppliers try to meet the demand coming out of California.

    Possessing, manufacturing, and distributing drugs like cocaine and heroin are illegal. Yet somehow the criminals have them in abundant supply. Do you really honestly believe that "gun crime" in California is going to decrease because someone has to give a thumbprint for their ammunition?

  4. MikeB - Do you think online & catalog mail order is a major source of ammo for criminals or a major source for gun owners like myself?

    The only reason to ban mail-order bulk purchases is to hurt CA gun owners. It doesn't have one damn thing to do with criminals.

  5. Do you think that most felons would not be able to find a girlfriend or some other non-prohibited person that they could convince or coerce into buying them a box of ammo every couple years? The risk to the straw purchaser in this case is minimal, since ammo isn't serialized yet.

    ...or is ammo serialization the next "necessary minor inconvenience"?

  6. You guys may be right on this one. I'm not totally convinced the inconvenience which I admit would be significant, would be worth the benefits. I think I'm still leaning that way though. The idea of ex-cons from San Quentin ordering ammo on the internet sounds like something that needs to stop. And that argument that they'd need a credit card is bogus. Don't you advanced Americans have those pay-as-you-go internet credit cards. I don't know what you call them but I know they're anonymous. So all your gang members and wife-beaters and white collar felons are probably using them right now, don't you think?

  7. MikeB...

    If buying ammo online is anonymous, how does the FedEx guy know who to deliver it to?


    Seriously, you need to slow down and think things through.

  8. "The idea of ex-cons from San Quentin ordering ammo on the internet sounds like something that needs to stop."

    First you have to prove that actually happens. If it does happen, it should be easy to prove considering online retailers keep a copy of your ID when you buy ammo.

  9. Well, since the People's Republic of Kalifornia is a border state for me, I see a very lucrative business oppurtunity of busing a butt-load of ammo down and selling it for a premium mark up.

    My 401K has taken a bit of a hit, thankyou for creating a way for me to remedy that situation.

  10. I think this is going to benefit existing ammo sellers in California more than anyone. Now they have (legally) knocked out the competition of internet/mail order sales. Yeah, some people will go over the border but for a lot of people, a trip over the border takes too much time. They'll just buy locally.

  11. Sheepdog said, "this seems like a law made to harass those that want to buy ammo and shoot at the range or hunt; a perfectly legal activity."

    Thanks for leaving the comment first of all. I wonder about what you said, which I've heard from a number of others.

    Isn't it possible that this law and many of the others are intended to do exactly what they say and the "harassing" aspect is just a side effect. It sounds a little paranoid and egotistical of you to conclude that it's all about you as a legal gun owner.

    I think it's about inhibiting the criminals and the questions are does it do that and is the inconvenience to you guys worth it.

  12. MikeB said, "I think it's about inhibiting the criminals and the questions are does it do that and is the inconvenience to you guys worth it."

    First off, thank-you for being civil in your arguments. That means a lot.

    Second, I don't believe that this will do a lick of good in stopping criminals from getting ammo. It's illegal for them to have guns, and they still have them. It's illegal for them to have "assualt weapons" and they still have them. Take a look at nearly anyone convicted of violent crime with a fire arm, and you'll see that they were convicted in the past. Notice I said nearly not all.

    Now, given how its worked things like this have worked in the past, I don't believe that it will do any good.