A federal judge on Thursday blocked a California law mandating complicated background checks for people buying ammunition, issuing a sharply worded rebuke of “onerous and convoluted” anti-gun regulations that violate the constitutional right to bear arms.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which had asked him to stop the mandatory checks and related restrictions on ammo sales.
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“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez wrote in a 120-page opinion granting the group’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
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AP report: Voters approved toughening California’s already strict firearms laws in 2016, and the restrictions took effect last July.
New York was the first state to require a comprehensive ammunition background check system for each sale, but it never took effect. That left California as the first to the extend firearm background checks to each ammunition sale.
Four other states — Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey — require buyers to undergo background checks to obtain firearms or ammunition licenses that they must show when buying bullets, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Hannah Shearer, the center’s litigation director, called the ruling “a dangerous step in the wrong direction” at a time when gun stores are seeing increased sales to those worried about the effect of coronavirus on society or their safety.