Federal Judge blocks background check on ammunition purchases
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A San Diego federal judge today blocked a state law requiring background checks for people purchasing ammunition, opining that it does little to keep ammunition out of the hands of criminals and infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
In his 120-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez said background check requirements approved by California voters “have a severely disproportionate effect on law-abiding citizen-residents.”
In the opening of his opinion, the judge wrote, “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.”
While the law’s intent to prohibit felons from acquiring ammunition is “laudable,” the judge wrote, “there is little evidence that pre-purchase ammunition background checking will accomplish the goal and the burden it places on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding firearm owners is profound.”
The law that took effect last summer “defies common sense,” as “criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks,” and law-abiding residents would be deterred from undergoing the required checks, the judge wrote.
The law has blocked ammunition sales to legitimate buyers “16.4% of the time” since going into effect, according to Benitez.
The judge also ruled that state law forbidding ammunition importation from out-of-state violates federal interstate commerce laws.
The lawsuit at the heart of the ruling was filed on behalf of lead plaintiff and Olympic shooter Kim Rhode against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Michael Schwartz, Executive Director of the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, joined KUSI to discuss this.