April 24, 2020
Hunters and gun owners in California scored a huge win against anti-gun forces Thursday when U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued an injunction preventing the state of California from enforcing Proposition 64, which greatly restricts legal gun owners from purchasing ammunition.
“These new laws are constitutionally defective for several reasons,” wrote Benitez in a 120-page opinion. “First, criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks. The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition. Second, the implementing regulations systematically prohibit or deter an untold number of law-abiding California citizen-residents from undergoing the required background checks.”
Judge Benitez went on to write “California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured” in his ruling in favor of a lawsuit brought forth against the state by the California Rifle & Pistol Association.
Proposition 63, along with California Senate Bill No. 1235, put undue strain on hunters and gun owners in California, first by eliminating direct shipments of ammunition to consumers, and second, requiring background check for all ammunition purchases. The latter restriction was enacted on July 1, 2019, and immediately made buying ammo in California all but impossible as state background check system created a tangled web made all but unnavigable by bureaucracy.
It should be no surprise Judge Benitez agreed.
“We know that a very large number of law-abiding citizens holding Second Amendment rights have been heavily burdened in order to screen out a very small number of prohibited persons attempting to buy ammunition through legal means,” wrote Benitez. “[It] could be that the background check laws are having incredibly chilling effects on law-abiding gun owners.”
California has become the front lines in the anti-gun battle, as the state has put forth and enacted a number of laws expressly designed to prevent legal, Constitutionally protected gun ownership, including universal background checks, “assault weapon” and extended magazine bans, gun registry, red-flag law and purchasing limits on both the number of guns and age of the gun buyer, among a raft of other questionable regulations. This most recent decision gives California residents a reason to celebrate in a time when big wins are hard to come by.
“This is a devastating blow to the anti-gun-owner advocates who falsely pushed Prop 63 in the name of safety. In truth, red tape and the state’s disastrous database errors made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Californians to purchase ammunition for sport or self-defense.” said Chuck Michel, President and General Counsel of the California Rifle & Pistol Association. “The Court found that the flimsy reasons offered by the government to justify these Constitutional infringements were woefully inadequate."