Ammunition in 2018 – AB-156Steven Lieberman
As we approach 2018, there have been some questions and concerns regarding ammunition purchases here in California. (To my readers living in Free States, I urge you to continue reading this…. you have anti-Constitutional movements in your home states as well, and you would be best served in understanding what has happened here…. for inevitably, it will make its way towards you.)
AB-156, which begins going into effect on January 1 will have, (once it is completely implemented) a dramatic effect on how we acquire ammunition. Like most of our gun laws, I believe it is patently unconstitutional… however, since it is patterned on similar legislation that exists in New York… (another bastion of rugged individualism)… it is likely that many of the theories we would use to overturn the law have already been fleshed out by courts. This is not to say we won’t make those arguments…. and perhaps with different results. Judge Benitez surprised us, when he issued his preliminary injunction against the Standard Magazine Ban, with a solid, well reasoned opinion that upheld the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. Then again, this is the land of the Ninth Circuit, a court that is solidly “outcome determinative” in their proceedings. They have made the “water boarding” of logic into an art form. Torturing reason until it bends and contorts into such a manufactured state that it fits the policy goal they seek to propagate through their opinions.
So, I am not particularly bullish about this law being overturned any time soon.
Then again, I’ve been wrong before, lets hope I am wrong again!
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This all being said, this law and its implementation phases are uniquely complicated. Part of the complication is an utter lack of reasoning behind the law in the first place. When the policy objective and the law bear little rational to one another, the law itself is called into question and compliance with it also becomes problematic.
In my military unit, I have a civilian judge that when performing his military service, acts as my S2. He lives in Los Angeles and for the last eight years has been given a judicial CCW. He is currently in the process of renewal. His “good cause” is pretty obvious and has not changed during any of his carry periods. This time however, he is getting push back from the LA County Sheriff. He asked his background investigator what the problem was and she said the Sheriff does not feel that your “good cause” is strong enough. His response was, “well, does that mean I need to send back my current card right now?”
“No, of course not. You can carry until that card expires.”
“But wait… you said that my good cause was not good enough, it is the same good cause that I used when this card was issued. Are you saying that my good cause is ok for right now, but not good enough six months from now?”
“Ugh, yeah… I guess.”
“No investigator.. you do not guess. If the issuance of this card is based on a reasoned understanding that my good cause is sufficient, it cannot become insufficient in the future without some intervening rationale.”
“Ummm… yeah… well… they are saying that your good cause is not strong enough for your renewal.”
(Why won’t the government just admit when they are engaged in flat out “MSU”… “Making [email protected]#t UP? At least then, we could understand what they were doing!)
But I digress….
AB 156 needs to be dissected as to it’s goals as well as its implementation. That being said, I warn you… if you are looking for intellectual consistency… or even a vague rational basis towards a legitimate government interest… you will be sorely disappointed.
Starting January 1, 2018, you will no longer be able to purchase Ammunition via the internet. Well… sort of. You can still purchase it online, you just cannot have it delivered directly to you. According to §30345 all transfers MUST take place face to face and only through a licensed ammunition vendor. Ammo can be bought online, it just needs to be shipped to a “licensed Ammunition Vendor… typically an FFL… and then you will need to physically go there to pick it up.
The funny thing is, there is no statutorily required “things to do list” when you get there.
Ostensibly, the FFL would take a copy of your Drivers License, but there does not appear to be a requirement (On January 1), that you will need anything else. Moreover, the FFL is really not given any instructions on what type of records they need to keep showing the transaction. The only thing I can think of is that the California Legislature wants to get into the matchmaking business. With this law, people that conceivably have never met one another will now have to have a face to face encounter before ammo is transferred.
Perhaps life long friendships will be formed, and maybe even a marriage or two.
To ensure that the buyer still has enough disposable income to take the FFL out on a date, they have written into the legislation in §30346 that the FFL cannot charge more the $10 for the transfer.
There is also a misconception that as of January 1, 2018, you will not be able to “transport” ammunition into California. This is not accurate. It will happen, but not on January 1. Things start getting more complicated in the next phase.
Starting on July 1, 2019 according to §30356(a) the borders will be shut..(a wall? bon chance).. and no ammunition will be allowed to be transported into CA. Moreover at this time the weird face to face transaction thing gets more formal. Starting on July 1, 2019 the FFL (or other licensed vendor… there is the possibility that non-FFL’s might get licenses too), will have to electronically file the transaction. The legislation suggests that at the time of filing, the purchaser will have their identity checked against a record or prohibited persons. This would suggest some sort of NICS system, where an instant background check is performed every time someone wants to buy or pick up ammunition.
This is also where things get a little… interesting.
Back when George Bush pushed for the initial Patriot Act, I was all in favor. The selling point of the Patriot Act was that intelligence information gathered in methods that were not exactly “Constitutional” would never the less be actionable by the government. This intelligence would be restricted exclusively for use against terrorists.
Six months later I was driving home and listening to a news broadcast. The Washington State Attorney General had just secured a conviction against two drug traffickers that had built a fairly extensive underground tunnel system from British Colombia into Washington. At a press conference, she boasted about her victory, and thanked the Feds, stating that a conviction would not have been possible had it not been for phone conversations recorded through the provisions of the Patriot Act and turned over to prosecutors.
What the [email protected]#$#ing hell!?!
That act had been specifically devised as a means of protecting US Citizens from acts of terror. Now a mere six months later, it is being used a means of doing an end run around the Fourth Amendment and prosecuting drug traffickers?
Yeah… THAT is NOT Kosher.
I can see the same thing happening here.
The State of California has records of all of the guns that are purchased between an FFL and a customer. That being said, there are a lot of people that have firearms legally in their possession that never went through an FFL transfer. The idea of registering them with the State of California is understandably not something that most gun owners are particularly thrilled about doing.
Say a buyer wants to purchase 1000 rounds of 5.56 ammo. Yet according to State records that buyer does not own a weapon capable of shooting 5.56. Is it reasonable for the State to believe he maybe buying the ammo to resell it to a prohibited person? I don’t think so,… but an anti-gun judge might… and a search warrant issued.
Now, we have the spectacle of people suffering the indignity of a search warrant at their homes, and with it the automatic confiscation of firearms associated with that warrant. Oh, no worries… when it comes out that they are law abiding citizens, they will get their guns back…. eventually.
It might even require the services of a lawyer to liberate the firearms. That costs money, and not everyone will be able to afford an attorney.
And this is all for what? Does anyone really think that the regulation of ammunition will provide protection for anyone?
And the beat goes on…..