As we reported earlier this month, California residents recently approved Proposition 63, which requires a background check for the purchase of ammunition and bans standard-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammo.
The magazine ban is, unfortunately, business as usual in California, but the new ammo restrictions are giving gun store owners a serious headache.
“Trying to learn what we’re going to have to do is a hassle,” Danielle Terry, manager of Shooter’s Paradise, told the Appeal Democrat. “It’s getting harder and harder each year to sell guns and ammo. It’s not right. I don’t see how they can do something like this.”
The law institutes a number of onerous new policies, one of which is an unfortunate side-effect of all government intervention: paperwork.
Before purchasing ammunition, customers will have to apply for an ammunition permit from the Department of Justice. The permit will cost $50 and will be awarded as long as the applicant passes a background check. But the permit will expire in four years, at which point the applicant will have to redo the entire process.
The paperwork doesn’t stop there. Once they receive their ammunition permit, customers will have to present their permit when purchasing ammo and fill out another form with their info, the ammunition info, and a thumb print. Gun stores are required to keep that form for 20 years and be able to produce any form to the Department of Justice upon request.
All of this combines to make purchasing ammunition a burdensome, time-consuming process, and gun store owners aren’t sure how it will affect sales.
“No one really knows what’s happening,” said Harry Cheim, president of Union Guns and Gear.
But confusing paperwork is only one aspect of the new regulation. Prop. 63 also requires all ammunition to be stored behind the counter, including shotgun shells. This requirement presents some serious challenges to small shop owners, who are looking at remodeling their shops to comply with the new policies.
The requirement “presents a huge hurdle, especially with shotgun shells and people who may be purchasing multiple cases,” Cheim said.
“Even though you have to be 21 years old to buy beer, they don’t put it under lock and key, and now they’ve done that with ammo,” he said. “Not too much ammo get stolen. I could see this being done with handgun ammo, but with shotgun ammo, it doesn’t make much sense.”
The rest of the law doesn’t make the situation any better.
Any gun store that wants to sell ammunition must now apply to become a “licensed ammunition vendor.”
And Californians can wave goodbye to online sales: all the new requirements mean that face-to-face sales are mandatory for every purchase.
“These are interesting times, and I don’t know what they’re trying to achieve,” Cheim said. “I think they’re creating more steps for the gun advocates.”
Got questions? Read the full text of Prop. 63 right here.