Old NRA slogan: “Guns don’t kill people — bullets kill people,” is getting a new twist in the California legislature.
Responding to increasing outcry about firearm control in the wake of Newton school shooting, democratic lawmakers are proposing new regulations and taxes on sales of ammunition. Their argument is that a firearm is harmless without ammunition (well, as harmless as an object of similar weight, size and composition).
State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said, “We regulated gun sales because of our concern about safety, (so) by logical extension we should do so with bullets,” her AB48 will be heard Tuesday by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
Gun-rights advocates argue that this bill is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to attack the Second Amendment.
Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the NSSF (http://www.nssf.org/) said that the purpose of these taxes is to “frustrate and limit the exercise of the Second Amendment.”
The law Skinner proposed would require all ammunition dealers to be licensed and all byers to provide identification information that would go to a state registry. The registry would alert the police to massive purchases. It could also be used to flag people who are prohibited from owning guns and ammunition due to previous crimes or other reasons.
CRPA (http://www.crpa.org/) attorney, Chuck Michel, vowed to fight the bills, promising a lawsuit if any of them pass. He stated that the bills are “a way to red-tape the right to bear arms to death” and “a part of campaign to make it as difficult as possible for law-abiding citizens to make the choice to have a firearm for self-defense.”
At this time, only Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have a license requirement for purchase of ammunition. New York law that passed in January does require background checks for ammunition purchases, has not kicked in yet.
Even in a heavily regulated state such as California, buying ammunition is as easy as walking into a store, providing ID for age verification and shelling out the cash. Shopping over the internet is even easier.
According to gun shop-owners ammo is in high demand because firearm owners worry about new laws.
AB187 – a 10 percent tax on ammunition to fund crime prevention – could be merged with another proposed nickel-per-round tax to fund mental-health screening for children. The author of the law, Assemblyman Rob Bonta said his tax is mostly about generating money to “combat the gun violence in our communities,” but could have the “secondary benefit” of curbing “rampant sales.”
California attempted to pass a law in 2009 requiring dealers to record all handgun ammunition sales, but appeals court ruled that it’s too ambiguous because some types of ammunition can be used in both handguns and rifles.