Background Checks for Ammunition Purchases? Californian’s, Stock Up Now!

By Dave Dolbee published on in Ammunition, Legal

California’s Proposition 63 requires individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. The measure then mandates dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition, and will halt the mail-order sale of ammunition to California residents. What does this mean for California gun owners? Do you have a plan to stock up before Prop 63 goes into effect?

Multiple loaded magazines of .223 ammunition

California already has a magazine restriction in place. Don’t be caught short due to future ammunition regulations.

Proposition 63 — The Legal Stuff

In July 2016, California enacted legislation to regulate the sale of ammunition. The legislation requires individuals and businesses to obtain a one-year license from the California Department of Justice to sell ammunition. The legislation also requires sellers to conduct background checks of purchasers with the Department of Justice. Some provisions of the legislation repealed and replaced parts of Proposition 63.

Changes to State Law

Proposition 63 will require individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a permit. The measure then mandates dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition. The measure also eliminated several exemptions to the large-capacity magazines ban and increased the penalty for possessing them. Proposition 63 enacted a court process that attempts to ensure prohibited individuals do not continue to have firearms.

Striking Down Proposition 63

On May 17, 2017, five residents of San Diego County and the California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Xavier Becerra in the U.S. District Court for Southern California. Plaintiffs said that California Penal Code Section 32310, as amended by Proposition 63, violated the Second Amendment, Takings Clause, and Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 63’s added Section 32310(c), which was designed to make the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines an infraction or misdemeanor. The initiative also added 32310(d), which required owners of large-capacity ammunition magazines to dispose of the magazines by removing them from the state, selling them to a licensed firearms dealer, or surrendering them to a law enforcement agency. These sections of Proposition 63 were set to go into effect on July 1, 2017.

Illinois Supreme Court Justices

If only the common sense logic of Judge Benitez could grace more courts across our nation.

On June 29, 2017, Judge Roger Benitez ordered Attorney General Becerra to not enforce or implement Proposition 63’s Section 32310(c) and Section 32310(d). Judge Benitez’s order is a preliminary injunction, meaning the order is temporary pending conclusion of the legal case. Judge Benitez said Proposition 63’s section on large-capacity magazines is likely unconstitutional because it “burdens the core of the Second Amendment by criminalizing the mere possession of these magazines that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of self, home, and state.” He also stated, “The State of California’s desire to criminalize simple possession of a firearm magazine able to hold more than 10 rounds is precisely the type of policy choice that the Constitution takes off the table.”

Out-of-State Purchases

Starting in July 2019, the July 2016 legislation would have prohibited most California residents from purchasing ammunition outside the state and bringing it into the state without first having it delivered to a licensed dealer. Proposition 63 moved up the start date of this law to January 2018. It also made bringing out-of-state ammunition into the state, without first delivering it to a dealer, an infraction.

Plan of Action

Lower competition will likely lead to higher prices, not to mention California’s high sales tax rate. California could also follow other states by adding a sin tax to ammunition in the future, which would further lead to ammunition prices reaching near unattainable levels. Your best defense is to stock up now. If you have the means to buy everything you will need for the foreseeable future, act now. If, like most of us, that would more than strain the budget, you can buy some ammunition each month over the next six months—before the new law goes into effect January 1, 2018.

First, you need a plan. You may only own one gun or guns all of a single caliber, which makes your decision fairly easy. All you have to do is stock up on ammunition of that caliber—split for the intended uses. For example, if you have a home defense pistol, you would need a moderate supply of defensive rounds and the bulk of your stockpile would be training rounds. On the other hand, you may have a home defense pistol and rifle. In which you would want to split your stockpile and weigh how many rounds you had for each by the amount of practice you plan with each weapon. If you also had a shotgun, the formula would be about the same for each.

S&W M&P Shield Handgun

The Shield likes some ammunition better than others for accuracy, but function was good with everything we fed the piece.

Hunting considerations should be similar to your previous plans for home defense. You are going to need to prioritize by the caliber(s) you shoot most for practice and then the specific bullet types and weights you are most likely to hunt with in the field, plus an extra box for zeroing your scope or confirming zero before the hunt.

How Many Rounds Do You Need?

I am of the school that you can never have too many rounds of ammunition. I own multiple guns safes that each carries their share and then some. But let’s talk minimums that will keeps you covered. Let’s start with a Modern Sporting Rifle such as an AR-15 as you primary long gun and a Glock as your side arm. Two basic load outs for the AR would be 420 rounds. Even in a SHTF scenario, you should be able to get by on 365 rounds. Add those together with a little rounding and you have 800 rounds of .223. Ball ammunition is cheaper of course, but hunting ammunition and self-defense ammo may be interchangeable and ball is a poor rounding for hunting.

For your sidearm, 17×3=51, plus one round in the chamber equals 52. Double that for a basic loadout, and you are just over 100 rounds. Few of us are ever going to worry about using a Glock for hunting, so this will suffice as a strong minimum for storage and preparation. For me, that would also be per (adult or shooting age) person when looking at the long term. For example, in a defensive situation, my wife and I have worked out plans where we can cover different areas of the house, setup fatal funnels in a cross fire etc. If I were in a Californian’s shoes right now, I would have to take that into account as well—not to mention doubling the practice ammo allotment to cover both of us.

Look at your needs, means, and potential future requirements. Then make a plan that fits your needs. You’ll save some money, avoid some onerous regulations, and most importantly, be prepared.

Hopefully, organizations such as California Rifle and Pistol Association, NRA-ILA, Second Amendment Foundation, and others will find a way to kill this silly regulation using the Interstate Commerce Clause or something. However, if it were that simple, I am sure the legal minds of these organizations would have already so. All you can do in the meantime is stock up while you still have time.

Do you think the remainder of Proposition 63 will stricken down by the courts? How many rounds would you buy to prepare for the licensing, registration, and potentially higher prices in the future after Prop 63 takes effect in 2018? Share your answers, questions, or concerns in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (63)

  • Pat

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    California is a border State ando also has an ocean front from a self defense prospective the safety and security of the people of the State to defend themselves is gone going against the original reason behind 2A. That leaves Oregan, Nevada, and Arizona to hold the line and respond to defending the state of California from enemies foreign and domestic.

    Reply

  • james hemmingway

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    Are we 100% sure that Proposition 63 passed with 63% of the population voting for it? Maybe we need to take a good strong look at the voting results. I suppose that it could be just a coincidence but given the climate and their insane drive to promote the anti-American / anti-gun ownership agenda it might be worthwhile to audit this particular vote. If it was called Proposition 73 would 73% of the voters vote for it? If it was Proposition 23, would 23 % of the voters vote for it? I leave you with Eric Holder’s direct words, “AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS CHANGE THE WAY IN WHICH PEOPLE THINK ABOUT GUNS, ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE, WE NEED TO DO THIS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK AND JUST REALLY BRAINWASH PEOPLE INTO THINKING ABOUT GUNS IN A VASTLY DIFFERENT WAY” These are the kind of people we are up against, they will NOT Stop!

    Reply

    • Gary Hill

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      63.08%, about the number of crazy left wingnuts in Ca. That is one of the reasons I left CA after 38 years for the red state of Tennessee. I can buy all the ammo I want – can afford- from Walmart, and have my firearm(s) on me at the same time Love it here.
      AND, NO WAITING PERIOD for a firearms purchase.

      Reply

  • Festus

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    A PLAN? Hell, the only course of action is to stay the F out of Kalifornia! The place has sucked for years. Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, the namby-pamby, nanny-state adds another one to the punch bowl.
    And, you know what? That STUPID, IDIOTIC Prop 65 BS that ALL of the manufacturers adhere to in order to sell their products in that cesspool of ridiculous regulations, just goes to show how far this country has fallen. Every time you turn around, the tail is wagging the dog. If the manufacturers had an ounce of fortitude, they’d have told Kali to shove that notion from the get go. Gun makers SHOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING!
    Now, Kalifornia doesn’t want their state’s money spent in 8 or so states due to the fact that those states enacted laws contrary to the namby-pamby, nanny-state’s way of thinking. Well, guess what? THAT, my friends, SHOULD ALWAYS BE A TWO-WAY STREET! Stay the F out of Kalifornia and keep your money out of there as well. Let them stew in their own stinkin’ juices for a while and they might just come to whatever senses they have left. San Andreas, San Andreas, San Andreas!

    Reply

  • Resistance is futile

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    Maybe the people in california helped create the anti gun laws but it is the politicians constant anti gun ranting and the media support that lead the way. People only hear one side of the argument which lie and slander gun ownership which helps create these laws. If politicians didn’t cry about guns, what would they have to show the voters that they are doing something? Politicians really do nothing so they scream about the evils of guns so that they can get reelected. The support of zero tolerance in california terrorizes gun supporters in every shape and form thus diminishing new gun owners. They convince the general public that anything related to guns make you a menace to society. They support laws that erode our rights one step at a time. People are misinformed so badly that they dont see logic and follow their emotions to make decisions. This is a battle for the hearts of non gun ownets and we are losing the battle in califonia. We as gun owners need to unify and not let our difference in firearm preference break us up as a group thus making us easier to be defeated.

    Reply

  • rick

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    Let this and other stupid California gun laws be a lesson to the residents of other states. When you allow criminal politicians into office they infest the entire government with crook buddies who work together to setup rigged systems, so you can’t get rid of them. For example, they give drivers licenses to illegals who they know will vote dem. The roaches, like our state politicians use districting so they will be voted back in by heavy dem districts. All these dem criminals have broken their oaths to up hold the constitution by subverting the second amendment. I wish I had a massive can of Raid. We need term limits, but the crooks will never vote that in and no one has put term limits on a proposition which would pass – I don’t know why. We all know the system is rigged and highly rigged in CA. Watch out for the roaches in your state! The Peruda case was the big one to stop the infringing of our second amendment, but the SCOTUS refused to hear the case! What! Clearly, the deep state owns many justices on the SCOTUS because there was even a dissent written against not hearing that case. Battling corruption is a never ending battle.

    Reply

  • Floyd B.

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    What a Communistic state. You people need to get these future terrorists OUT !!!

    Reply

  • Monte Walsh

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    Great….like a couple years ago the Californians will be going to neighboring states buying up ammo and driving the prices to ridiculously high levels.

    Reply

  • Jim Parker

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    Another reason for companies and individuals to flee California!

    Reply

  • Michael trotter

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    Just get a c&r license, and a california eligibility certificate. It makes you exempt from the ammo ban, you can buy online. Not to mention you no longer have the 1 handgun every 30 days to worry about anymore either.
    Atf fee is 30 bucks. (Good for 3 yrs) CA eligibility is 22 bucks and 75 bucks for a life scan. (Good for 1 year)

    Reply

    • George Trekas

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      Hi Michael, What is a C&R license, and a ca. eligibility certificate. Where are these obtained.

      Reply

    • Trax

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      C&R = Curio and Relic available from BATFE-NATO-SPCA, etc. It’s a license that allows holder more (that’s more, not total) freedom than non-holders. Google is your friend, friend.

      Reply

  • Resistance is futile

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    Moving out of california just makes it easier for the anti gunners to pass their silly laws and then force it on other states. The solution is for more pro gun people to move into california and vote the politicians out of office. Stay and fight in california and don’t let the politicians scare you out. If you keep fleeing the anti gunners where will you go next?

    Reply

    • Smokey

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      Correctomundo, ‘Resistance is futile’.

      What California does now will be adopted by other states… unless voters show those states’ politicians what will happen to them when they push too far.

      And California needs as many conservatives as possible, so moving out is not the answer. What we really need to do is fight back. The best (and easiest) way to do that is to get our friends and co-workers to VOTE!

      Many Californians remember this (formerly) great state in the ’70’s and ’80’s, when it was very conservative. The liberal infestation took hold only because our majority sat out elections. And your state could well be next.

      But liberal laws and policies have become an expensive tax burden to the average Californian, and the average worker here is very unhappy about it. And now Gov. Moonbeam Brown and his Legislature want to make California a ‘Sanctuary State’. They’ve made themselves sitting ducks—and the new Trump Administration is looking to verify voting elegibility, and rampant illegal voting by non-citrizens. So the time to push back is now!

      And all it takes is 50% + one vote. That’s the bottom line. So get people to vote for folks who will represent US, rather than the minority on the Left.

      Give money if/when you can, of course. But EVERYONE can VOTE! And that’s the bottom line. Without our votes, they will steamroller us. But with our votes… we can boot them OUT. Because we are the majority. We just haven’t been voting.

      So no more sitting out these elections! Get your friends and acquaintences to drop their ballot in the mail; thanks to Motor Voter laws, it couldn’t be easier. Better yet, pick them up on Election Day and drag them to the precinct. Either way, make it clear that voting is IMPORTANT. In fact, nothing is more important.

      We have the numbers. We are in the majority. But too many conservatives have been sitting out these elections. So we’re losing by default. We have put ourselves in this situation by not voting.

      But we can turn this around! President TRUMP is all the proof anyone needs. Just ask Hillary, the Wannabe President…

      Reply

    • rick

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      You are wrong about just getting conservatives voting. Corrupt Brown has been giving drivers licenses to illegals who will always vote dem. Add the other types of voter fraud and we are a minority. The solution is for Trump to investigate the voting in our and every state for fraud and setup systems to stop it. No more picture ID’s to illegals or require citizenship to vote. How about a free voter ID card to citizens like a social security card! Then, getting out to vote will make a difference. We didn’t even have a republican running for senator in CA – imagine that? There was no chance to win so no one would run. Between the 2 dems Harris won and stated that she supported BLMatter! That would be like a white person winning and stating that she supported the tripleK group – but not a word about it. Thank God for Trump! Seeing these corrupt people go down is amazingly satisfying!

      Reply

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