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Judge Kills California’s Background Check Law for Ammo

In case you were wondering, the war for freedom continues to rage in this country. Was that too sarcastic? While governors and officials around the country are using a virus that has the same severity as the seasonal flu as an excuse to torch the Constitution, courts are still hashing out the countless minor battles in this war. States continue to push oppressive laws and regulations, and, unfortunately, the courts seem to be the last line of defense.

Thankfully, that line sometimes still holds, as it did in California. They tried to push background checks for ammo sales, and the judge who ruled on it was having none of this.

California actually wasn’t the first state to go for some form of this law. New York passed a similar law earlier, but it was never fully put into effect. A number of other states have regulations on ammo sales that require a background check and some kind of ID card. Those states include Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

California’s law is different in an important way. It requires a comprehensive background check for every single sale of ammo. It’s quite draconian, and it went into full effect last summer. It has only recently been given a court ruling.

This brings us to U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez. He works in San Diego, and he oversaw the case where this law was challenged by the California Rifle & Pistol Association. After hearing their arguments, he struck down the law rather swiftly. He didn’t just rule against the state of California; he issued a harsh rebuke.

“California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured.” That’s judge speak for “this law is terrible and never should have been allowed to happen in the first place.”

Here’s the cherry on top. This law wasn’t just unconstitutional. It was also poorly executed. You see, even though the background checks were cumbersome, they weren’t (at least legally speaking) intended to stop good people from buying rounds. Despite that, database errors in the system made it completely impossible for most Californians to ever buy ammunition.

Naturally, we’re all left wondering if that was the real plan all along. Any state that can easily pass a grotesquely unconstitutional law probably has no qualms about abusing the systems they put in place. As long as any legal barrier exists to the purchase of ammo, they can easily abuse that barrier and stop ammo sales altogether,  which in this case seemed to be their ultimate goal. They don’t have to get away with it for very long before all of the ammo sellers go out of business. They almost got away with it this time.

This is a big win for the Second Amendment, but it’s really a mixed bag. The fact that a state could pass this law in the first place is disheartening. That there are six states that have passed legislation limiting the sale of ammunition is even worse. The war hasn’t been lost, but 2nd Amendment supporters have clearly lost ground over the past few years.

This isn’t a call to quit or throw in the towel — just the opposite. We can still win victories, but we can’t ever back down or stop fighting. This is why we don’t give an inch. Every time we slip, they steal more freedom, and getting it back is an even greater challenge than protecting it in the first place.


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