|On April 23, 2020, a federal judge in California held that Proposition 63, which requires background checks to purchase ammunition, violates the Second Amendment. “The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” remarked U.S District Judge Roger Benitez. Judge Benitez, a Bush appointee, ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which requested a preliminary injunction of the background checks because they are overly restrictive. |
Judge Benitez described the background checks prescribed by Proposition 63, and their inherent flaws. One procedure requires citizens that are already in the state’s firearm database to pay $1 every time they purchase ammunition. The background checks cost up to $19 each, require a 10-day “cooling off” period before ammunition can be purchased, and in some cases require passports and other forms of secondary identification to verify the purchaser’s citizenship.
Additionally, Judge Benitez found that the background check system has massive database errors that prevented more than 101,000 citizens from lawfully purchasing ammunition. These errors blocked legitimate sales to law abiding citizens approximately 16 percent of the time. In fact only .03 percent of those who passed the background checks were found to be prohibited persons.
Judge Benitez also ruled that the Proposition’s ban on importing ammunition from outside of the state conflicted with the commerce clause and found that Proposition 63 is “onerous and convoluted” and “constitutionally defective.”
Attorney General Xavier Becerra was ordered to provide notice of this order to all law enforcement personnel who are responsible for implementing or enforcing the enjoined statute. California filed a motion to stay the injunction pending appeal of this ruling.
You can read Judge Benitez’s 120-page decision Here
If you have any questions concerning the above, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.