Monday, July 11, 2016
CA: Poll: Would you Vote for Background Checks on Ammunition?
An online poll is running in the San Diego Union Tribune in California. It is currently at 39% for and 60% against. This poll is a little different in that it is about ammunition instead of firearms. It is a clear Second Amendment issue, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
Here is a link to the poll.
Online polls measure intensity. They are not scientific in sampling. They measure how many people feel strongly enough to answer an internet poll about a particular issue. They measure intensity pretty well. It is common to see Second Amendment supporters outnumber disarmists on these polls by about 3-7 to 1. If the issue is clearly worded, the numbers can go much higher. I have seen clearly worded polls go as high as 20-1 for Second Amendment supporters.
This poll is not too bad, but it does not explain what the laws in question would actually do. There is no explanation that a fee can be charged for the backgroudn check, that the laws involved are enourmously wordy and complicated; that they have numerous exceptions; that the chances of them doing anything about crime is minuscule. Here are the much simplified basics of the bill that passed the legislature. It only goes into effect of the referendum fails to pass.
1. All ammunition sales to individuals are required to be face to face and shall require a background check. A long list of occupational exceptions, exceptions for concealed carry permit holders, law enforcement, etc. will not be required to process the background check, but sales will be recorded. Vendors may charge a fee of up to $10 per background check.
2. It will be illegal to purchase ammunition through the mail. Any orders done by mail will have to go to a licensed ammunition dealer.
3. It will be illegal for residents of California to purchase ammunition out of state, and bring it back into the state. Ammunition purchased outside the state will be required to be sent to a licensed vendor in California. It is hard to see how this could be enforced. Ammuniton is not serialized. Boxes have lot numbers on them, but the ammunition could be removed from the box and dumped into an ammo can, making it effectively untraceable.
4. Non-residents may legally transport ammunition into and through California, but may not sell it in California, unless is is sold through a licensed vendor subject to a background check. There are exceptions for sale to a direct family member, registered domestic partner, or hunting partner in quantities of no more than 50 rounds per month. The can legally fire the ammunition in California.
5. All ammunition sales will be kept on a computer data base that will be checked against a list of people who have been ruled to be prohibited possessors of firearms. This might allow searches and confiscation of those on the database if, at some point in the future, they are declared prohibited possessors. This has already been done with the firearm data base.
The effect of the proposed law in California will be increased costs and regulatory burden for responsible and honest California gun owners. It may put some ammunition sellers out of business. It will spark a surge in reloading and reloading components, as reloading is not regulated by the proposed laws.
Demand for ammunition by criminals is tiny. Only a few rounds are needed to commmit many crimes. The combination of low volume and strong motivation means that criminals will not be affected. One ten dollar box of 50 rounds brought in from Arizona will be sufficient for a whole neighborhood of criminals in California for a year. There are probably 10 billion rounds of ammunition sitting in California closets and workshops. None of it is registered or tracked; criminals are already prohibited from possessing any of it.
The ammunition background check bills are aimed at harrassing honest, responsible gun owners. Those are the people who the legislature appears to see as the "enemy".
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch