RELEASES: Senator De León Announces Legislation to Keep Ammo out of the Wrong Hands - Proposal to Require an Ammo Permit on par with Fishing License or Christmas Tree Cutting Permits

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SACRAMENTO – Expressing a resolve to help stem the continued outbreak of gun violence, and combat the easy accessibility to firearm ammunition, Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) announced legislative plans to require anyone wishing to purchase ammunition in California to first obtain a California Ammunition Purchase Permit issued by the Department of Justice, valid for one year from the date of issuance. To obtain such a permit, the holder will have to pass a background check.

"For the sake of our children and the memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, it's time for an honest and rationale debate on gun control and how to keep ammunition out of the hands of criminals," said Senator De León.

California has enacted legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but it has virtually no laws governing who can sell and buy ammunition The only significant law on the topic, AB 962 (De León) The Anti-Gang Neighborhood Protection Act covering handgun ammunition was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009, but has been tied up in court by the NRA who’s arguing there is no such thing as handgun ammunition.

Senator De León emphasized that the state requires a license to hunt and a license to fish, and you are even required to have a permit to cut down a Christmas tree – yet, thanks to the NRA, we have nearly unfettered access to any amount of ammunition. The estimated cost of the proposed ammunition permit will be approximately $50.00; by comparison a sport fishing license is $45.93. The legislation would require a vendor of ammunition to verify that a person who is being delivered ammunition is the holder of a valid ammunition purchase permit.

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel lauded Senator De León’s decision to introduce the legislation saying, “Sacramento has proven that doing background checks on ammunition purchasers will keep dangerous ammunition out of the hands of criminals and make our neighborhoods safer. I hope the legislature will take quick action to enact this sensible bill to keep ammunition out of the wrong hands.”

The Sacramento Police Department, who has been tracking ammunition purchases through the Sacramento Ammunition Ordinance, reports that between January of 2008 and January of 2011, 349 prohibited people have purchased ammunition, 275 of which were convicted felons.

“The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence applauds Senator De León for his introduction of this crucial legislation,” stated Juliet Leftwich, the Law Center’s Legal Director.  “It is as important to conduct background checks on ammunition purchasers as it is to conduct background checks on gun purchasers.  This groundbreaking bill will help keep ammunition out of the wrong hands and prevent future gun-related deaths and injuries.”

This legislation requiring ammunition purchasers to obtain purchase permits and submit to background checks for all types of ammunition would render the NRA challenge Parker v. California case moot, giving law enforcement critical information about who is buying ammunition in their jurisdiction and ensuring that purchasers have passed a background check within the past year.