SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A federal judge blocked a California gun law on Thursday that required people to undergo a background check before purchasing ammunition.
“Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks.”
– Judge Roger Benitez
The law was challenged by the California Rifle & Pistol Association. They asked the court to halt background checks with a preliminary injunction, and Benitez ruled in their favor.
“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,” Benitez wrote in his 120-page opinion.
“Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks,” he added. “The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition.”
Benitez reportedly claimed the law blocked legitimate sales to law-abiding citizens, about 16 percent of the time. Moreover, he ruled that California’s ban on importing ammo from outside the state violates federal interstate commerce laws.
California became the first state in the country to require background checks for ammo purchases when the law took effect back in July.
Ammunition sales jumped 300 percent in June before the regulations took effect. Voters originally approved the measure back in 2016.
The state attorney general’s office told the AP it is reviewing the decision but did not immediately say if it would appeal the decision or not.
UPDATE: A federal appeals court reinstated a California background-check requirement for ammunition purchases after another court had deemed the law unconstitutional and a violation of the Second Amendment. Read more.