Friday, May 8, 2009

AB 962 - Not a New Idea

AB 962, the handgun ammunition licensing and control bill now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee is not a new idea: this has been tried before at a variety of governmental levels.

It actually used to be Federal law to record handgun ammunition purchases. The Firearms Owners Protection Act, Appendix I, established that requirement, but it was later repealed in 1986 when the BATF testified before Congress that the law was useless for fighting crime.

The city of Pasadena, California, passed an ordinance in February, 1995, requiring handgun ammunition purchases be recorded by ammunition vendors to much praise and acclaim. But this law too was quietly repealed on August 18, 1997, after massive amounts of paper records were generated without any use to police.

California handgun owners shoot millions of rounds of handgun ammunition every year. Go into any indoor shooting range on any given day, and it is not unusual to see a couple thousand spent cartridge cases littering the floor. AB 962 would require recording of every handgun ammunition purchase, generate mountains of paper, 99.99% of which will be useless because most will be purchased by legal shooters, and expended by the person that bought the ammunition.

Besides, does any one think that criminals will not find a way to get ammunition if they really want it? Guns and ammunition are already illegal for felons to possess, and guns cannot be sold to felons, but they find ways of getting them. They will find ways to get ammunition as well.

I can only see two reasons why people would think this bill is a good idea: first, they think that criminals would be cut off from ammunition if this bill passes, and, second, they think that placing one more hoop for legal gun owners to jump through, with the intent of eradicating gun ownership by sheer exhaustion, is a good idea.

Neither of these make AB 962 a good law.

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