Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Does President Obama Want to do About Guns?

There is a lot of FUD, fear, uncertainty, and doubt, flying around out there about what the Democrats are going to do to restrict gun rights. One Democrat in particular, President Obama, has at least laid out his agenda on the White House web site. Under the Urban Policy Section we find this:

Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
Lets break this apart point by point:

"would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment"

I have not delved into the intricacies of this issue, and a quick check seems to bring up contradictory views from both the NRA, and from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, so I won't comment on this further, except to say that any responsible gun owner should not be against preventing illegal access to firearms.

"favor commonsense measures"

Until we see more, it is impossible to say what "commonsense measures" are, except for the specific proposals in this policy. Possible laws might be microstamping requirements, ammunition serializing, and increased regulation of ammunition sales.

"support closing the gun show loophole"

I took me a long time for understand what this issue was, because in California the so-called gun show loophole has already been closed. What this means is that Obama wants are gun transfers to require a background check of the recipient, even for private party transfers.

"and making guns in this country childproof"

I can foresee two possible results from this. Short term this might inspire a national safe storage law to prevent child access. Long term this might cause a requirement that only owner-authorized handguns be sold.

There are two problems with these measures. First, the Heller decision makes draconian storage laws unconstitutional, and just recently Heller was cited by the defense in a case involving handgun storage which resulted in charges being dismissed. I read about it at Chaos in Motion. Second, owner-authorized handgun technology is not even close to being ready for production, and may never actually be used in products for liability reasons, as explained Owner Authorized Handguns: A Workshop Summary.

"support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent"

Good luck with that, because it requires legislation from Congress, and at the moment Congress does not want to touch gun control issues. Additionally, 65 Democrats are on record opposing a renewed assault weapon ban. And finally, an assault weapon ban would be federal law, meaning that it would have to pass constitution muster, thanks to the Heller decision. It is possible that an assault weapon ban would be found unconstitutional because the 2nd Amendment has been found to protect the right to own firearms that "are in common use at the time", and there is a pretty good case to be made that nationally, AK-47 and AR-15 rifles are in common use.

So, even though there is a lot of fear about increased gun legislation, Obama's policy goals do not seem to have a realistic chance of becomming law. Between political factors and legal reality, the traditional tools of gun control seem limited. They, the anti-gun advocates, are going to have to think of something else to attain their goals.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

2nd Amendment Incorporation

In my last post I outline my thoughts on how the Heller decision would affect existing gun laws, especially California gun laws. One might think that changes in these laws due to Heller are imminent. Nothing could be further form the truth.

California could pass a law requiring all firearms be turned into local police or sheriffs departments, and such a law would be totally constitutional at the state and federal level. How is this possible? Because the Bill of Rights does not automatically apply to the states, despite what people commonly think, and because California does not recognize and right to keep and bear arms in the state constitution.

An amendment is made to apply to the states, and thus to state laws via a process known as incorporation. I won't go into details here, but suffice to that the 2nd Amendment has yet to go through this process, but there are three cases through which incorporation might occur, which all concerned about gun rights should monitor:

McDonald v. Chicago
Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority
Nordyke v. King

Note: Guy Montag Doe v. San Francisco Housing Authority was settled by the parties, so incorporation will not occur under the scope of that case. Most observers feel that McDonald v. Chicago is the more powerful case since Chicago has a handgun ban similar to the one struck down by the SCOTUS in Heller, but Nordyke v. King is currently awaiting a decision before the Ninth Circuit, so incorporation may occur through that case sooner.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Court Findings in D.C v. Heller - My Interpretation

In this post I am going to try to summarize the conclusions of the Supreme Court in their decision in D.C. V. Heller. The conclusions of the Court are listed in the Syllabus of the decision, and I attempt a layman's summary:

1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms.
1. a) The prefatory clause does not restrict the 2nd Amendment to service in the military.
1. b) The "militia" means the "people" of the United States.

2. The 2nd Amendment is not unlimited: it does not protect a right to keep "any weapon for any purpose". It does not eliminate prohibitions against concealed weapons, possession by felons or the mentally ill, or prohibitions against carrying weapons in sensitive areas. The Court noted in Heller that Miller's holding protects weapons "in common use at the time".

3. The handgun ban and trigger lock requirement are unconstitutional. Bans on entire classes of weapons in common use are unconstitutional. Requirements to render a firearm inoperative are unconstitutional. Licensing requirements ARE NOT unconstitutional as long as they are not enforced "arbitrarily and capriciously".

So, what does all of this mean in the real world? My interpretation, point by point, follows.

1. This is the real meat of the decision, the real legal, political and social game changer. All citizens have the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes. Self defense is specifically cited as a lawful purpose.

This is the big win for gun rights. Federal bans on gun possession are now unconstitutional and any new such proposals would have to pass constitutional muster. Could a ban be enacted into law and be found constitutional? Yes, but Heller takes the first steps toward defining a test for constitutionality.

This finding I think goes a long way toward pulling the teeth of any gun registration scheme becoming a basis for gun confiscation. If bans are not allowed, then confiscations are also not allowed. Could this be the start of a compromise on the gun issue: allow some kind of regulation that still allows the lawful citizen freedom of possession and use?

1. a) Gun control advocates arguments that the 2nd Amendment is limited to service in the national Guard of other military body is hereafter denied. Done. Any argument using that logic has no legal basis.

1. b) This is the final nail in the coffin of the "militia" argument: the militia is defined to be the people. This is consistent with existing Federal law, as I have noted in other posts.

2. The 2nd Amendment is not an unlimited right. This will take some wind out of the sails of the more radical gun rights advocates.

Don't expect to see laws limiting possession by felons or by mentally ill persons to go away. Neither are laws requiring background checks, regulating transfers of ownership, and penalizing transfers of firearms to prohibited persons. Waiting periods are not allowed, and so is the California DOJ Roster of Approved Handguns along with the safety requirements. Handgun Safety Certificates are also legal. The micro-stamping law would also pass muster if it does not prove to be a defacto ban. Any and every "Gun-Free" zone law is also okay. These provisions constitutes much of the gun law in California.

Allowing bans of guns in "sensitive places" may not bode well for the plaintiff in Nordyke v. King but is is possible that incorporation may result anyway.

Carrying of concealed weapons is not protected, so may be banned by states, or by the Federal government, or regulated in any manner. So those who favor CCW reform in California will not gain any new traction by Heller. The state could even outlaw concealed carry completely, and I am sure that there are elements in California that would like to do that rather than see liberalized concealed carry laws adopted.

Note, however, the important test in this finding: weapons that "are in common use at the time" are protect by this ruling. Now the specific scope of this phrase will be worked out in subsequent cases, but this may have important ramifications for the states assault weapon ban.

3. This finding takes handgun bans off the table, and is the biggest win.

The subsequent ban on trigger lock requirements may have an effect on California's child safety storage requirement, but a greater principle seems to be created. Any provision that hampers the citizen to exercising the right of self defense with a handgun may have to pass constitutional muster, such as AB 962 which would regulate sales of handgun ammunition. Outright bans on ammunition and bans on gun stores might all be argued to be unconstitutional because of the limitations these would place on citizens exercising the right of self defense.

There is a vary larger caveat in finding 3: licensing is found to be legal. New York state's Sullivan Law will likely survive, but it may have to be changed if it is found to be implemented in a "arbitrarily and capriciously". A current bill in the House, H.R. 45, since it is a "shall issue" law, would probably be okay, but it's provisions would feel like a straight jacket to citizens in other states. Other provisions of H.R. 45 might be unconstitutional (mental health records privacy), but that is for other cases. This is one we will have to fight in the aisles of Congress.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Would a Federal Assault Weapon Ban Pass Constitutional Muster?

President Obama is on record favoring the return of a Federal ban on so-called "assault weapons". Such a ban existed for 10 years, but expired in 2004. But 2009 is not the same legal era as 1994, then President Clinton signed the bill banning certain semi-automatic rifles. The Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller changes everything.

First, the court found that the 2nd Amendment enumerates an individual right. Citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, and use these arms for lawful purposes, including self defense, and Federal law must recognize and respect that fact.

Second, certain types of arms are protected from bans. Which arms are protected? Reading the syllabus of the decision, one finds the following clause:

Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
This is an important clause in my opinion. Semi-automatic rifles to be banned in a new Federal "assault weapon" ban would include many weapons, such as the AR-15, which are "in common use at the time". In fact, the AR-15 may be the most popular rifle in the country, and getting more popular by the day, if reports from gun shops and gun shows are any indication.

Given these two facts, any new Federal "assault weapon" ban would certainly be challenged as soon as it was signed into law, and I think there would be a good chance of it being declared unconstitutional.

Heller changed everything. Gun bans are out as a tactic of gun control. They are going to have to think of something else.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AG Brown - Actually Making Sense?

You know the world has changed a bit when you hear former Governor Jerry Brown, a.k.a "Governor Moonbeam", and current California Attorney General, actually say something that makes sense.

Brown is quoted in this New York Times article:

The California attorney general, Jerry Brown, said the shootings highlighted a need for greater control of the some 125,000 parolees in California. “I don’t think anyone can deny the need for more supervision,” Mr. Brown said.
Unlike many politicians reacting to the horrible murders of four officers by calling for an renewed Federal assault weapon ban, Brown is advocating something that might actually be effective.

After his term as Governor, Brown took a break from politics, and when he was elected Mayor of Oakland, the same city where the four officers were killed, he seemed much more pragmatic than he had seemed as Governor. The above comment is another indication of this pragmatism.

Perhaps we need more politicians like Brown in this state.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mixon Shootings: How Many Laws Did He Violate?

I read this article at Have Gun Will Vote John Caile gets to the heart of one issue with the tragic killings of four officers in Oakland, CA this weekend: gun control does not work.

I thought about it and realized that he was right on track because I thought about the laws that were broken to provide Lovelle Mixon with the firearms he used to kill the four officers. I have reason to know about these laws because I became a legal handgun owner myself, and I would not have believed the hoops a law abiding citizen must go through to purchase a firearm, unless it is the care that citizen must take after purchase to use in in a legal manner.

Firearm Purchase

Mixon got his guns and ammunition somewhere, probably purchased on the black market. But he was a convicted felon, so it was illegal for him to possess firearms and ammunition. It was also illegal for the person how sold the firearms to provide them to a felon.

Mixon: illegal possession of firearms: 2 counts, illegal possession of ammunition, 2 counts.
Seller: illegal transfer of firearm and ammunition to a felon: 4 counts.

Firearms Use:

Mixon was stopped in his car by patrol officers. He had a loaded weapon concealed in his car. This is at least a violation of the loaded weapon law, and the concealed weapon law: 2 more felonies.

Finally, police reported that mixon had an assault weapon in the apartment where he was cornered. Possession of an assault weapon is a separate violation. If the apartment was not Mixon's, and the rifle was in a public space like a closet or in the living room, the renter of the apartment coild be charged with possession of the same rifle.

So, here we have it, by my count the laws violated:

Illegal Sale: 2
Possession: 4
Concealed Weapon: 1
Loaded Weapon: 1
Assault Weapon 1

Total: 9 laws broken, none of which had any effect on the outcome.

Looks like all of the gun control is really working well, so why not pile on some more?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bank Rescue Plan Underwhelming

I am not in the habit of believing liberal columnists, but Paul Krugman is an exception. He may be a liberal, but he is also a Nobel Prize-winning economist, and a very respected political commentator.

In this article in the New York Times, Krugman gives his opinion of President Obama's bank rescue plan, and the initial impressions are not pretty for either the Obama administration, or for the United States. If Krugman's analysis is correct, and I am not qualified to judge its merits, and his predictions come true, then Obama may be a one term President, and the nation may suffer much more than it might.

I hate the fact that I am hoping that a Nobel Prize winning intellect has pulled a boner. How likely is that to happen?

Assault Weapon Ban - It Really Works!

A terrible tragedy occurred in Oakland yesterday: three police officers were killed, and another seriously wounded in separate shootings with the same criminal. USA Today carried the story from Associated Press.

The shooter, Lovelle Mixon, was only 26 and had "an extensive criminal history". I am sure there will be plenty of people ready to explain how he was a victim of is socially and economically disadvantaged background, instead of admitting that the system failed to keep a piece of walking, talking shit in prison where he so richly deserved to be.

And now the gun grabbers will call for ever more restrictions on waepons. But guess what? In California, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, Mixon, presumably a convicted felon, coould not legally own any type of gun, nor ammunition, and assualt weapons are already banned!

That's right ASSAULT WAEPONS ARE BANNED. But the criminal got one anyway.

Yep, gun bans really do work at keeping guns out the the hands of crmininals. Let's revive 1994 Federal ban!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

AB1342 - City Income Taxes Proposed

Are you paying enough income tax? Do you want an opportunity to pay even more? Would you feel proud to live in the state with the highest income taxes? If so, then Norren Evans (D - 7th District), has a deal for YOU!

Sponsored by Evans, AB 1342 would authorize local governments to impose income taxes and vehicle fees for various purposes. It does not specify the amount of the taxes or fees, or the purposes for which the monies would be used. These would presumably be defined as part of a local measure to adopt a tax.

But we had better believe that if this bill becomes law, certain cities, probably many of the larger ones in California, would enact taxes rapidly and repeatedly.

I don't know about you, but I am already paying enough taxes, and I don't think I should pay even more taxes to compensate for the failure of our elected officials to spend wisely the revenues they have.

Please, everyone, contact your state representative to oppose this bill. You can find the address of your representative by following this link: Official California Legislative Information.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Avalanche of new taxes and fees.

Democrats have been accused in the past of being "tax-and-spend" liberals, and the current legislative session seems to conform this stereo-type. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article with the following sampling of some of the proposed taxes currently proposed in the Assembly and in the Senate.

AB87 (Davis)/SB531 (DeSaulnier ): Fees for shoppers who use plastic bags.

AB89 (Torlakson)/SB600 (Padilla): Increases the cigarette tax.

AB390 (Ammiano): $50-an-ounce tax on marijuana, which would be legalized for recreational use.

AB462 (Price): 1 percent income tax for individuals who earn more than $1 million a year, to fund public schools and universities.

AB656 (Torrico): Oil severance tax to help fund the state's community colleges and universities.

AB1019 (Beall)/SB558 (DeSaulnier): Tax or fee on alcohol.

AB1082 (Torrico): Sales tax on pornography.

AB1342 (Evans): Cities and counties would be allowed to raise income taxes and vehicle license fees.

SB96 (Ducheny): Increases the income tax rate on the state's wealthiest residents while lowering the rate for some middle-class taxpayers.

It turns out that all of these bills have one thing in common: all are proposed by Democratic members of the legislature.

This is the "tax" part, and the spending will undoubtedly be justified by the current budget deficit. We need to wait and see if any of these become law.

Really, a tax on pornography?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Incorrect Petition at Reeds Indoor Range

I went shooting this week at my favorite indoor shooting range, Reeds Indoor Range in Santa Clara. I highly recommend this range: it has well lighted 26 yard lanes and is kept neat and clean by the staff and the shooters.

After burning through my monthly allotment of .45 ACP, I was checking out and paying for the range time when the counter guy notified me of a petition they were encouraging people to sign. Would I be interested? "Sure", I said, and began to read, which is when I began to feel disappointed.

The petition information described legislation that would regulate sales of handgun ammunition, requiring a thumbprint, name, address and other information about the purchaser, as well as the amount and type of ammunition purchased to be records and kept on file. This we familiar to me because I had recently written a blog post about it. I was glad to sign the petition.

So why the disappointment? Because the bill number on the petition was AB 2062. This seemed wrong to me, so I went home and checked. AB 2062 was the bill for handgun ammunition regulation as introduced in the prior session of the assembly. In this session it has been reintroduced as AB 962.

So what? Won't people understand what the petition is intended to oppose? Possibly not. Bill numbers are restarted at "1" at the start of each session of the assembly. That is why the legislation has "962" assigned to it in the current 2009-2010 session. Number "2062" will be resued in this session, and when it is assigned, the new bill will not be the one intended by the petition. This may cause confusion to the recipient of Reeds petition.

Does this mean that mine and all the other signatures on the petition will be invalidated or ignored by the recipient of the petition? I would think that people advocating a position should at least be accurate about the facts!

I have contacted the staff of Reeds Indoor Range to inform them of this oversight.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

SB 697 - Smart Handguns Required for Sale in California

SB 697, introduced by Senator Mark DeSaulnier really throws down the gauntlet: it requires that at some point in the future, only handguns that recognize the authorized owner, and fail to operate for anyone else, may be submitted to the state for safety certification.

This bill is a retread: it was introduced in the prior session by then Assemblyman DeSaulnier. It passed the Assembly, but not in the Senate. Now a State Senator, DeSualnier has introduced

As California gun owners know, only handguns approved by the state may be sold in the state. This bill adds a requirement that all new handguns use this new technology.

Here is the relevant portion of the bill:

(4) Commencing 18 months following the release of a report by the
Attorney General to the Legislature and the Governor reporting that
owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, pursuant to
Section 12134, no handgun may be submitted for testing pursuant to
this chapter if it is not an owner-authorized handgun as defined in
Section 12126.
And what exactly is an "owner-authorized handgun? This is defined in Section 12126 as follows:

(8) Commencing 18 months following the release of a report by the
Attorney General to the Legislature and the Governor reporting that
owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, pursuant to
Section 12134, it is not an owner-authorized handgun, provided,
however, that this paragraph shall not apply to the sale, loan, or
transfer of a pistol manufactured in or imported into this state
prior to that date.

(c) In addition to complying with the provisions of subdivisions
(a) and (b), as applicable, owner-authorized handguns shall comply
with the following performance standards:

(1) The firearm shall not fail to recognize the authorized user,
and shall not falsely recognize an unauthorized user, more than one
time per thousand recognition attempts.

(2) The time from first contact to use recognition and firearm
enablement shall be no more than 0.5 seconds.

(3) The time from loss of contact with the authorized user to
firearm disablement shall be no more than 0.5 seconds.

(4) When the firearm is enabled, the "ready" condition shall be
indicated by a visible indicator.

(5) If the firearm is battery operated, the firearm shall be
equipped with a "low power" indicator that emits an audible signal.

(6) If the user is not recognized, or if the power supply fails,
the firearm shall be inoperable.

(7) Enabling authorized user information shall be stored in the
firearm as permanent memory that is restored when power is restored.

(8) The firearm shall be capable of use by more than one
authorized user and, if the firearm uses hand recognition technology,
it shall recognize either of the authorized user's hands.

So, what are the effects of all of this if is becomes law?

First, eighteen months after some date in the future when the Attorney General decides that the technology is mature enough, all new handguns for sale in California must be able to identify the authorized owner. If a handgun maker does not wish to make such weapons, or if there are only a few manufacturers, tough.

Second, all handguns on the DOJ list prior to that date will still be able to be sold in the state. But handguns, like other products, are not for sale forever, and all handguns must be retested periodically. Some manufacturers may not keep the old models in production forever.

Third, this law may very well pass Constitutional muster as "reasonable regulation" and defy attempts to overturn it on Second Amendment grounds, presuming incorporation happens prior to the effective date of the regulation.

How likely is this to actually happen? Probably not real soon. The National Academies Press published "Owner-Authorized Handguns: A Workshop Summary" in 2003 that summarizes the state of the technology. It is in the preliminary research stage, with no estimate as to when it might be introduced into actual products.

But that may not prevent this bill from becoming law, or if it does, from the State of California to decide on its own that the requirement should go into effect. Remember, this state does not like guns.

SB 746 - Gun Safety Board Proposed.

State Senator 746, introduced by Mark DeSaulnier, would create a gun Safety Board within the Department of Health.

What would this board be charged to do? Here is the relevant law:

 (2) The purpose of the board would be to oversee and implement a
strategy to reduce the incidents of gun violence and accidental
shootings, including the number of homicides, injuries, suicides and
deaths in order to save money on gunshot related deaths, nonfatal
injuries, medical costs, incarceration and the devastation to society
as a whole.
How would the board accomplish these goals? The legislation lays this out as well:

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that any legislation
enacted to create the board would also require the board to do all of
the following:
(1) Implement programs, and adopt standards, rules, and
regulations in accordance with the provisions of this act to reduce
gun violence.
(2) Conduct research into the causes of, and solutions to, gun
violence, and systematically attack the serious problems caused by
gun violence.
(3) Provide grant money to reduce gun violence.
(d) The board would do both of the following:
(1) Contract for technical advisory services and other services as
may be necessary for the performance of its powers and duties.
(2) Appoint advisory groups and committees as it requires.
And how would all of this be paid for? By gun owners, of course:

 (e) It is the intent of the Legislature that any legislation
enacted to create the board would also provide funding for the board
by imposing a twenty-five dollar ($25) fee on all retail sales of
firearms, or transfers of firearms between persons who are not
licensed firearms dealers, and that moneys generated pursuant to
those provisions would be deposited in the Gun Safety Board Special
What "regulations" might this board enact? Who can say in advance, but I am sure they will not be friendly to gun owners, and I am not at all convinced that such a board is necessary in any case. This bill is in the very preliminary stages, but it is not too late to write to you State Senator noting your opposition to this bill.

Friday, March 13, 2009

SB 585 - Gun Sales Prohibited at the Cow Palace

SB 585 introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D - District 3, San Francisco) would prohibit gun sales at a popular event venue in the Bay Area, the Cow Palace. Here is the operative part of the legislation:

SECTION 1. Section 4132 is added to the Food and Agricultural
Code, to read:
4132. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no officer,
employee, operator, or any lessee of District 1-A as defined in
Section 3853 may contract for, authorize, or allow, the sale of any
firearm or ammunition on the property or in the buildings that
comprise the Cow Palace property in San Mateo County and the City and
County of San Francisco or any successor or additional property
owned, leased, or otherwise occupied or operated by the district.
Two things are interesting to me about this:

First, it attempts to get around the problems being hashed out in the Nordyke case by not banning possession of firearms, just the sales of firearms and ammunition. Second, this act amends the Food and Agricultural code, not the Penal code, for reasons that are unclear to me.

One might think that is intended to eliminate gun shows at the Cow Palace, and thereby close the "gun show loophole" The irony of this is that all transfers, private and dealer sales, must go through a dealer in this state, so there is no "loophole" to close in this state.

Mark Leno seems to simply dislike gun shows.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

AB 1167 - CCW Reciprocity for California

Assembly Member Jim Neilsen (R - 2nd District) has introduced a bill to add Section 12058 to the Penal Code that would direct the Department of Justice to enter into reciprocity agreement with other states to honor California CCW permits.

The text of the bill is short:

12058. (a) Persons holding a valid permit or license to carry a
concealed handgun from any state or a political subdivision of a
state shall be deemed a licensee under subparagraph (A) of paragraph
(1) of subdivision (a) of Section 12050.
(b) The Department of Justice shall enter into reciprocity
agreements with all other states that have the legal authority to
enter into those agreements so that licensees under Section 12050 may
carry firearms in those states pursuant to the conditions imposed by
Section 12050. The department shall each month maintain and publish
a list of those states with which this state has established

Clearly, holders of permits issued in other states would have concealed carry privileges in this state if this bill becomes law.

The white elephant in the room is that some states shall issue concealed weapon permits to residents of other states, including California. Most notable in this regard is Utah, a popular state for concealed carry permits because of Utahs wide reciprocity agreements.

The effect of this bill would be to circumvent Section 12050 of the Penal Code, so of course AB 1167 has no chance of passing. California LEO agencies simply hate the idea of citizens with concealed weapons, despite the favorable history of such laws in other states.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AB 962 - Internet Ammunition Sales to be Made Illegal?

Will purchases of ammunition over the Internet become illegal in this state? It certainly seems so if Assembly Bill 962 becomes law.

What this law proposes is, after July 1 2010, to make sales of handgun ammunition regulated. They would have to occur in a face-to-face transaction, and certain information would have to be collected by the vendor, and records maintained by the vendor.

Vendors would also have to obtain a license to sell handgun ammunition.

Information to be collected are

(3) Commencing July 1, 2010, a vendor shall not sell or otherwise
transfer ownership of any handgun ammunition without at the time of
delivery legibly recording the following information on a form that
is in a format to be prescribed by the department:
(A) The date of the sale or other transaction.
(B) The purchaser's or transferee's driver's license or other
identification number and the state in which it was issued.
(C) The brand, type, and amount of ammunition sold or otherwise
(D) The purchaser's or transferee's signature.
(E) The name of the salesperson who processed the sale or other
(F) The right thumbprint of the purchaser or transferee on the
above form.
(G) The purchaser's or transferee's full residential address and
telephone number.
(H) The purchaser's or transferee's date of birth.
The bill also states that the transaction must be made face-to-face:

SEC. 6. Section 12318 is added to the Penal Code, to read:
12318. (a) Commencing July 1, 2010, the sale or other transfer of
ownership of handgun ammunition may only occur in a face-to-face
transaction with the seller or transferor being provided bona fide
evidence of identity from the purchaser or other transferee.

It seems to me that these requirements would make sales of ammunition over the internet illegal, even though such sales are not specifically mentioned in the bill. It is certain that at a minimum this will cause the price of ammunition to rise even further, and probably not make a dent in crime, since a black market in ammunition will undoubtedly arise.

The authors of this bill are Kevin De Leon (D - 45th District) and Bonnie Lowenthal (D - 54th District).

This bill is scheduled to be read in committee on March 29th, 2009, and it would seem to be one we need to keep an eye on.