As has been reported elsewhere, the California Legislature passed AB 962, which creates new restrictions on the sale or delivery of ammunition in California. The latest version isn’t nearly as bad as the original version (which, for instance, limited transfers to 50 rounds a month), but the one thing that concerns me the most is that it might make it illegal to buy ammunition online. The bill says:
the delivery or transfer of ownership of handgun ammunition may only occur in a face-to-face transaction, with the deliverer or transferor being provided bona fide evidence of identity of the purchaser or other transferee.
Ok, so that doesn’t sound so bad. The deliverer has to be provided an ID at the time of delivery, so instead of the UPS man leaving boxes of ammo at my door step, they have to hand it to me personally and check my ID. That’s sensible, right? Except…
a vendor shall not sell or otherwise transfer ownership of any handgun ammunition without , at the time of delivery , legibly recording the following information: (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 transferred. (D) The purchaser's or transferee's signature. (E) The name of the salesperson who processed the sale or other transaction. (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.
So the “vendor” has to get all this information “at the time of delivery.” I’m no lawyer, but if I had to interpret this literally, well, I think it means we can’t buy ammo online unless the vendor wants to deliver it to me personally and collect all this information. In theory, the UPS man could get all this information, but I’m not sure that counts as the vendor getting the information at the time of delivery, unless the UPS man beams all that info to the vendor and waits for confirmation before handing me the box… or something. In any case, as written, the bill sounds like it makes it nearly impossible to mail-order ammo without breaking the law.
So, that’s my beef with AB 962. We can’t buy ammo online, and frankly, if we can’t buy ammo online, we can’t buy ammo period, because local shops sure as hell don’t have any ammo in stock. Hell, I drove across the country, stopping at every Wal-Mart I saw, and it wasn’t until I went all the way across then most of the way back that I found some 9mm at a Wal-Mart in Cody, WY.
Well, that’s one half of my beef. I’m not entirely opposed to gun control laws if I think it’ll work, and it doesn’t make it impossible for responsible citizens to enjoy the shooting sports. But this particular bill won’t do squat to curb crime. A person could legally purchase ammunition, then use the legally purchased ammunition to commit a crime. Oops. Or, if you’re a hard core criminal (whatever that means), you can probably buy ammunition from illegal channels because, well, being a criminal and all, you probably don’t care about buying ammunition through legal channels. Oops. So, yeah, here’s a bill with all downside and no upside.
Fortunately, there’s still a sliver of hope. The Governator can, in theory, veto the bill. You can prod him into vetoing this bill online, by phone (916) 445-2841, by fax (916) 558-3160, and for good measure, via Twitter.