December 27th, 2010

California Mail-Order Ammo Ban Goes on Trial in January

AB962 TrialA legal challenge proceeds against a new California law (AB962) slated to go into effect February 1, 2011. As of that date, California will require buyers of handgun ammunition to provide personal information and a fingerprint with every ammo purchase. In addition, the new law would effectively ban mail-order and internet ammo sales, since AB962 requires that all “handgun ammunition” sales be conducted through “face-to-face” transactions. Right now it looks like “handgun ammunition” will be interpreted broadly, and this could include .223 Rem, .30-30, 7.62×39 — basically anything that has ever been shot in a handgun (even the single-shot variety).

Not surprisingly, the California Department of Justice has not created any regulations to better define what constitutes “handgun ammunition” under AB 962. Currently, the Department of Justice is involved in litigation challenging the constitutionality of AB 962. The case, Parker et al. v. State of California, et al., is expected to go to trial January 18, 2011. The judge has indicated he intends to render a ruling before February 1. Meanwhile, the California Department of Justice has refused to provide any practical guidance that would better enable industry members to comply with the law’s vaguely worded definition of “handgun ammunition.”

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