Town with a “Libertarian Streak” Is California’s First “Second Amendment Sanctuary City.” It Shouldn’t Be the Last.

Starting July 1, people buying ammunition in California must undergo the same background check the Golden State has long required for the purchase of a firearm. Californians had been stocking up before the deadline, but those who sought to purchase ammunition in the state capital of Sacramento got a surprise. As staff at Big 5 Sporting Goods explain, since January 1, the city has required a driver’s license and thumbprint for the purchase of ammo. 

Both city and state measures treat law-abiding citizens as though they had committed a crime. Those concerned about their Second Amendment rights, and who can get a pizza to their house faster than the police, might wonder what other places have imposed similar measures on ammunition. As Stephen Halbrook noted, Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied France strictly controlled both guns and ammunition for groups they disfavored. So did the Ottoman Turks, as Peter Balakian showed in The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. In California, where many Armenians fled, one city is going another way.

As the San Bernardino Sun reports, this month the city of Needles “declared itself a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary City,’ a message that city leaders say is partly about support for gun rights and partly a desire to get an exemption from state law so out-of-state gun owners can travel through town and for residents to purchase ammunition.” As Needles mayor Jeff Williams explained, “It’s a conservative town with a streak of libertarianism.” With other cities giving shelter to violent criminals and even helping them escape, why not shelter law-abiding citizens who only want to exercise their Second Amendment rights? It’s a no-brainer, and Needles has also authorized the legal sale and manufacture of cannabis to generate revenue. Let freedom ring. 

On July 1, meanwhile, California’s new gasoline tax kicks in, adding 5.6 cents per gallon of gas. The state will average $4 a gallon in the state, almost $1.20 more than the national average. A full 70 cents of that difference is due to California’s regulations, and of course the new tax. That arrives just in time for July 4. Happy motoring everybody!


K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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