California’s ‘Disammoment’ Campaign Targets Legal Gun Owners

California’s law requiring background checks for purchases of ammunition kicked in on July 1. Since then, according to the state attorney general, there have been 345,000 background checks. In 101 cases, the purchases were prohibited and 62,000 buyers were denied or rejected. Those 62,000 people, as it happens, were legally entitled to purchase ammunition. The rejected include off-duty sheriff’s deputies purchasing shotgun shells to hunt ducks. State officials attribute the problem to glitches and discrepancies amount state databases, but legal gun owners and law-abiding citizens have plenty of room for doubt.

Attorney Ari Freilich of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is on record as saying that the system is already working “as intended.” Freilich also ties the rejections to “red flag” laws that allow the seizure of firearms from those who have committed no crime. 

Former California Senate boss Kevin de Leon defends the background-check law and calls the complaints “hyperbole over a technical issue that’s easily solvable.” As it happens, if the former Senate boss tried to buy ammunition he might get turned down. In 2017, Kevin de Leon claimed that his father was a Chinese cook born in Guatemala and that the name on his birth certificate and voter rolls is Kevin Alexander Leon. 

Most if not all legal, law-abiding gun owners have the same name on all official documents, yet tens of thousands find themselves denied the purchase of ammunition. Defenders of the law say it’s working as intended, so law-abiding gun owners can believe they, not criminals are the primary target. Denial of ammunition purchases makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights. Repressive gun laws also leave people more vulnerable to violent criminals. As inspector Claude Lebel told Madame de Montpelier in The Day of the Jackal, have no doubt about the seriousness of your position.

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