A new California law that requires instant background checks to purchase ammunition took effect Monday and ;ocal ammunition suppliers say business has already taken a noticeable dip.
“It’s been a drastic difference,” said Rick Dodge, owner of Dodge City Shooters Supply.
Ammunition business has taken a dive because the Department of Justice will only process background checks for customers who use a federally approved Real ID instead of a traditional driver’s license. The current law does not specify a Real ID is required to purchase ammunition.
“I don’t have one, I don’t know anybody who does,” said Mr. Dodge who explained that when he tried to process a traditional license the system malfunctioned.
“I had a guy come in who had one and it went right through. I called around to other gun shops and they had similar issues. I can’t even verify myself or my son,” said Mr. Dodge.
Joe Degures, manager of Tacti-Cool Guns & Gear in Santa Maria, said he hasn’t had any similar system issues, but he did notice a steep drop off in sales this week.
“People stocked up, weeks, months even. They just don’t want the government to know what they have. And the frustrating thing about this law is that they’re only doing an in-state records check. Not federal. They don’t really know who’s getting what so what’s the point?”
Proposition 63, titled the Safety for All Act of 2016, passed with 63 percent of the vote in the November 2016 election.
The initiative states any person 18 or older must receive an ammunition purchase authorization from the California Department of Justice to buy ammunition
However, according to a report on the proposition released by the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Proposition 63 “provided a means by which California’s legislature could amend its requirements so long as those amendments ‘are consistent with and further the intent of this Act.’ “
Senate Bill 1235, signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown amended Prop. 63’s proposed revisions to the California Penal Code in favor of a background check system for purchasing ammunition.
“The Legislature finds and declares that the intent expressed in the Safety for All Act of 2016 is to safeguard the ability of law-abiding, responsible Californians to own and use firearms for lawful means while requiring background checks for ammunition purchases in the manner required for firearm purchases so that neither firearms nor ammunition are getting into the hands of dangerous individuals,” reads the bill.
According to a Department of Justice statement, the ammunition background check may be satisfied in one of three ways: A certificate of eligibility check, full scale background check, or check against the buyer’s entry in the DOJ’s automated firearms system.
A certificate of eligibility, “Certifies the Department of Justice has checked its records and determined the recipient is not prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms at the time the firearms eligibility criminal background check was performed,” according to a DOJ statement. An application for the certificate is available on the DOJ website.
The DOJ estimates AFS checks and COE verification will cost $1, while a full background check will cost $19, according to the California Code of Regulations. The DOJ estimates AFS and COE checks will take around two minutes.