2A Win: Fed Judge Blocks California Ammo Background Checks
Russ Chastain 04.24.20
Yesterday in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez reportedly “blocked a California law requiring background checks for people buying ammunition.”
A federal judge on Thursday blocked a California law requiring background checks for people buying ammunition, issuing a sharply worded rebuke of “onerous and convoluted” regulations he said violate the constitutional right to bear arms.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which asked him to stop the checks and related restrictions on ammo sales.
“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez wrote in a 120-page opinion granting the group’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Judge Benitez is apparently a friend of the Constitution, having ruled more than once against California’s ban on magazines above a certain capacity. He minced no words in yesterday’s ruling.
Benitez called the ammunition background check law “onerous and convoluted” and “constitutionally defective.”
“Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks,” he wrote. “The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition.”
While it is intended to keep ammunition from criminals, it blocked sales to legitimate, law-abiding buyers about 16% of the time, he wrote. Moreover, he ruled that the state’s ban on importing ammunition from outside California violates federal interstate commerce laws.
Benitez ruled that the ammunition law illegally locks out-of-state vendors out of California’s market, and that it conflicts with a federal law allowing gun owners to bring their firearms and ammunition through California.
America’s Shotgun Sweetheart Kim Rhode, who won shooting medals at six consecutive Olympics, was part of the lawsuit which led to this win.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the California attorney general’s office appeals the decision, but so far they have neither confirmed nor denied an intention to appeal.