The Party’s Over California: Online Ammo Orders


Updated 2/6/2024 9:14 a.m. – Background Checks Back in Effect Feb. 5, 2024

Consider the absurdity of needing to pass a driving test every time you refill your car—or juice up your Tesla. That’s the level of logic we were navigating with California’s ammo law. On January 31, 2024, a beacon of reason in the judiciary had finally flipped the switch, aligning legal precedent with the much-appreciated common sense.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Roger Benitez struck down California’s controversial ammunition background check law, championing the Second Amendment rights of its residents. This decision marked a significant yet short-lived victory for gun enthusiasts across the state, restoring their freedom to purchase ammo without the cumbersome checks that have been criticized for treating law-abiding citizens like suspects.

Benitez’s ruling (PDF Download) not only underscored the constitutional right to bear arms but also paved the way for Californians to enjoy greater ease and accessibility in acquiring ammunition, hailing what was thought to be a new era for gun ownership rights in the state.

Mere days after Judge Benitez’s groundbreaking decision to dismantle the ammunition background check requirement, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown a curveball, reinstating the law.

California’s Ammo Check Misfire: A Short Victory for 2A Advocates

California’s ammunition background check law, enacted as part of Proposition 63 in 2016 and implemented in 2019, aimed to enhance public safety by mandating that individuals pass a background check to purchase ammunition. This initiative was intended as a measure to prevent ammunition sales to prohibited individuals, such as convicted felons.

However, the law faced significant opposition from pro-Second Amendment and gun rights groups, who argued it infringed upon constitutional rights and burdened lawful gun owners. Critics highlighted the law’s inefficiency, pointing to its high rejection rate and the inconvenience it posed to legitimate buyers, fueling a contentious debate over gun control and rights in California.

Judge Benitez’s ruling critiqued the ammunition background check law for its lack of historical precedent and its high rejection rate, suggesting it unjustly treated all citizens as potential criminals, thus infringing on Second Amendment rights.

He highlighted the anomaly of imposing such sweeping requirements for ammunition purchases, a measure he deemed without historical support and an infringement on constitutional freedoms.

Then, 6 days later, on February 5th, the appellate decision came from Judges Richard Clifton and Holly Thomas, appointed by Democratic presidents, to uphold the stay, contrasting with U.S. Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan’s dissent. Callahan, appointed by President Bush, expressed skepticism about the state’s likelihood of prevailing in its appeal against the initial ruling.

The state, under the Democratic leadership, celebrated this as a victory for its “life-saving” laws, with Attorney General Rob Bonta voicing satisfaction over social media. Meanwhile, the opposition, led by notable figures such as Olympic gold medalist Kim Rhode and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, is gearing up for a further fight, promising to seek a review in hopes of overturning the stay and restoring what they see as a fundamental right under the Second Amendment.

This back-and-forth legal saga underscores the ongoing national debate over gun control and the extent of Second Amendment rights, further complicated by the Supreme Court’s recent Bruen decision, which recalibrated the framework for evaluating gun laws. As California’s gun owners navigate this ever-changing legal landscape, one thing remains clear: the fight over ammunition background checks is far from over, promising more chapters in this contentious legal drama.

While the initial ruling was in effect, pro-2A advocates hailed the decision as a victory for constitutional rights and a pushback against what they view as overreach by the state. This division underscores the contentious debate over gun control and rights in California, reflecting the broader national discourse on the Second Amendment.

Judge Benitez’s ruling significantly eased the process for California gun owners to purchase ammunition, reinstating the convenience of online purchases and affecting local businesses positively by increasing sales without the procedural bottleneck of background checks.

The legal battle in California, once seen as a potential turning point for more streamlined ammunition acquisition and gun rights, now reflects a poignant “what could have been.” The recent reversal by the appeals court places the state at a familiar crossroads within the national debate on gun control and the Second Amendment.

This momentary victory for gun rights advocates, now overshadowed, serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle and the need for vigilance in defending Second Amendment freedoms against restrictive laws, highlighting the ever-evolving legal landscape surrounding gun legislation in America.

Ordering Ammunition Online For California Residents

As the legal landscape shifts once again, California gun enthusiasts must navigate the return to previous ammunition purchase protocols, requiring online orders to pass through an FFL dealer.

Despite the setback, HD Tactical remains committed to supporting our California customers, closely monitoring developments to ensure compliance with laws while providing the best service possible. We understand the importance of access to ammunition and are here to help navigate these changes, ensuring you have the gear you need for the range.

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1 comment

  • Christian Ledezma

    Perfect analogy first sentence. I had to buy something. Hope it ships before newsom comes back from target

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