Appeals court temporarily reinstates Calif. background checks for ammo purchases

California gun owners will have to undergo a background check when they purchase ammunition.

California’s law that requires background checks when purchasing ammunition is back in place. 

A federal appeals court on Monday declared a previous judge’s ruling as unconstitutional. 


The big picture: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the law. 

  • That strikes down a ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, which held that background checks for ammunition purchases violated the Second Amendment. 
  • The two judges who ruled against Benitez’s ruling – Richard Clifton and Holly Thomas – did not provide an explanation in their ruling, outside of citing case law that set the precedent for granting a stay.
  • Judge Consuelo Callahan wrote in her dissenting opinion that she believed California Attorney General Rob Bonta would not meet the burden of showing a likelihood of success. 

What they’re saying: Bonta called the law a “crucial tool in the fight against gun violence” in a statement he released Tuesday. 

  • “California’s life-saving ammunition laws will remain in effect as we continue to defend them in court,” Bonta said. “With the proliferation of self-assembled, fully-functional, and unserialized ‘ghost guns’, these ammunition laws serve as a backstop to the use of firearms by prohibited persons. We have a long fight ahead, but today, we can breathe a bit easier knowing that our ammunition laws remain enforceable while we make our case in court and continue to defend laws that guard against gun violence in California.”
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