A warning by Maynard
Starting February 1, 2011, a new California law treats buyers of ammunition like criminals. Sales are outlawed except at your local gun store — which is required to fingerprint you and record your purchases, to be reported to the State. See my earlier post for some history on this law. Here is a news report.
The letter I sent to my legislators — which was of course ignored — reads as follows:
I am outraged at AB962 being passed into law. Considering the shortages of ammunition lately which leave gun owners scrambling for supplies, this bill effectively becomes a ban on ammunition. It also treats anyone that buys ammunition like a criminal. The result of California’s new law will be to drive business out of state, to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals and conspirators, and to deprive citizens of their Constitutional rights. The law will have zero impact on real criminals, and in fact the state will know less about who has ammunition than before the law, since most gun owners will buy surreptitiously. The law does nothing except express, at a significant dollar cost, the contempt legislators have for legitimate gun owners. This is an ugly, pointless, expensive assault against California’s decent, productive, law-abiding citizens.
As always, the double standard is glaringly obvious. When we ask that voters produce identification as they cast a ballot — which would be a reasonable and necessary precaution against the very real and serious crime of election fraud — they tell us no, that’s un-American and racist. But it’s okay to pointlessly harass gun owners who are exercising a legal and Constitutionally-protected activity. (Consider also the harassment of air travelers, which is also considered okay because the victims are mainstream middle-class Americans.)
Here’s what will happen as the law kicks in. Gun owners will be hurrying to buy ammunition prior to the deadline. In order to get exactly what they want, in the quantities they want, in the time allowed, they will order from out of state. (That’s what I’ve done.) So we’ll see a short-term spike in purchasing…but much of the sales volume will slip away from in-state vendors. Then, after the deadline passes, California retailers will see sales drop precipitously. In the future, gun owners will find a way to make a large out-of-state purchase once a year or so. Maybe we’ll form little ammunition clubs, or take an annual jaunt to Las Vegas. One way or another, a large number of us will obtain ammo while evading the state-mandated persecution. Gun owners are the sort of people that don’t take this sort of abuse sitting down.
When the numbers come in, and it becomes clear that Sacramento has done nothing more than drive its own vendors out of business during a time of extreme hardship when they needed help rather than mistreatment, some of the saner lawmakers will suggest that this idiotic and counterproductive legislation be reversed. It’s possible the bill will be repealed, although I wouldn’t count on it. More likely, the kooks in power will tell us it’s good that ammunition retailers are going broke, because now they’ll stop selling that nasty stuff that nice people shouldn’t buy, and instead open new businesses in green industries, and then they’ll hire lots of workers for good-paying green jobs.