US: Judge rules in favor of gun rights in California

Law made background checks mandatory to buy ammunition, San Diego judge terms it 'onerous, convoluted'

Beyza Binnur Donmez  | 24.04.2020 - Update : 25.04.2020
US: Judge rules in favor of gun rights in California


A US federal judge has blocked a California law requiring background checks to buy ammunition, ruling it contravenes the right to bear arms granted under the Second Amendment of The Constitution.

"The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted," San Diego District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in a 120-page order issued on Thursday.

"California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured."

Calling the law "onerous and convoluted", the judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking its implementation.

According to the order, the plaintiffs are a group of American citizens residing in California, lobby group California Rifle & Pistol Association, and several out-of-state ammunition sellers, including Able's Sporting, AMDEP Holdings, and R&S Firearms.

Benitez justified his order with four points against the "constitutionally defective" law.

"First, 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."

Secondly, the implementation of regulations prohibits “an untold number of law-abiding California citizen-residents from undergoing the required background checks.”

"Third, in the seven months since implementation, the standard background check rejected citizen-residents who are not prohibited persons approximately 16.4 % of the time," Benitez continued.

He further said that California’s move to ban import of ammunition from outside the state “directly” violates federal interstate commerce laws.

In late 2016, California voters approved the strict firearms laws amid increasing mass shootings across the state and country, including background checks on ammo purchases. The restrictions took effect last July.

According to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks mass shootings in the US, there were 434 mass shootings in 2019, which killed 517 and injured 1,643 people. 

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