Background checks on ammunition purchases begin next month in California

In two and a half weeks, getting ammunition in California is going to get a little more complicated due to a 2016 law.

“A change in the law requires any individual buying ammunition to go through an instant background check,” said Chris Puehse, who owns Foothill Ammo in Shingle Springs.

The background check will cost $1 every time a purchase is made. Exactly how the process will work remains a mystery — even to gun store owners.

“I’ve received one email from them so far, and that email was simply how to set up an account with the DOJ so they can collect their dollar on every transaction of business I do. Other than that, I don’t know how this is going to roll out,” Puehse said.

“Nobody can come up with any solid answers of what we got to do,” said Don Reed, with DGS Ammo & Airguns in Sacramento.

Reed said the system would check to see if each buyer is a felon and if they are a registered gun owner of the model gun they are buying ammo for. If they are not, they can’t buy the ammo.

“If you have a gun and your wife has a gun and she’s registered with that gun, you can’t buy her ammo for her,” Reed said.

According to the owners, sales have gone up due to the changes and confusion. Puehse said he’s sold in 10 days what normally takes him an entire month.

“Everyone that sells ammunition in the state has done really well selling ammunition. People are running in and really stockpiling,” said Puehse. “I think that law is stimulating that buying frenzy, as we call it.”

Both store owners agree that, although business is up prior to the new law taking effect, a slump in sales is expected immediately following July 1.

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