Ammunition sales and transfers in California will soon be subject to a complex and convoluted background check procedure beginning July 1, 2019, as a result of Proposition 63 and Senate Bill No. 1235. But before that can happen, the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) must propose all of the necessary regulations to ensure gun owners and ammunition retailers have clear, adequate guidelines when transferring ammunition. Recently, DOJ introduced what is believed to be the first in a series of proposed regulations on that issue. On Thursday, January 31, attorneys for NRA and CRPA submitted a comprehensive letter in opposition to DOJ’s proposed language.
As currently drafted, DOJ’s proposed regulations suffer from significant and serious flaws. Most notable among these flaws is how the proposed regulations are incomplete, leaving many questions regarding the proper procedure for transferring ammunition unanswered. Under California law, any proposed regulation must be capable of being easily understood by those persons directly affected by them. But as discussed in NRA and CRPA’s comment letter, DOJ’s proposed regulations fail to meet this standard.
In addition to submitting written comments, Dan Reid, Western Regional Director for NRA, provided oral testimony during a public hearing on DOJ’s proposal in Sacramento
Our comment letter also illustrates how DOJ’s proposal conflicts with state and federal law. For example, DOJ’s proposal would require individuals to provide their citizenship status in connection with the required background check. But such information can only be used to cross-reference federal databases, which DOJ is prohibited from accessing for the purposes of conducting ammunition sales background checks. What’s more, recently enacted state law expressly prohibits DOJ from inquiring into an individual’s immigration status.
DOJ is required to respond to all of the comments before submitting their proposal to California’s Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) for final approval. Any substantive changes to the proposal will also require an additional public comment period before submission to OAL. We will continue to monitor the status of the proposal and provide updates as they become available.
In the meantime, visit the NRA-ILA California dedicated webpage at www.StandAndFightCalifornia.com.