A law that would have required people purchasing ammunition to undergo a background check was tossed by a federal judge in California on Thursday.
In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 63, which in addition to banning high-capacity magazines for firearms, also approved the background checks on people wanting to purchase ammunition. The California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit against the state shortly thereafter.
San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez granted the preliminary injunction against the background checks, calling the law "onerous and convoluted," and deriding it as "constitutionally defective."
"The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires, and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured," Benitez wrote in his ruling. "In this action, Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction enjoining California’s onerous and convoluted new laws requiring ammunition purchase background checks and implementing ammunition anti-importation laws."
Representing the state, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the law had prevented at least 750 criminals from purchasing ammunition.
However, the judge said the background checks hurt legal ammo buyers and did very little to prevent criminals from obtaining the ammo anyway.
"Criminals, tyrants and terrorists don't do background checks," the judge wrote.
The same judge also struck down the other part of the law - the state's ban on high-capacity magazines - last year.
The president of the nonprofit Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said her group would support an appeal of Benitez's decision.
"This decision is patently wrong, and we expect that it will be reversed on appeal," Brady president Kris Brown said in a statement. "The Second Amendment does not provide felons or domestic abusers with the right to buy ammunition or firearms, and it does not prevent states like California from requiring background checks."
"This is a devastating blow to the anti-gun-owner advocates who falsely pushed Prop 63 in the name of safety," California Rifle and Pistol Association president Chuck Michel said in a statement. "In truth, red tape and the state’s disastrous database errors made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Californians to purchase ammunition for sport or self-defense."
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