Gun control advocates throughout the country are increasingly urging Democratic lawmakers to pass legislation to make it harder for American gun owners to acquire ammunition for their firearms.
In California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is currently running a statewide ballot campaign to require background checks for all ammo purchases.
“Why is it that we have background checks for guns but not background checks for ammunition? It makes no sense,” Newsom said recently at a press conference in San Francisco.
“California can set the tone for the rest of the nation with these common-sense public safety provisions,” he said. “We will lead the nation. We’ll be the only state in America that has background checks on point-of-sale purchases of ammunition.”
His proposal would mandate point of sale background checks for all ammunition and also ban magazines with more than a 10-round capacity.
A similar law for ammo background checks is already on the books in New York, but was suspended by the state’s governor in July because of its ineffectiveness.
Newsom says his state will make it work.
“New York tried. California will be the first to do it,” he said. “California will step up and step into this debate in a meaningful way. And I’ll say this to the NRA with all due respect that you can intimidate politicians — we’ve seen them. But you can’t intimidate the public. That’s why we’re bringing this directly to the public.”
Cracking down on ammo sales is a high priority for gun control advocates because ammunition isn’t as ubiquitously protected by the 2nd Amendment as the firearms in which it’s used.
“A focus on ammunition wouldn’t infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Instead, it would guarantee the protection of those rights — while saving many lives,” a top Brady Campaign official said.
Gun rights groups disagree.
“[Newsom’s] ballot initiative proposal does nothing but prohibit access to the most effective methods for self-defense, with no measurable positive effect on stopping crime or improving public safety,” National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action spokeswoman Amy Hunter said. “They can’t repeal the Second Amendment, so they’re trying to chip away our rights until there is nothing left.”