More than 50,000 CA Gun Owners' Ammo Purchases Denied Due to Database Issues

When California legislators passed a slew of gun control laws, dubbed “Gunpocalypse” or “Gunmaggedon” in 2016, the laws were passed with merely a skeletal framework, inadequate funding, and were slated to go into effect far sooner than was possible from any type of project management perspective.


One of the Gunpocalypse laws expanded the definition of “assault weapon” and required California residents to register their (neutered) “assault weapons” by utilizing a new California DOJ website by July 1, 2018, but the state couldn’t even provide a functioning website to the public. A lawsuit filed by several gun rights groups alleges that the site wasn’t even accessible for a full week before the deadline, but the DOJ insisted that Californians were still obligated to abide by the law.

Another Gunpocalypse law required a background check to simply purchase ammunition. Beginning July 1, 2019, the state’s ammunition vendors are required to perform a background check on every single ammunition purchase. If a customer already has a gun registered with the state – AND the information on their ID matches what’s in the gun registration database – after they pay a $1 background processing fee they’ll be allowed to purchase the ammo. If they don’t have a gun registered with the state they have to pay a $19 fee and possibly wait days to be cleared to purchase ammo.

(As an aside: Can you imagine the uproar from progressives if someone had to pay a processing fee to have their ID checked before they vote, or be forced to wait? Or if a woman had to be cleared for an abortion, which isn’t even a constitutional right?)

As anticipated by gun owners and gun rights groups, the whole “instant background check” apparatus isn’t working so well. The Sacramento Bee reports:


Between July 1 and November, nearly one in every five ammunition purchases was rejected by the California Department of Justice, the figures show.

Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.

Yet another 62,000 ammunition purchases were rejected as well. Those people left empty-handed because their personal information hadn’t been entered into the state’s system, or the information on their identification cards didn’t match what officials had entered into the California gun registry database, which retail sellers must review when they do the ammunition background check.

In court documents, the California Department of Justice claims that the rejection rate is now down to 15 percent and blames the high level of rejections on ammunition vendors and consumers being unfamiliar with the computer system. In other words, they’re telling gun owners to clear their cookies and cache and reboot to see if that helps.

Californians can’t even (legally) go over the border to Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon to purchase ammunition if they’re wrongfully denied. The law now prohibits “importation” of ammunition from other states without going through a licensed vendor and…passing a background check. (They really have thought of everything. For the first time ever.)

Gun control crazies roll their eyes and say, “Meh, it’s just an inconvenience” and characterize the complaints as “hyperbole.”


“We can easily overcome this technical issue,” said [Former Sen. Kevin] de León, who’s currently running for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. “To the NRA and others who don’t believe that we should keep our communities safe from gunfire, I would say stop the hyperbole over a technical issue that’s easily solvable and be part of the solution to reduce dramatically the numbers of needless killings that happen in our communities every single day.”

If these technical issues were so easily overcome, they should have been fixed by now. It’s been nearly six months since the plan’s rollout and more than three years since the underlying legislation was passed. It’s a safe bet that fixes aren’t high on the priority list for Xavier Becerra’s Department of Justice. After all, this is the same organization in which a high-ranking official, when confronted with the suggestion that the group’s failure to create a functional assault weapon registration website might lead to a lawsuit, replied, “Not going to please everyone. 😉.”



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