Appeals Court Reinstates California Ammo Ban

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocks lower court decision barring background checks

April 27, 2020

The California law mandating background checks for ammunition sales is back on despite a judge's warning that the law is unconstitutional.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay reinstating the law on Friday night, just one day after a federal judge declared that the law violated the Second Amendment. Under the ruling, California residents are once again barred from purchasing firearms ammunition across state lines or without a background check until the case is decided.

Chuck Michel, president and general counsel for the California Rifle and Pistol Association, which brought the suit, said he is confident that the appeals court will strike down the law after a full review.

"The State wants to block the District Court's order allowing ammunition to be sold as it had been for a hundred years at the exact same time the value of a firearm as a self-defense tool is even more realized given these uncertain times," Michel told the Washington Free Beacon. "We expect to be back in court this week to show that the State's failed scare tactics are just as invalid now as they were when the District Court rejected them in the past."

The office of California attorney general Xavier Becerra (D.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Judge Roger Benitez ruled on Thursday that "California's new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured." He called the law, which passed in a 2016 ballot initiative, "onerous and convoluted," pointing to the 16.4 percent false-positive rate in background checks on ammunition sales.

"Law-abiding citizens are imbued with the unalienable right to keep and bear firearms along with the ammunition to make their firearms work," he wrote. "That a majority today may wish it were otherwise, does not change the Constitutional right. It never has."

The Ninth Circuit granted a stay "pending further court order" but did not offer further explanation.

A court date has yet to be set for the next proceeding in the case.