April 25, 2020
U.S. Circuit Court Stays Preliminary Injunction of California’s Prop 63 Ammunition Background Check Laws
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency administrative stay last night halting a preliminary injunction against California’s Proposition 63 ammunition background check laws. For now, ammunition purchases are again subject to a face-to-face sale by a licensed vendor and a background check, and internet drop-shipment sales direct to consumers are not permitted until an appeal can be heard.
The situation returns to the status quo that existed before U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez granted a preliminary injunction blocking California’s ammunition background checks requirement and anti-importation laws, calling it “onerous and convoluted.” The case was brought by the California Rifle and Pistol Association and six-time Olympic medalist shooter Kim Rhode. The laws are part of Proposition 63, which also brought a magazine ban to California. That too was struck by Judge Benitez which was later stayed upon appeal. NSSF® filed an amicus brief on the magazine ban case.
Judge Benitez didn’t mince words in his decision, stating “California’s new ammunition background check law misfires, and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” he wrote. “Criminals, tyrants and terrorists don’t do background checks.”
Yesterday, Judge Benitez denied California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s motion to stay the injunction.
“The Attorney General has conceded that the right to purchase and acquire ammunition is a right protected by the Second Amendment,” Judge Benitez wrote in his three-page denial of the motion. “That is an understanding consistent with Ninth Circuit decisions. Furthermore, as discussed in its preliminary injunction order, this Court found Plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits.”
Attorney General Becerra immediately filed an emergency motion with the 9th Circuit to stay Judge Benitez’s order which was granted last night.
For now at least, Californians continue to be burdened with a flawed and unconstitutional background check system that has been riddled with errors to purchase ammunition.