California Advances Measures To Fill Major Gaps In Ammunition Regulation

While Congress has remained immobilized from gun violence prevention reform, California has been among the states making steady progress to improve gun safety since the Newtown massacre. This week, the state’s lawmakers advanced a dozen more measures to improve gun safety, including several measures that target ammunition rather than just the guns themselves. Among seven bills passed by the state Senate this week was one to require background checks and permits for those who buy ammunition, and another to prohibit magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Although some commentators said the bills would have a tougher time in the state Assembly, which over-represents rural areas, that house passed its own measure that would require the Department of Justice to notify law enforcement agencies when someone buys more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition and ban kits that convert magazines to more than ten rounds of ammunition, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nationwide, ammunition is subject to significantly less regulation than guns, with no federal requirement that sellers perform background checks on ammunition purchases. Some have argued that, particularly as technology enables individuals to make their own guns on 3D printers, regulation of ammunition will become particularly crucial.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation that would provide $24 million for confiscating illegally owned weapons that the police have identified, but hasn’t had the resources to seize.

More conservative states, meanwhile, have continued legislative movement in the other direction, as Missouri’s Democratic governor considers letting a bill to nullify federal gun legislation become law without his signature.