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Federal Judge Overturns California Ammunition Background Check Laws


In a significant ruling, a federal judge has declared California’s laws mandating background checks for ammunition purchases unconstitutional, as reported by Reuters. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego concluded that these laws lack historical precedent and infringe upon the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.

Judge Benitez, appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, has a history of rulings that favor gun rights. His latest decision blocks the enforcement of measures that California voters had approved in a 2016 ballot initiative. The initiative initially required gun owners to obtain a four-year ammunition permit for $50, which was later amended by legislators to include automated background checks for each ammunition purchase.

This ruling follows an earlier injunction by Benitez in April 2020 against the background check requirement. The decision was revisited upon request from a federal appeals court, in light of the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating firearms restrictions to align with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

The office of California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, both supporters of the background checks, had not immediately responded to requests for comment. This development represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over gun control and Second Amendment rights in California and across the United States.