What to expect with California's new ammo laws
Here's what you need to know
Election 2016 brought about sweeping changes in both the country and within the states themselves. Certain states tightened up on their firearm-related policies. In California, one of the 17 Propositions presented to voters on November 8 included doling out enhanced limitations concerning magazine capacity as well as transactions and transport involving ammunition. As of press time, the following regulations have already been implemented:
Jan. 1, 2017
- Falsely reporting a lost/stolen firearm is now a crime.
- No lending firearms outside immediate family members.
- “Assault weapons” are now defined as “semiautomatic centerfire rifle, or a semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of those specified attributes”.
- Handguns must be locked in a container or trunk when left in an empty vehicle.
July 1, 2017
- Illegal to possess—with limited exceptions—magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
- Theft or loss of a firearm must be reported to police within five days.
The last regulation of the year to roll out is on December 31, 2017 which is the deadline to register an assault rifle that is described in the aforementioned definition.
The bulk of California’s Proposition 63 aims to decrease gun violence with more restrictions on purchasing and transporting ammunition. These regulations will make it more difficult for citizens to efficiently get the ammo they need for hunting and shooting. Below is what’s to come:
Jan. 1, 2018
- Vendors must have Department of Justice approval to sell ammo – Current retailers with an ammo supply may stop providing ammunition altogether due to the process of getting DOJ consent. For hunters and shooters in rural areas who rely on mom-and-pop sporting goods stores, they may need to seek out a new supplier as well as plan on driving a lot farther to find the ammunition of their choice.
- Importing ammunition – Californians must go to an ammunition vendor that has been approved by the DOJ. If a resident orders ammunition from a website, the ammo in question must be sent to an approved vendor for the consumer to pick up. Purchasing ammunition out of state and then returning to California runs the risk of carrying a misdemeanor charge of transporting ammo across state lines.
- Transferring ammunition – For anyone who has ammunition they are looking to part with, you will need to enlist a DOJ-approved vendor to complete the transaction, same way you would transfer a firearm to a new owner.
July 1, 2018
- State permission is now required to manufacture or assemble a gun.
Dec. 31, 2018
- Any unmarked firearm possessed after July 1, 2018 must now have a serial number.
July 1, 2019
- Background Checks For Ammunition Required – California residents will need to have a background check prior to purchasing ammunition—with a processing fee. Any firearm owner will tell you that a background check is standard procedure for buying a gun, but to have a background check for a box of .223 is just an additional hurdle.
For shooters and hunters who live in California, all you can do now is map out your nearest ammo retailer and hope they can still provide you with the ammunition of your choice. Or, you can wait a few days after placing an order online and make the trip to the store. Either way, welcome to your new normal.