Want to take a look at a new law for controlling gun violence which will probably have the exact, opposite effect of what the law is supposed to do? Take a look at the California law going into effect next year which requires that everyone who buys ammunition must go through the same kind of background check that is now required for every California resident who want to buy a gun. The law is being touted by, among others, the current Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, who is now running for Governor as the Golden State’s most fervent gun-control politician because, as a recent campaign ad says, he has shown ‘bold leadership’ in taking on the NRA.
What Newsom is really taking advantage of is the complete and total lack of understanding about the whole ammunition issue, a knowledge gap which he shares with a group of gun-control researchers who published a peer-reviewed article on this new ammunition law in a widely respected journal, Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences last year. The authors of this article interviewed 140 inmates in Los Angeles county jails and found that these lovely individuals knew next to nothing about laws covering purchase and/or ownership of ammunition; in particular, they seemed to be completely in the dark about this new ammunition law. The scholars raised serious concerns about this lack of legal awareness on the part of the jail-bird population since this would probably mean that the new law would be broken the moment these fellows got out of jail.
Know what? When it comes to understanding the gun business, stupidity can break out at any time. And in this case, as dumb as those county inmates might appear when it comes to the legal issues surrounding the purchase of ammunition, the scholars who did the research and wrote up their findings have a much greater dumbness quotient than the guys in the clink. Having discovered that these criminal detainees are unaware of ammunition law, the researchers ask: ”How can we expect individuals—and prohibited possessors in particular—to be deterred from illegally possessing guns and ammunition if they are not aware of the laws to begin with?” The research team concludes by saying that what we need to do is come up with some more effective messaging within the criminal class.
The point is folks, that the people who aren’t allowed to buy ammunition because they won’t be able to pass muster during a background check already know a simple and easy way to get around the new law – knowledge which seems to have somehow not yet been processed by the Russell Sage research team. And for that matter, the new California law, designed to enhance public safety and reduce gun violence, contains specific reference to the manner by which the so-called unqualified population will be able to get their hands on all the ammunition they need.
Last time I checked, there were at least 20 commercial shooting ranges operating within Los Angeles County. Now let’s say that each range attracts 10 shooters a day – that’s probably far below the actual traffic – and each shooter buys 50 rounds of range ammo before he/she leaves. Range operators make their money selling reloaded ammunition for a fraction of the price shooters would pay for the factory stuff from Remington, Federal, Winchester, et. al. This means that every day in LA County at least 10,000 ammunition rounds are being sold, of which the purchase of not one single round requires any kind of background check at all.
The California ammunition law exempts purchases at gun ranges, which basically means that once the law goes into effect, the result will be to open up the handloaded ammunition market for everyone who would otherwise be unable to get their hands on the stuff they need. And the Russell Sage research team had the balls to publish a peer-reviewed article which claimed that criminals don’t understand gun laws?