New Ammo Rules Face New Court Challenge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A hearing Tuesday in Fresno will challenge new restrictions on the sale of ammunition in California.

    Gun owners must be 21 years-old, and pass a safety test, to buy these weapons. However, law enforcement officials currently have no idea who buys ammunition in California. That's about to change.

    Open Carry Ban

    [LA] Open Carry Ban
    Pasadena Assemblyman sponsors renewed effort to ban the Open Carry law in California that allows people to carry unloaded handguns. Jinah Kim reports. (Published Monday, Jan 17, 2011)

    Starting Feb. 1, gun users must show a photo ID and give their thumb print when they buy hand gun ammunition making it easier for police to track purchases, and catch felons and others who are not allowed to buy or possess ammunition.

    Some gun users say keeping track of ammunition is a good idea.

    "People if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear," said one gun user who identified himself as Christian.

    Others say criminals will find other ways to buy, or steal, their ammunition.

    "They're not following any laws to begin with, so the only thing this is going to have any effect on is people who are trying to do the right thing and are trying to be law-abiding citizens, which are the majority of gun owners any ways," said Dennis Rohman with the P2K Gun Range in El Cajon outside San Diego.

    The new law also requires all gun shop owners to store ammunition behind the counter which makes it harder to steal. Opponents say that won't work, either claiming the same attempt to lock spray paint behind cabinets didn't deter graffiti.

    Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed the measure calling it a good way to "keep communities safe, and prevent dangerous felons from committing crimes with firearms." 

    "Open Carry" Open for Debate

    Lawmakers also will consider AB 144, which would make it illegal for California residents to openly carry an unloaded firearm in public. The bill was introduced last week by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada-Flintridge).

    "Imagine if people were walking into banks with a weapon on their hip," said Portantino. "Wouldn't that cause alarm?

    "Let's leave the guns on holsters and hips for Western movies. Let's take them out of Main Street California, let's take them out of supermarkets. And, quite frankly, some people are carrying them around for political purposes. Let's take weapons out of politics."

    But supporters of the "open carry" law say they're not the problem.

    "It's the gun you can't see that's the gun you should be afraid of," said Peter Yollin, a member of South Bay Open Carry. "We're the good guys. We're not the guys you need to be afraid of."

    State law bans loaded firearms in public. But Portantino's bill would ban unloaded weapons. Violators would be subject to misdemeanor charges.