California ammunition buyers are making a run on gun shops ahead of a new state law that as of July 1 will require buyers of bullets to show identification and undergo a background check to screen out felons and people with illegal firearms, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a state with the nation’s toughest gun laws, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other leaders see restricting ammo sales as a necessary step in reducing gun tragedies. Newsom included restrictions on bullets in Proposition 63, his statewide initiative approved by voters in 2016 that helped raise his profile for his run for governor. “Too many Californians have already died from gun violence,” Newsom said. “I championed Prop. 63 because it is beyond time that we take common sense actions such as these.”
Some gun owners say the law goes too far in infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Kim Rhode, an Olympic gold medalist shooter, uses thousands of rounds each week to keep up her skill. The law not only creates more red tape for purchasers but also requires them to buy ammo face-to-face from a licensed dealer, hampering internet orders. “These regulations essentially prevent me from being able to stay qualified and not only hurt my skill, but jeopardize the United States’ representation at the Olympic Games,” she said. Rhode is a plaintiff in a lawsuit backed by the National Rifle Association arguing that the new law is unconstitutional. The state Department of Justice is scrambling to develop the screening process, with the possibility that the new system will not be ready by July 1. Even with a possible delay, gun owners have been stockpiling ammunition. Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey have enacted similar laws, but those states require buyers first to pass a background check and obtain a license to purchase ammunition.