The California State Assembly and Senate recently passed, and Governor Brown signed, several bills implementing controls on guns and ammo purchases. SB 1235, the ammo regulation bill that was signed into law.
While some of the details of SB 1235 implementation are still unclear and may need to be further worked out by the Department of Justice or subsequent legislation, the California Waterfowl Association has received some information from legislative staff on details of the bill.
Please note that if Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's gun control initiative passes, it could further affect implementation and make things even more difficult for hunters and other sportsmen when buying or transferring ammunition.
The below is preliminary information about the impacts of SB 1235. In the coming months this information is expected to be revised.
SB 1235 effectively bans online ammunition purchases starting Jan. 1, 2017.
It requires ammunition vendor licensing, with the process to start next spring and all vendors required to be licensed by Jan. 1, 2018.
Starting July 1, 2019, all ammunition buyers must pass background checks at a cost of $1 per transaction, a fee that can increase at the rate of inflation. Also starting July 1, 2019, hunters may not bring into the state more than 50 rounds of ammunition purchased out of state, and only if it was the type of ammunition used on the hunting trip.
Here are answers to other questions you may have about the new law, particularly the provisions on importing ammunition:
Q: What if you want to bring back more than 50 rounds purchased out of state?
A: You'll have to ship it to a vendor in state and go through the background check procedure to pick it up.
Q: What if you hunt just inside the California border but stay with a friend or in a hotel on the Oregon, Nevada or Arizona side of the border?
A: You can cross the border with ammunition that you purchased in California.
Q: What about friends sharing or selling ammo to one another?
A: Giving one another shells does not require a background check. You can sell shells to a friend without a background check provided you don't sell more than 50 rounds a month.
Q: How can I prove the ammo I'm bringing across the border was purchased in California?
A: Keep it in its original packaging - it is tracked.
Q: What about residents of neighboring states - Oregon, Nevada and Arizona - who frequently cross the border to hunt in California? Will the California background check system work for that?
A: Non-residents will be able to get a "day pass" that allows them to buy ammunition in California.
Q: The background check system is based on purchases in California of handguns or long guns since 2014. What if you aren't in that system?
A: You can register one gun with the California Dept. of Justice for $19. If you have a valid hunting license, you don't need a Firearm or Handgun Safety Certificate.
Q: Does any part of this law apply to reloading components?