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News > U.S.

Judge Blocks California's Ammunition Background Check Law

  • Representation of the background check procedure before purchasing ammunition.

    Representation of the background check procedure before purchasing ammunition. | Photo: X/ @FOX40

Published 1 February 2024

It is the second time that Federal Judge Benítez annuls the law that came into force in 2019.

On Wednesday, Roger Benitez, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, ruled that California can't enforce a law requiring people to undergo background checks before buying ammunition.


California Law Banning Guns in Public Once Again Blocked

Benitez stated the restrictions have "no historical pedigree" and violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects the right to keep and bear arms.

It is the second time that Benitez has struck down the same law which went into effect in 2019. He previously declared the law unconstitutional in April 2020. California appealed the decision, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the law.

Before the upper court could rule on that appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2022 that expanded the right of people to arm themselves in public.

Therefore, the 9th Circuit sent the case back to Benitez to be re-litigated under the Supreme Court's ruling which holds that modern gun laws must be "consistent with the nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation."

Benitez's new ruling was applauded by the California Rifle and Pistol Association, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The group said that the ruling represented "continued progress in rolling back decades of attacks on the rights of lawful gun owners."

Following the ruling, California Governor Gavin Newsom renewed his criticism of Benitez for having issued multiple decisions favoring firearms owners, stressing "background checks save lives."

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he will appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and seek an immediate stay of the district court's decision.

"These laws were put in place as a safeguard and a way of protecting the people of California -- and they work. We will continue to fight for our authority to keep Californians safe," he said.

Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation, as mass shootings are on the rise. On average, there are over 110 gun-related deaths each day and nearly 41,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Guns are the leading cause of deaths among U.S. children and adolescents, with children being more likely to die from gun violence than in any other comparable country.

California has a reputation as a tough place to buy a gun. Its gun laws have been ranked the strongest in the nation by the gun-control advocacy group Giffords.

Early this year, a California state law prohibiting the possession of guns in most public spaces was halted by the 9th Circuit, and arguments in the case will be heard in April.

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