Nothing much happened over the long July 4 weekend. A pair of earthquakes in California, a huge Independence Day celebration in Washington was ignored by most of the media, and the entire fishing industry made last-minute preparations for the annual ICAST event in Orlando, Florida.
OK, plenty happened over the holiday weekend. And the quakes and parades have already been mentioned, so let’s move on to industry news.
In California, the quakes aren’t the only thing that’s shaken up the world of gun owners. More regulations are like sunshine there- pretty much taken for granted. But this latest set of looney rules regarding ammunition sales has caused more confusion than even California officials anticipated.
Since the mandatory background check for the purchase of ammunition- all ammunition- went into effect on July 1, dealers seem to have found it either extremely difficult or downright impossible to get the system working. The system, according to its designers, will “keep ammunition out of the “hands to those deemed until” - and to this point, it seems the “unfit” include all consumers- including Olympic shooting champion Kim Rhode.
She lives in California, and stands to be negatively impacted by the law. So she’s joined the California Rifle & Pistol Association in a lawsuit (Rhode v. Becerra) that challenges the legality of the new regulation.
If you’re considering traveling to California here’s a couple of things you’d better consider:
- bringing ammunition into California is now against the law, and,
- Non residents are not permitted to buy ammunition there under any circumstance.
With no ammunition sales - or drastically reduced sales- there’s not much doubt that California wildlife will suffer- again- because of more virtue signaling legislation that does absolutely nothing to penalize criminals. The revenues from Pittman-Robertson excise taxes are earmarked for conservation causes. Unfortunately (for California’s wildlife), they’re also tied to ammunition sales.
And hunters, don’t think you’ll be able to visit California and skate by the regulation by using that box of granddaddy’s ammo you’ve left there. Along with the regulations on ammunition sales, a complete ban on all leaded ammunition for hunting went into effect on July 1 as well.
And the assault on gun manufacturers (remember, Joe Biden says they’re “the enemy”) continues. The parents of a woman killed at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas are suing Colt -along with ten other gun makers- for what they’re alleging is “illegal, negligent and wrongful conduct.” They’re alleging that it’s a “thinly disguised fact” that MSR manufacturers acknowledge it’s a “simple thing” to convert the rifles to fire like machine guns.
Based on those “facts” the lawsuit alleges, “it was only a question of when- not if- a gunman would take advantage of the ease of modifying AR-15s to fire automatically in order to substantially increase the body count during a mass shooting.”
If you’re thinking this sounds familiar it’s because the language is strangely similar to the language Sandy Hook (Connecticut) families used in their lawsuit against Remington. You’ll also remember the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed based on some pretty shaky logic.
If you’re wondering if- or where- the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has failed, it’s because the plaintiffs aren’t attacking the commerce in firearms- they’re attacking the advertising strategies of the companies. It’s not necessarily something covered in the PLCCA- and a loophole that anti-gun groups will continue to use if/until a court shuts down the argument.
And I’ve never defended Walmart for their decisions regarding the sales of guns and ammunition. Too often, the Arkansas-based retailer’s managers have tried to read the winds of opinion and make knee-jerk decisions regarding guns.
New Mexico’s rollout of its new universal background check law on July 1 has resulted in Walmart deciding it simply won’t sell firearms -at all- there.
There’s not much reason to quarrel with their decision. The law requires a background check for all gun transactions: private, person-to-person, retail, whatever. OK, there are a couple of exceptions (antique firearms and family transfers), but everything else- everything- must go through a FFL dealer.
Here’s the catch: the new law requires all dealers to conduct background checks for private parties.
That might not sound like much if you’re Joe’s Gun and Coffee Shop, but if you’re Walmart, that’s a bridge that’s simply too-far. Having a couple of additional hoops to jump through when you’re selling your own goods is one thing; having to do the work -for even a significant fee- and then having liability for a bad transfer staring at you….well, that’s too-much.
I’m predicting Walmart will only be the first retailer to decide to simply write off New Mexico when it comes to gun sales. If I had a store there, I’d already be boxing up my inventory and heading it out the door.
If I were a New Mexico gun owner, I’d be looking at recall options for politicians who rammed this one down my throat.
As I wrote last week, the country has reached the point where anyone not actively supporting the Second Amendment is tacitly campaigning against it.
We’ll keep you posted.