Assembly panel approves bill to restrict ammunition sales in California

mgutierrez@sacbee.comApril 3, 2013 

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Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner says her AB 48 would provide "reasonable safeguards" for purchases of ammunition.

A bill to regulate the sale of ammunition in California cleared the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said Assembly Bill 48 adds "reasonable safeguards" to the purchase of ammunition by requiring sellers to be licensed and purchasers to show identification.

The Department of Justice would be required to notify local law enforcement of large-quantity purchases of more than 3,000 rounds that are made within a five-day period by someone who is not a police officer.

AB 48 also would ban the manufacture, sale or import of any device that enables a gun to fire more than 10 rounds at one time.

The panel approved the bill 5-2, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

Skinner said her bill adds the kinds of safeguards currently in place for the purchase of cigarettes, alcohol or cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

"Why is it easier now to buy bullets than alcohol, cigarettes or Sudafed?" Skinner said.

Several members of firearms advocacy associations, including the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association spoke in opposition to the bill.

Craig DeLuz of the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees said AB 48 would prohibit parents from giving their children ammunition to use at the shooting range. Similarly, firearms industry groups said the Boy Scouts of America would be unable to award shooting merit badges earned by demonstrating shooting skills.

Skinner asked if the industry associations would support or be neutral on her bill if she amended it to satisfy those concerns.

DeLuz responded by saying he has a 10-page list of deficiencies in the measure.

Skinner's bill is among dozens of gun- and ammunition-related bills introduced in California in the wake of the December elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Call Melody Gutierrez, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow her on Twitter @melodygutierrez.

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