Judge Benitez Declares CA Ammo Background Check Law Unconstitutional

The Jan 30, 2024 Ruling Stems From Rhodes v. Bonta

Judge Benitez Rules CA AG Bonta Ammo Background Check Unconstitutional

On Tuesday January 30, 2024 Federal Judge Roger Benitez issued an injunction preventing the California Attorney General, Rob Bonta or any of his agents from enforcing the Golden State’s current unconstitutional ammunition purchasing restrictions.

Ammunition Legislation Background

Originally set forth in California’s 2016 Proposition 63, these ammunition buying restrictions changed how law abiding Californians could purchase ammunition when they took effect in 2019. In order to make this as simple as possible to understand, residents of the Golden State have had to not only apply for a special license to purchase ammunition, but purchase ammunition only through CA DOJ licensed vendors in face-to-face transactions. Besides that, each transaction includes its own background check, regardless of quantity. Furthermore, these laws banned California residents from purchasing ammunition from Internet or mail-order outlets as these are entities that the State Of California cannot obviously regulate. Ditto for California residents physically purchasing ammunition in another state and transporting it home. Suffice to say, over the past few years, the State Of California has been aggressively curtailing the ability of its residents to freely purchase ammunition as a gun-control scheme.

Rhode v. Bonta

Rhode v. Bonta is the court case in question from Benitez’ recent injunction, in which decorated Olympian shooter Kim Rhode is the lead plaintiff. According to the CRPA, the California Rifle And Pistol Association, Rhode v. Bonta has been challenging these draconian restrictions for nearly 8 years now. As with many other Second Amendment related cases around the country, the 2022 Supreme Court Bruen decision caused the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals to “hand back” Rhode v. Bonta to Benitez’ lower court in order to be reevaluated in light of Bruen. As such, Judge Benitez immediately found that California’s excessive background checks are in direct violation of the Second Amendment. He also declared that California’s prohibition of its residences taking home lawfully purchased out-of-state ammunition violates the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Bonta Judge Benitez California Ammunition Unconstitutional

AG Bonta Attempts To Stay Decision

In its modern history, the State Of California has never been friendly to the Second Amendment. It goes without saying that the powers that be aren’t happy about Judge Benitez’ injunction and immediately denounced it. It didn’t take long before the attorney general asked the court for a stay of the injunction which Benitez denied.

What It Means For California Gun Owners

Because Judge Benitez ruled the aforementioned California regulations unconstitutional, California gun owners would do well to stock up and take advantage of any online ammunition deals until a higher court either overrules Judge Benitez or says otherwise.

Please read this for a better detailed breakdown and explanation of Judge Benitez’ January 30th ruling.

P.E. Fitch
I am a shooter first, and a writer second. IG & Twitter: @pfitch45