Lawmaker targets ammunition, not guns

April 20, 2009 7:56:25 PM PDT
The Department of Justice reports California's gun violence has jumped nearly 35 percent in just six years and one lawmaker says it is time to make it harder for criminals to buy ammunition.

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"It's much easier in California to purchase handgun ammunition than it is a package of cigarettes, allergy medicine or spray paint," Assemblyman Kevin De Leon said.

Following those examples, De Leon's proposal would require all ammo for sale to be placed behind the counter. It would also start forcing stores to apply for a vendors' license to be able to sell ammunition, mandate buyers to leave a fingerprint and their driver's license information at the point of purchase and allow law enforcement to review those records.

Gun owners think the proposal is absurd, especially since they say a similar program at the federal level didn't work.

"Names, driver's licenses, signatures, what they purchased, not one crime was ever solved, here in California, these knuckleheads, they think they can do it better; it failed nationwide, it's going to fail here in California," Gun Owners of California spokesperson Sam Paredes said.

Like Los Angeles and Oakland law enforcement, Sacramento police says record-keeping does work. When gun stores began tracking ammunition purchases in the city last year, police arrested 50 people who were not supposed to have them because of their criminal record.

"The problem for us right now in Sacramento is word gets out, we totally expect folks to go out of the region, buy ammunition and come back to the city," Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel said.

Opponents say the same thing would happen if the law were statewide; it is just as easy to buy bullets in another state and bring them back.

Other gun control proposals being considered include: forcing felons to surrender their firearms upon conviction and prohibiting them from working in a gun store.

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