California Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) believes society needs to do more to stop individuals like the Colorado gunman who shot 70 people in a movie theater in July.
Along with two other lawmakers, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and state Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), she has begun drafting legislation, AB 2512, that they believe would help accomplish that goal.
AB 2512 would do two things. First, it would ban large-capacity conversion kits, which allow one to fire more than 10 rounds without reloading. Secondly, it would force ammunition suppliers to report, within 24 hours, anyone who purchased more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, within any five-day period, to local police.
Failure to comply with either provision would result in a misdemeanor charge, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, or by both.
As to how AB 2512 would actually stop a gunman like the Colorado shooter, the three lawmakers explained:
“The individual in Colorado was able to amass over 6,000 rounds of ammunition in a very short time period … undetected, without any kind of notice,” Skinner told local reporters, adding that most Californians “are probably shocked to realize there are no regulations in place for the sale of ammunition.”
Skinner went on to say that if law enforcement had knowledge of someone stockpiling ammo in a short period of time, officers could “interact with them” to see if they have any mental issues.
Hancock characterized the bill as a necessary step to close a “loophole.”
“This legislation will close a loophole that allows people to purchase large caches of deadly ammunition without law enforcement’s knowledge and devices intended to get around the ban on large capacity cartridges,” Hancock said.
He added, “Hopefully, it will further protect the public from becoming a victim of gun violence and prevent tragedies like the one in Aurora, Colorado.”
In addition to making it putatively harder for sociopaths to obtain high-capacity magazines, Ammiano viewed the bill as a boon for local law enforcement.
“We want to do what we can to prevent future deadly attacks with multiple casualties. Why not make it harder for perpetrators to fire off hundreds of rounds of ammunition in a short time?” Ammiano asked in his statement.
“We’re not taking ammunition away from legitimate sportsmen and women,” Ammiano said. “We just want to be sure local law enforcement has the tools it needs to stay ahead.”
This bill is currently in the drafting stage and comes at the heels of a federal bill that seeks to ban the online sale of ammunition for average citizens, the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act (for more on this, click here).
Obviously, gun owners in California are questioning the logic of these three lawmakers.
Attorney Chuck Michel, a spokesman for the California Rifle and Pistol Association told Mercury News, “Americans are more overwhelmingly in support of the right to choose to own a gun to defend their families than ever before,” and AB 2512 wouldn’t “have done anything to stop crazy people from committing violent crimes.”
Additionally, Michel said that AB 2512 would shift “overwhelming record-keeping” onto local ammo shops, noting an obvious fact to all gun owners: 1,000 rounds “is actually not that much,” and many buyers will exceed it, swamping police with useless data on law-abiding citizens.
“These opportunistic proposals are just being pushed to get politicians’ names in the news — they know these feel-good bills are not going to stop violent criminals,” Michel said. “It’s part of a gun-ban agenda to make choosing to own a gun as burdensome as possible.”
Would regulating the sale of ammo be, in any conceivable way, helpful at stopping spree shooters?