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California Department of Justice Issues Guidance For Ammunition Background Checks

Judge Roger Benitez, of the U.S. District Court for Southern California, enjoined California from enforcing the state’s requirement for ammunition background checks in a decision in Rhodes v. Bonta. The state is seeking a stay on the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In the meantime, California’s Department of Justice (CalDOJ) issued the following guidance to firearm and ammunition retailers selling ammunition, effective as of Jan. 31, 2024.

  • When Processing any purchase or transfer of ammunition that is legal in California, licensed firearm dealers and ammunition vendors shall not use the “Submit Eligibility Check” or “Submit Ammunition Purchase(s) functions under the “Ammunition Transactions” menu on the DROS Entry System (DES). Ammunition purchases should be completed without using these functions.
  • Purchases or transfers of legal ammunition need to be conducted through a licensed firearm dealer or ammunition vendor.
  • Purchases or transfers of legal ammunition need not be completed in a face-to-face transaction.
  • A California resident can bring or transport into the State ammunition that was purchased or otherwise obtained outside of the State, provided the ammunition is legal in California.
  • California state and local law enforcement agencies shall not enforce the criminal punishment provisions at Penal Code 30312, subdivision (d); section 30314, subdivision (c); and section 20265, subdivision (a).

NSSF® is closely monitoring these developments and firearm retailers and ammunition vendors should be aware that changes to this guidance could be made. NSSF will update California firearm retailers and ammunition vendors of any such developments.


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