The Ammunitions Background Check Act of 2018 has recently been introduced. The Act proposed by Wasserman (D-FL) and Blumenthal (D-CT) would require a background check for anyone purchasing ammunition. What’s being put forward is that ammunition should fall within the same criteria as firearms. The act is seen as a robust and committed measure to closing the loophole and reducing gun violence. The same laws that keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals should also prevent the stockpiling of ammunition. Current legislation prohibits the purchase of ammunition as well as firearms. However to purchase a firearm a buyer must be subject to a NICS but nothing is currently in place in respect of an ammunitions background check.

The proposed law would enable licensed (federal) gun dealers to run an ammunitions background check using the existing system. Gun dealers/sellers who do not hold a federal license would be able to continue selling ammunition but only by securing a federal license or via an existing licensee. The law seeks to enhance and complement the existing process and will make it much more difficult for criminals, felons, domestic abusers and dangerous individuals to stock piling ammunition. The new initiative must be seen as part of a larger strategy towards ending or curbing gun violence. Amassing ammunition can be done without divulging your name. The bill has been filed in the US House together with a companion Bill to the US Senate. Wasserman advises the bill has 36 co-sponsors, however, notably no Republicans. The bill has a long way to go before it becomes law. It has to be run by a committee then passed by congress (largely) controlled by Republicans.

One gun store though sees the ammunitions background check as a violation of civil rights. That the purchase of ammunition should be without restriction and the bill is a “a little too far” and would hurt business. The store also cited problems with the NICS system and that if the background check system was down it would hold the purchaser up. However supporters see it as a positive move in stopping gun violence. The ammunitions background check would exempt the purchase of ammunition for hunting camps and shooting ranges.

Beginning July 1st 2019 California will require an ammunitions background check for all individuals seeking to purchase ammunition. However The National Rifle Association is seeking to challenge this and have filed numerous lawsuits against the state and it’s laws, the laws that regulate firearms and ammunition within California. South Florida Democrats together with Wasserman Schultz have for a long time called for and petitioned for a reduction in gun violence. The February 14th murders at Parkland have given their efforts more prominence.

Democrats rarely have an opportunity to progress controversial legislation as a minority but the initiative is hopeful for the support of Republican co-sponsors. The fate of the bill however lies with the Republican majority who control how legislation flows.
RELATED/ADDITIONAL READING: Taxation of Firearms – The National Firearms Act of 1934

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