New California Law Tracks Ammunition Sales

Fresno, CA Starting February 1st, 2011 handgun ammunition vendors will be required to obtain a thumb fingerprint and driver's license from buyers. One firearms dealer we spoke to in town said criminals will find another way to get their bullets.

To buy ammo in California a vendor only needs proof of age. But that has changed. In a year and a half a new law will require vendors like Bill Mayfield to keep track of all handgun ammunition sales. The goal is to better track the bullets used in crimes, but Mayfield said it won't work.

Mayfield said, "You're gonna force every law abiding citizen to go through paper work that these people won't. The gang-banger, 90% of what their using is probably stolen in the first place."

The new law also states ammunition must be safely stored behind the counter and sales made face to face. Mayfield warned he will have to raise his prices.

"I'm gonna have to hire more employees because now I have more employee labor intensive service ... cost of ammunition will go up," said Mayfield.

"They've had successes that have far outweighed the costs," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Dyer said similar city ordinances in Los Angeles and Sacramento are proof this law works and captures criminals.

Dyer said, "These laws are never intended to impact the good people. What they are intended to do is keep ammunition out of the hands of those individuals involved in criminal behavior, often times gang members."

Any violation of this new law and the offender faces a misdemeanor charge. Because all transactions must be face to face that means sales on-line must cease.

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