Assemblywoman drafting bill to track ammunition sales

Assemblywoman drafting bill to track ammunition sales
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — According to reports, Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets without drawing the attention of law enforcement. That's because, authorities said, all of Holmes purchases were legal and there is currently no way to track someone who may be stockpiling ammunition.

But, California Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner wants to change that.

Legislation is being drafted by Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat, that would require law enforcement to be notified by the seller when a customer buys more than 1,000 pounds of ammunition.

"It's not that many. We went out and shot yesterday. You could shoot 1,000 rounds easy," said one Bakersfield gun enthusiast when asked his opinion about Skinner's idea.

Skinner said we have laws for the purchase of guns, so why not ammunition?

"We have no regulation for ammunition, so at least if we had modest regulation law enforcement would be notified if someone is buying mass quantities of ammunition in a short period of time," Skinner said via phone.

Skinner's bill would allow police to investigate people who buy more ammunition than 1,000 rounds, but some said 1,000 rounds could be expended in a weekend of target practice.

"Most people who purchase large quantities of ammunition are doing so for recreation or sport shooting," said gun expert Alexander Bowman. He works at Bakersfield gun shop Second Amendment Sports and said he doesn't see how it would be helpful to notify police.

"It happens too frequently for it to be useful at all to try to weed out people who have hostile intentions," said Bowman.

But Skinner and her co-authors, Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano think it could save lives.

"If they all of a sudden they started buying over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, in kind of a short period of time, then law enforcement has the right to then interact with them, and if they are dealing with some mental issues then law enforcement can provide them help instead of putting any of us at risk," said Skinner.

Second Amendment Sports workers said they also have business concerns regarding the law, contending it could send people online instead of buying from California businesses.

Skinner said they are talking to legal counsel regarding how this law would affect Internet sales in California.

The legislation is still in its draft stage.