Assemblymember Kevin de León (D- Los Angeles), author of AB 962, testified in the Assembly Public Safety committee today against AB 1663, a bill sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to repeal AB 962. Assembly Bill 1663 would have repealed requirements established by AB 962 to provide a thumb print, show identification by customers when purchasing ammunition, require face-to-face transactions, and store ammunition in a secure manner.
“The gun lobby is organizing a national effort to repeal AB 962 which prohibits gang bangers and felons from purchasing handgun ammunition. If they think we’re going to turn back the clock so that criminals and gang bangers can buy ammunition at any sporting goods store in California, they are in for a world of disappointment,” stated Assemblymember de León. “They can set their sites on me all they like but I will not back down.”
By a vote of 2-4, the NRA failed in its attempt to repeal AB 962 – a landmark bill that closes a loophole long exploited by felons and gang members to purchase large amounts of ammunition. A report by the RAND Corporation found that every day criminals stroll into stores, walk up to a register, and buy and load up on pallets of bullets used to terrorize our neighborhoods. In just two months in the City of Los Angeles, RAND found that over 10,000 bullets were sold to criminals at gun shops and sporting goods stores across the city.
AB 962 requires what over thirteen cities across California have been effectively doing – recording ammunition purchases to provide enforcement and investigative tools for law enforcement. In just one year alone of using purchase records, the Sacramento Police Department found over 150 criminals and mentally ill individuals who purchased ammunition in city shops, 124 of those had previous felony convictions. Sacramento Police also seized a total of 84 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and charged 109 individuals with a felony through the use of the ammunition purchase records. AB 1663 would have stripped away the recording requirement and allowed criminals to continue skirting the law.
In signing AB 962, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following statement, “local governments have demonstrated that requiring ammunition vendors to keep records on ammunition sales improves public safety. These records have allowed law enforcement to arrest and prosecute persons who have no business possessing firearms and ammunition.”
The Governor signed AB 962 into law last year with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, then Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, and Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich being present during the signing ceremony.