Holy Cow! 345,547 Ammo Background Checks – 62,000 Good Guy Denials and Just 101 “Prohibited?” That’s 0.029%!

You know it has to be a big story when the uber Left Sacramento Bee can’t ignore an abuse of power that’s literally sitting in their own back yard.  The Department of Justice’s ammo registration scheme has become such a massive cluster that even the Bee can’t pretend it’s not happening.

There is no other way to describe this mess other than outrageous and borderline criminal.  In an article this week by Ryan Sabalow, the Bee reports that of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, 62,000 have been rejected.

62,000 denied.  This figure includes law enforcement, active duty military and thousands upon thousands of law abiding citizens.

According to the Bee, the denial numbers are detailed in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego by Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, which are in response to the current lawsuit (Rhode v Becerra) to overturn the ammunition registration law. GOC knew the numbers were bad because we have been collecting data on ammo horror stories since July 1, 2019 and have served as a point of contact for the lawyers working on the case.

Regardless of what we – or anyone – think about the Bee’s habitual anti-gun dogma, the facts in the article are stunning.  Their headline alone is striking: Thousands of lawful California gun owners are being denied ammunition purchases. Here’s why.

The story features Zachary Berg, a Sutter County deputy sheriff who needs ammunition for his job, yet he was denied because “his personal information didn’t match what state officials had in their database.”

“Berg was one of tens of thousands of Californians who have been turned away from buying ammunition at firearms and sporting goods stores, even though they appear to be lawfully able to do so, a Sacramento Bee review of state data shows. Between July 1 and November, nearly one in every five ammunition purchases was rejected by the California Department of Justice, the figures show.”
Sacramento Bee 12/11/2019


Some additionally shocking statistics reveal that “Of the 345,547 ammunition background checks performed, only 101 stopped the buyer because he or she was a “prohibited person” who can’t legally possess ammunition, according to state Department of Justice data.”

For those who aren’t math wizards, that’s  0.029%.

But let’s not forget about those 62,000 ammunition purchasers who were denied their right to purchase a legal product.  As the Bee reports, “Those people left empty-handed because their personal information hadn’t been entered into the state’s system, or the information on their identification cards didn’t match what officials had entered into the California gun registry database, which retail sellers must review when they do the ammunition background check.” Empty handed indeed!

Deputy Berg hit the nail on the head when he mused “It’s a little ironic the fact I’m a deputy that I can’t buy ammunition.  But at the same time, anybody else who’s legally allowed to, they shouldn’t be denied based on address (errors). … It’s just crazy.”

Becerra’s office declined to comment according to the Bee, citing the ongoing litigation. But they did try to make the problem seem less outrageous, noting that “ammunition purchasers have had better luck on the second try .”  So that’s supposed to make us all feel better? Just because DOJ reports this doesn’t mean it’s true and it certainly doesn’t negate the fact that the initial denial is an absolute constitutional violation.

The Bee thankfully gives some print space to gun-rights advocates and reports “the mass denials are confirmation of their long-standing assertion that liberal gun-control laws disproportionately burden law-abiding gun owners who follow the rules, even as criminals continue to acquire guns and ammunition without jumping through the regulatory hoops.”

In response to the article, GOC Executive Director Sam Paredes said, “Without question, this is a failure on all levels.  It’s not nabbing the bad guys but its treating the lawful as if they are the criminals.  What an embarrassment.  The entire process needs to be dumped.”

The article reveals that  “more than 19,000 ammunition buyers weren’t in the database at all, so they were denied when they went to buy ammo. More than 22,000 were rejected because of address mismatches, many of them due to having moved since they last bought a gun. Nearly 8,000 people had names in the state’s gun registry that didn’t match their identification, according to the Department of Justice filing.”  It’s no surprise  that the Department of Justice couldn’t get their act together to prevent what were certainly very probable and obvious data base inconsistencies.

Kevin de León, the former Democratic State Senate leader who “championed” the background check legislation has long been woefully ignorant on anything related to firearms or the Constitution, yet that didn’t stop him from weighing in.  He said the issues are “easily fixable” and shouldn’t detract from the important work the background check system is doing to keep Californians safe.  If this is such a simple matter, then why weren’t things fixed prior to the registration launch?

“Christopher Lapinski, operations manager the Sacramento gun store Last Stand Readiness & Tactical, said he’s been forced to reject more ammunition sales than he’s been able to approve, most of them involving mismatches between the Department of Justice database and what the Department of Motor Vehicles put on a customer’s driver’s license. He said it’s been especially frustrating to deny sales to retired law enforcement officers and active-duty members of the military.

“You could be a Navy SEAL yesterday, but didn’t buy a gun in California, and now you can’t buy ammo,” he said.

Ari Freilich, an attorney with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence was quoted as saying “the system is already working as intended.”  He actually had the gall to say of that 0.029% the system rejected, “Any one of those people, they were committing a serious crime trying to acquire a product designed to take human life.”

A product designed to take a human life?  Freilich may be an attorney but in truth, he’s just another run-of-the-mill malcontent whose knowledge of firearms or the 2nd Amendment doesn’t go beyond the end of his Leftist nose.

The full article by Ryan Sabalow is worth the read.

Other key points from the article:

  • Hunting associations say the mass rejections were a one-two punch for California’s already shrinking ranks of hunters.
  • Hunter numbers have been dwindling across the country, and state wildlife agencies including California’s have been attempting to boost hunter recruitment to stave off a loss in hunting license revenue. There were 264,674 annual hunting licenses purchased through this point in 2013. So far this year, only 235,491 purchased licenses.
  • In California, around a quarter of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget is paid through hunting and fishing license sales and taxes on their firearms and gear. The funds go to pay for state wildlife programs such as habitat restoration and refuges.


  1. 40nascar on December 22, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Just another reason to bypass this political cluster by the legislative masters of cluster eff’s, and bring in from out of state.

    This is a classic example of the Law Abiding Citizen getting screwed by bureaucracy. Such “laws” invite the disrespect and Civil Disobedience they are getting. Not to mention they are clearly unconstitutional. We need to take our cues from the folks that brought us legalized marijuana, and the estimated 95% of Gunowners who chose to ignore the Roberti- Roose “assault weapons” registration act.

    Don’t get busted by getting your ammo at big box sporting stores or Walmart. Seek out some Mom and pop stores that don’t have lots of Cameras, or doj investigators. Don’t buy ammo at the Gun shows. They are crawling with ATF and DOJ traitors. Even small shows! Don’t draw attention to yourself with massive purchases. I personally, would recommend not more than one case per caliber, and not more than 2 cases total per occasion. This is not a time to buddy up with your friends on a combination mass purchase.

    As the scriptures say “Be as wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove” Be careful out there!