Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, I am just repeating what I have read and heard from California DOJ sources. This is meant to be helpful information should not be considered as legal advice.
What you need to know about the California Ammo Law of 2019.
Starting July 1 of 2019, you must meet the following criteria to purchase ammunition in California:
On July 1st of 2019 phase 2 of Proposition 63 begins and applies to gun stores and gun shows throughout the state. At this point ammunition sales require a $1 fee (paid by you of course) for a point-of-sale background check, or eligibility check as the DOJ calls it.
This background check will cross-reference your name, current address, date of birth, Driver’s License or other form of government ID with the info you have on file with the DOJ’s Automated Firearms System when you purchased and registered your firearm. If you’re not currently a gun owner or in the system, the DOJ will conduct a special one-time check for $19.
It will also scan your record for felonies which would make you ineligible for ammo purchases. It’s basically the same search that is performed when you purchase a firearm. If all your information checks out and you are clear, you can legally purchase ammunition.
Face-to-Face Sales: Ammunition sales must be conducted face-to-face with an FFL or licensed ammunition vendor. There may be some local sporting goods stores that apply for an ammunition license, you’ll need to check on this yourself.
Online Sales: In the past, you could scour the internet for the best deals all over the country and have it all sent to your doorstep with a credit card. Now days it is a little more tricky, you have two options:
With the first option, you would need to find a local licensed dealer willing to receive your ammo. Since they will not be making a profit on the ammo coming from another vendor, they will likely charge a substantial fee to make it worth their while. I have heard of some awesome places only charging $5 for any amount of ammo.
For the second option, you have to do a little more work. COE will run you initially around $70 (live scan fees and COE fee) then it is $25 annually as long as you don’t let it expire.
FFL03 is $30 for 3 years. The application asks how many firearms you have purchased as a C&R (Curious and Relics). As long as you never purchase a C&R firearm, you will never get an audit.
Getting ammo shipped to your door will be up to the online retailer even if you have all the legal paperwork in place. Most will not want to deal with the hassle California has created.
Curio & Relic Federal firearm license.
A COE is a pre-requisite licensing/permit requirement for all prospective licensed firearms dealers, ammunition vendors, manufacturers, and vendors who sells, or delivers firearms & ammunition.
The law says the following, “Commencing January 1, 2018, a resident of California shall not bring or transport into the state any ammunition that he or she purchased or otherwise obtained from outside of this state unless he or she first has that ammunition delivered to a licensed ammunition vendor for delivery to that resident pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 30312.”
You are free to purchase ammo in other states as long as you do not bring it back with you. First-time violations will be infractions, after that its a misdemeanor.
The only caveat is that with an FFL03* & COE* (as described in the section above) you may purchase ammunition out of state and bring it back legally.
Currently, there are no restrictions on the amount of ammunition you can purchase after you pass the eligibility check.
Currently, there are no restrictions on buying calibers of ammunition you do not own.
There is nothing in the provisions of Prop. 63 that regulates reloading components (powders, primers, projectiles/bullets). Reloading components are not governed by the laws created by Prop 63, however, the leadership of CA could likely come after reloading components in the future.
The AR-15 is Protected by the 2nd Amendment!
Robert, we don’t care what it was designed to do, a matter of fact, we don’t care what you call it either. Call it what you want. Because to me and millions of other people in this country our ARs are Self Defense rifles that we use for hunting, sport, and recreation but most importantly to defend against any man, woman, man-woman, woman-man, country, province, continent, or what have you who attempts to take the life of me, the people I love and the freedom of this country. By Colion Noir
Colion Noir is an American civil rights activist, lawyer, and host of the NRATV web series NOIR. He has over 121 million views on his YouTube channel, as of September 2019, and over 1,000,000 subscribers to his channel, as of September 2019.
Q1: Can Californians purchase ammunition outside of the state and bring it back?
Q2: Do I need a California Drivers License or California ID to purchase ammo?
Q3: Are CCW holders exempt from the ammunition background check requirements?
Q4: How much will the required background checks cost?
A1: NO. You may, however , purchase ammo and have it delivered to a licensed vendor in California to pick up.
A2: Under California law, NO; But California DOJ has independently indicated one will be required as of July 1, 2019.
A3: NO, exemptions from ammunition background checks are limited to firearm-related businesses & identified law enforcement personnel.
A4: Up to $1 for those with a valid CA Driver's License AND at least one firearm registered with that ID. Up to $19 for a full-scale background check.
Want to read and interpret the law yourself? Here is the actual Penal Code section 30370:
(a) Commencing July 1, 2019, the department shall electronically approve the purchase or transfer of ammunition through a vendor, as defined in Section 16151, except as otherwise specified. This approval shall occur at the time of purchase or transfer, prior to the purchaser or transferee taking possession of the ammunition. Pursuant to the authorization specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 30352, the following persons are authorized to purchase ammunition:
1) A purchaser or transferee whose information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (AFS) and who is eligible to possess ammunition as specified in subdivision (b). (2) A purchaser or transferee who has a current certificate of eligibility issued by the department pursuant to Section 26710. (3) A purchaser or transferee who is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition in a single ammunition transaction or purchase made pursuant to the procedure developed pursuant to subdivision (c). (b) To determine if the purchaser or transferee is eligible to purchase or possess ammunition pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), the department shall cross-reference the ammunition purchaser’s or transferee’s name, date of birth, current address, and driver’s license or other government identification number, as described in Section 28180, with the information maintained in the AFS. If the purchaser’s or transferee’s information does not match an AFS entry, the transaction shall be denied. If the purchaser’s or transferee’s information matches an AFS entry, the department shall determine if the purchaser or transferee falls within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition by cross-referencing with the Prohibited Armed Persons File. If the purchaser or transferee is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, the transaction shall be denied.
(c) The department shall develop a procedure in which a person who is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition may be approved for a single ammunition transaction or purchase. The department shall recover the cost of processing and regulatory and enforcement activities related to this section by charging the ammunition transaction or purchase applicant a fee not to exceed the fee charged for the department’s Dealers’ Record of Sale (DROS) process, as described in Section 28225 and not to exceed the department’s reasonable costs.
(d) A vendor is prohibited from providing a purchaser or transferee ammunition without department approval. If a vendor cannot electronically verify a person’s eligibility to purchase or possess ammunition via an Internet connection, the department shall provide a telephone line to verify eligibility. This option is available to ammunition vendors who can demonstrate legitimate geographical and telecommunications limitations in submitting the information electronically and who are approved by the department to use the telephone line verification.
(e) The department shall recover the reasonable cost of regulatory and enforcement activities related to this article by charging ammunition purchasers and transferees a per transaction fee not to exceed one dollar ($1), provided, however, that the fee may be increased at a rate not to exceed any increases in the California Consumer Price Index as compiled and reported by the Department of Industrial Relations, not to exceed the reasonable regulatory and enforcement costs.
(f) A fund to be known as the “Ammunition Safety and Enforcement Special Fund” is hereby created within the State Treasury. All fees received pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Ammunition Safety and Enforcement Special Fund and, notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, are continuously appropriated for purposes of implementing, operating, and enforcing the ammunition authorization program provided for in this section and Section 30352 and for repaying the start-up loan provided for in Section 30371.
(g) The Department of Justice is authorized to adopt regulations to implement this section.
There is probably more information to come soon, so please check back often!
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