Bills were introduced to both the House and Senate this week that would add a background check requirement for purchasing ammunition.
“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks,” said Connecticut Senator Blumenthal (D), sponsor of the Senate bill. “The same laws that prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms also prohibit them from amassing arsenals of ammunition, with one major loophole: there are no background checks for ammunition sales to enforce the law.”
Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) sponsored the House bill. Both bills would force anyone purchasing ammo to be cleared by the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS). Such a measure would overwhelm the already overworked NICS system, potentially delaying transactions nationwide.
According to guns.com, Blumenthal’s bill, S.2627, is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, D-Conn, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Wasserman Schultz’s bill, H.R.5383, has 34 Dems signed on as co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Guns.com reports that the language of the proposals is not yet available, but Wasserman Schultz’s office states that federally licensed gun dealers could use their existing system to process checks for ammo buyers. Those lacking an FFL could work through an existing licensee or seek a license of their own.
Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey already require a state firearm license to purchase ammo, but do not require NICS checks for such purchases. New York attempted to enact similar legislation in 2013, but issues with execution prevented it from being adopted.
California’s Proposition 63 was adopted in 2016, and has made life difficult for law-abiding citizens ever since with extended wait times and added fees and complicating online sales.