A Utah gun shop. Photo via Wikipedia

Californians Are Binging on Ammo

New law will limit online sales starting in 2018

David Axe
David Axe
Feb 6, 2017 · 3 min read


Widener’s sponsored this post.

In November 2016, Californians endorsed by a wide margin new restrictions on gun ownership and ammunition sales.

Anticipating the 2018 implementation of the new rules, Californians are buying ammo now. Lots of it. While at the same time, Americans in other states haven’t changed their ammo-buying habits.

“There’s been a massive influx of California hunters and sport shooters who are stocking up in the wake of California’s new laws, no doubt about it,” said Anne Taylor, a spokesperson for Widener’s, an online reloading-supplies retailer.

“There’s not just increased interest,” Taylor said of the boost in online ammo sales in California. “It’s clear the gun owners who are buying are buying in bulk. We’ve seen our average order weight go up in the past couple months.”

Widener’s said its sales to Californians grew by a fifth in December 2016 and January 2017 but were flat in other states. Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, Californians will no longer be allowed to buy ammo online, thanks to Proposition 63, which passed with 64 percent of the vote.

San Francisco and Los Angeles had already limited online ammo sale.

The new ballot measure “requires background check and [state] Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition” and also —

  • Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines
  • Establishes procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by specified persons, and
  • Requires Department of Justice’s participation in federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System

According to Taylor, many Californians believed the new rules would apply shortly following the November election — hence the mad rush for ammo.

Widener’s reported that its orders from the Los Angeles area swelled by 395 percent in the 60 days after the vote. There was a 417-percent increase in the San Francisco area, a 161-percent boost in San Diego and a whopping 449-percent spike in ammo sales in Sacramento.

The AR-15’s 5.56-millimeter cartridge saw the biggest surge among Californians, Taylor said. “Nine-millimeter ammo and .308 rifle ammo are also experiencing large gains in California, with increases of 60 to 80 percent,” Taylor said, “while sales remain static in those calibers across the rest of the United States.”

“We expect this sort of rush will continue through the rest of the year,” Taylor said. “The face-to-face purchase requirement and other ammo regulations in Prop 63 shouldn’t impact shooters until the first day of 2018.”

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David Axe

Written by

David Axe

I write about war and make horror movies

War Is Boring

From drones to AKs, high technology to low politics, exploring how and why we fight above, on and below an angry world

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