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Retailers See Spike in Ammo Sales After Passage of Prop. 63

SACRAMENTO -- Online ammunition retailer Wideners.com says there has been a huge spike in ammo sales since the Nov. 8, 2016 election.

That's when Proposition 63 was passed, requiring background checks for the purchase of gun ammunition.

In addition, there has been concern over new ammo laws passed by the California legislature.

Wideners said ammo sales in the Sacramento Metro area rose 449 percent in the two months prior to the beginning of the year. A similar sales spike was seen at brick and mortar gun stores.

“Toward the end of the year, we did see an influx of ammunition sales ... a lot of that due to people thinking that by the first of the year they were going to have to register ammo," said Josh Deaser, owner of Just Guns.

One of those ammo buyers is Bruce Copping, who owns several guns for protection, as well as recreational shooting.

“I just came in here buying ammo like crazy," said Copping.

But Deaser said once he informed customers that the ammo buyer background check and permit requirements of the new laws don't kick in until the middle of 2019, sales leveled off.

"I will still probably buy boxes to keep stocked up, but I won’t be blowing a whole paycheck on it," said Copping.

Still ammo buyers have concerns about the availability and price of ammunition with the new rules. Dealers and their staffs must be licensed in 2018, which is an added cost for dealers like Deaser.

"Those permits and requirements all come with fees, and that’s where you’re going to see the influx in price," said Deaser.

Eventually, online sales will be halted unless the ammo is funneled through a licensed California dealer, which also adds cost.

Deaser said he talked to out-of-state retailers at a recent national gun dealers convention and said many may stop selling in California because of the added requirements.

Deaser can predict what will happen in the future because it has happened before with gun sales.

When the provisions of the new ammo laws, including Proposition 63, are phased in, there will be a spike in ammo sales as each deadline approaches.

Both Deaser and Copping say the laws don't make sense to them as a way to prevent criminals from getting ammunition easily.

Copping says he's in favor of restricting gun ownership to some degree, and that there are better ways to accomplish that goal.

“Prosecuting those that use guns illegally or possess them illegally, then we wouldn’t have a problem…why target the law-abiding citizen ?" said Copping.