Since California's draconian firearms laws have not been useful in keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them for evil, California legislators want to try the same thing with ammunition. Makes sense to me--if something isn't working, do more of it. Assembly Bill 362 imposes numerous restrictions on ammunition purchases (including a complete ban of mail order purchases). The author of the bill, Assemblyman Kevin de León has even managed to think of a way to exploit the killings at Virginia Tech.
The freshman legislator said his bill is particularly timely, given the rampage at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead.He seems to have conveniently avoided addressing the fact that since Cho was able to buy firearms, similarly stringent requirements for ammunition purchases would have changed nothing.
This article (registration required) is not the first I've seen in which the following claim has been made:
"Believe it or not, you can actually walk into a store today and buy a box of cartridges much easier than a can of spray paint," de León told the Assembly Public Safety Committee last week.This claim has always puzzled me, since I have never known of any restrictions on buying spray paint, and since federal law requires ammunition purchasers to be at least 18 (21 for handgun ammunition). I have since found out that California, in an attempt to thwart gang graffiti, does indeed impose some restrictions on spray paint purchases:
California 594.1. Sale, Purchase or Possession of Aerosol Paint Container; Posting of Notice by RetailersI still don't see how the above makes it easier--let alone "much easier"--to buy ammunition than to buy spray paint--you need to prove you are 18 or older to buy paint, and you need to prove you are 18 or older to buy ammunition (21, to buy handgun ammunition). If there's a difference, it would seem that paint is the easier purchase.
(a) (1) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation, except a parent or legal guardian, to sell or give or in any way furnish to another person, who is in fact under the age of 18 years, any aerosol container of paint that is capable of defacing property without first obtaining bona fide evidence of majority and identity.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to purchase an aerosol container of paint that is capable of defacing property.
(c) Every retailer selling or offering for sale in this state aerosol containers of paint capable of defacing property shall post in a conspicuous place a sign in letters at least three-eighths of an inch high stating: "Any person who maliciously defaces real or personal property with paint is guilty of vandalism which is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both."
(d) It is unlawful for any person to carry on his or her person and in plain view to the public an aerosol container of paint while in any posted public facility, park, playground, swimming pool, beach, or recreational area, other than a highway, street, alley, or way, unless he or she has first received valid authorization from the governmental entity which has jurisdiction over the public area. As used in this subdivision, "posted" means a sign placed in a reasonable location or locations stating it is a misdemeanor to possess a spray can of paint in that public facility, park, playground, swimming pool, beach, or recreational area without valid authorization.
(e) (1) It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to possess an aerosol container of paint for the purpose of defacing property while on any public highway, street, alley, or way, or other public place, regardless of whether that person is or is not in any automobile, vehicle, or other conveyance.
However, if there truly is a problem of ammunition purchases being easier than spray paint purchases, I have a solution--deep six the spray paint laws.