Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Got an interesting email from Cabela's

When I get email from Cabela's, I'm used to something like, "Spend $150 and get $10 off," or, "Find one more damned huntin' thing to clutter your house with and get free shipping!"

And I'm a sucker for that stuff too.

But yesterday I got something out of the ordinary from Cabela's: an email urging me to contact my governor to tell him I oppose a bill that would ban mail-order and Internet sales of handgun ammunition.

That's the kind of email I'm used to getting from the NRA or the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance - not a merchant. But it makes sense. Read more...
Cabela's sells ammunition online. I know this because I actually buy a lot of ammo from Cabela's online, because 1) I shoot a 20 gauge shotgun, and it can be really hard getting my waterfowl shot at local retailers, and 2) when I need non-lead rifle ammo for hunting in the condor zone, it can be hard to get that from local retailers too.

In the case of this bill that's awaiting the governor's decision, I wouldn't be affected because I don't own a handgun. But man, I would be SCREWED if the Legislature decides to take the next step and ban all Internet ammunition sales (which believe me, lots of our elected officials would love to do).

I've skimmed over some of the legislative analyses of the bill (click here for an interesting one that documents who supports the bill and who opposes it - fascinating). But I still can't say I fully understand the bill.

Here's what I do know: The bill requires handgun ammunition purchasers to provide a thumbprint when purchasing ammo, which effectively shuts down Internet and mail-order sales. I find that repugnant. How about a mugshot too? Maybe we could also put cold-sufferers in a database every time the buy Sudafed just because some assholes make meth with it. Oh wait, we already do that - and amazingly enough, people are still making meth! (Sorry for the pottymouth, Jody - this stuff just riles me up.)

Here's what I don't know: Is there any research to suggest this will help with handgun violence in our cities, which actually is a serious issue? We already have laws that make it illegal for certain classes of people to purchase ammunition. The problem is it's cheaper and easier to pass another law that just screws with law-abiding citizens than to pour money into enforcing current laws, which is what would actually work.

Anyway, this is not a soapbox I spend much time on because I just haven't tried to make myself an expert on gun laws, so I'll be stepping off now. I just thought it was interesting to get an email like this from a merchant, and I'm wondering how much reaction the governor's office will get as a result.

Here's the full text of that email:

To: Cabela's California Customers
From: Cabela's Communications
Subject: California Assembly Bill 962
Date: Sept. 22, 2009

We are writing to inform you of pending legislation that will restrict purchases of handgun ammunition in California and will terminate our ability to service your needs for certain products.

On Friday, Sept. 11, the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 962, by a 44-31 vote.

Among other regulations, AB 962 would:

• Ban all mail-order and Internet sales of handgun ammunition.

• Prohibit the retail sale, the offer for sale or the display of handgun ammunition in a manner that allows ammunition to be accessible to a purchaser without assistance of a vendor or employee.

• Require that the delivery or transfer of ownership of handgun ammunition occur in a face-to-face transaction, with the deliverer or transferor being provided bona fide evidence of identity of the purchaser or other transferee. That evidence of identity, which must be legibly recorded at the time of delivery, includes:

• The right thumbprint of the purchaser or transferee.

• The date of the sale or other transaction.

• The purchaser's or transferee's driver's license or other identification number and the state in which it was issued.

• The brand, type and amount of ammunition sold or otherwise transferred.

• The purchaser's or transferee's signature.

• The name of the salesperson who processed the sale or other transaction.

• The purchaser's or transferee's full residential address and telephone number.

• The purchaser's or transferee's date of birth.

The bill is on the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, where it awaits his consideration. He will have until Oct. 11 to sign or veto the bill. If he does not veto the bill, it will become law.

If you wish to comment on AB 962, you may contact Gov. Schwarzenegger by phone at (916) 445-2841, or via fax at (916) 558-3160. To e-mail Gov. Schwarzenegger, visit

We encourage all Cabela's customers who participate in the shooting sports to contact Gov. Schwarzenegger to voice their opposition to this initiative, which will limit your opportunities to shop with Cabela's, and will restrict the sale of handgun ammunition everywhere in California.

© Holly A. Heyser 2009


native said...

Keep standin' on that soapbox Holly!
It just might light a fire neath' somebody's rear end and make em' lose some of that apathy.

An emotion which seems to run rampant these days!

Phillip said...

I feel a little remiss that I haven't been covering this whole fiasco on my site, but I try so hard to keep out of the political crap... but for whatever the hell it's worth (not much, I'm afraid), I have sent my message to my representatives and to the Governor.

The key problems with this bill are that it, A.) won't matter a bit to the gangbanger or murderer because they can still get ammo just fine and B.) it seems to infringe on interstate commerce which should be a federal issue.

The thumbprint regulation also equates to a database of handgun owners, which has been found in the past to violate the protections of the 2nd Amendment. You don't even have to do that when buying a gun! By storing this information, the State is effectively tracking the ammunition purchasers.

This bill will almost certainly result in lost business for local "mom-and-pop" shops as many gun owners (for right or wrong reasons) will simply take their business across the State line.

This bill will exacerbate the issues already caused by the ammunition shortage because it will limit the options for finding ammo when the local stores don't have it. This includes non-lead ammo which is already hard to find for handguns, and common home-defense and target shooting ammunition such as 9mm, .380, .357, etc.

It has been noted that handgun ammo can still be mail ordered, but the order must be shipped to a FFL holder. Not mentioned here is that the FFL holder will then have the option of charging a fee for making the transfer, just as they do when transferring firearms.

Something that hasn't been mentioned is that there's not really a good definition of "handgun ammo" right now, and that other states, in regulating handgun ammo, have extended the regulations to any ammo that can be fired in a handgun... which comes to include most centerfire calibers, thanks to the Thompson Center Contender and similar hunting handguns. The expansion of this bill to include calibers such as 30-30, 30-06, etc. is not out of the question... especially in this nonsensical state.

In short, this is another law that will hamper the law-abiding and will not have any appreciable impact on the criminals.

Holly Heyser said...

See, this is why I've been reluctant to wade into this - I don't have half the knowledge you do on the subject, but you raise great points and I hope you raised these exact ones with the governor. I, too, emailed Schwarzenegger, but mostly making the point I made in my blog post.

Sacramento already requires thumbprints, which is one reason I will never buy ammunition in city limits.

Let's hope Arnold does the right thing. Because if he doesn't, this law would provide the launchpad for doing this with all ammunition, and it would happen right about the time Jerry Brown gets his butt back in the governor's office. Sigh.

Hil said...

Good blog, but my favorite part about it was reading that you shoot a 20-gauge. I now feel SO much better knowing I'm not the only one!

Holly Heyser said...

Not just me, Hil, but Boyfriend too! The extra shot in a bigger shell would be nice, but a 20-gauge can kill anything a 12 can if you shoot properly. I like the fact that the 20 forces me to be a little more disciplined. And less bruised.

Phillip said...

Holly, that's almost exactly the same message I sent to Schwartzenegger. I wish I had more confidence that it would have some impact (along with the thousands of similar messages I hope he's receiving from hunters and gun owners throughout the state), but then again I honestly never thought it would get through the Assembly... and look, it passed something like 44-31!

That aside, you guys are really making me miss my 20ga (it was stolen along with my Honda Prelude many years ago).

Holly Heyser said...

Well, that's the lower house for you.

The Senate helped though - it removed the provision that you could transfer no more than 50 rounds per month between private parties (or something like that). And that's the game. The house passes something ridiculous. The Senate makes it more reasonable. And if you're lucky, the governor says "no."

What I thought was interesting is how the police chiefs all love this bill, but the county sheriffs hate it. Talk about an urban/rural divide...

Eric F said...

Hi Holly,

Thanks for keeping us aware! I saw the email from Cabela's and thought I might go back and read it today...I sent my message to the Governator for what it will be worth. I hope he veto's this feel good legislation. The only way to clean up the streets is with tough laws and tougher law enforcement! Put the gang bangers and drug dealers in work camps or behind bars...

SimplyOutdoors said...

Requiring a thumb print in order to purchase ammunition is definitely repugnant. Gangbangers and thugs don't care about thumbprints, or that they purchased their ammunition illegally. These types of laws only hurt law-abiding citizens, and make them have to crawl through more red tape.

Stay on the soap box Holly.

Phillip Loughlin said...

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was wrong not to put this up on my blog too.

Maybe too little, too late, but this is something that all of us in CA should probably blogging (and screaming) about.

At least with the lead ban, the State was facing a legal battle and lawsuit. I can understand the Gov folding to that... but this one, well, it's just stupid and misguided (or something more sinister if you want to go the conspiracist route).

Albert A Rasch said...

As goes California, so to the rest of the Nation... eventually.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Holly for bring this to everyone's attention on your blog.
Please continue to call (916-445-2841) and email the Governor. We need to bog down his office with our efforts. His office number has a automated selection which lets you record your opposition to this bill and SB585.
This is something that will effect every California who owns a firearm and plans to shoot it. You only have to look to England to realize that the next step will be to regulate shotgun and rifle ammo. Then components. The goal will be to make it harder and harder to get ammunition..
There is much more that could be said but I believe that I am preaching to the choir here.
Keep up the good work. You have started to peak my wife's interest in shooting and hunting.

Shane Wooten
Long time reader, first time poster

Marlana said...

"As goes California, so to the rest of the Nation... eventually."

Unfortunalty, here in MA we've had all ammo banned from being bought online or thru catalogs for the past 5 yrs. I'm not sure on the requirements for a FID (Firearms ID), but for my CCL (concealed carry license), they took all 10 fingerprints and a photo. I get a nice plastic card that has my photo on it and have to have my thumb scanned to purchase firearms. To buy ammo, I just have to show my CCL.

It really sucks sometimes to be ahead of CA. At least we don't have lead bans yet, tho they tried to pass that last yr for *all* ammo and shooting ranges, plus fishing weights.