Politics: Death of a Million Cuts
For the most part, gun rights advocates across the nation have won victory after victory. The expiration of the AWB, the spread of shall-issue CCW, Heller. But as things have gotten progressively better for gunowners at the federal level, things have gotten progressively worse for embattled gunowners of a few Democratically-controlled states, like the beleaguered residents of California. Case in point - AB 962 was signed yesterday by Governor Arnold Scwarzenegger.
It's not a ban on ammo. Heck, it's not even full-on ammo registration. But it does require that all ammo in California be sold face-to-face, with the buyer having to leave a thumbprint and personal information every time the ammo is sold (the bill covers any ammo that can be used in a handgun - which is potentially all ammo, and at the very least includes things like .22LR). As a result, internet sales direct to people in California will be a thing of the past in 2011.
Newspapers in almost every city in California pronounced this measure a "reasonable" move to control gang violence, with only minor effects on lawful gunowners. But say someone had proposed a similar measure for the sale of, oh, I don't know, alcohol? Suppose that before you bought a beer, you had to leave a thumbprint (in ink if the place doesn't have a fancy electronic scanner) and fill out a registration sheet. It would curb underage drinking, and drinking by unauthorized people! We have to do it...for the children! (the cynic in me thinks that the alcohol registration act would actually be partially effective, too, if only because people so drunk they can't fill out the form wouldn't be able to, you know, drink).
Such a bill would never pass, since too many people drink and too many people like convenience when they drink. The number of gunowners in California has fallen below that critical mass, and that means they're vulnerable.
The forces of gun control never stop. Every time they make owning a gun a hassle, every time they make buying ammo harder, every time a gun range closes or a gun shop is zoned out into the boonies, they win a small victory. Add up enough small victories, and soon there'll be more people collecting Austrian stamps than there are gunowners (Tam made this point not very long ago). Opposing these laws helps, but it's also important to make sure that there's a next generation of shooters, too. Any time you can get a new shooter involved (and it's not hard, considering how useful and flat-out fun firearms are), we are one person further away from losing that critical mass...