Nancy Skinner unveils bill to regulate ammunition sales


Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley: “It is easier to buy ammo than to buy cold medicine.”

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) today unveiled a bill to regulate the sale of ammunition, and said it was time buying bullets required the same scrutiny as buying guns.

Skinner, D-Berkeley, held a news conference on Monday morning outside the Oakland state office building on the day Alameda County students returned to school after the winter break and in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, CT, elementary school massacre.

“Assembly Bill 48 aims to restrict the bullets that are ravaging our communities,” Skinner said in a statement. “Tragic but true, it is easier to buy ammo than to buy cold medicine, alcohol or tobacco. It’s time for buying deadly bullets to fall under the same controls as guns and Sudafed.”

Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who also serves as the chair of the California Police Chief’s Association Firearms Committee, said: “Like pseudoephedrine is the precursor to methamphetamine, bullets are the precursor to gun violence. If we can control the precursors, we may avert tragedies like the ones at Oikos University in Oakland, Aurora and Newtown.”

AB 48 would establish procedures and restrictions on the sale of ammunition comparable to those that currently cover gun sales. The legislation bans kits that convert guns into illegal assault weapons, requires ammunition sellers to be licensed and to report ammunition sales to the Department of Justice, and additionally requires large ammo purchases made over a short time period to be reported to local law enforcement.

A moment of silence, led by True Vine Ministries Pastor Zachary E. Carey, was held to pay respect to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Carey said Oakland has seen 559 homicides in the past five years, and almost 2,700 in the past 25 years, most of which involved guns, according to the Mercury News. “This is out of control,” he said. “This is the first step to change California and to change the nation.”

At the conference Skinner acknowledged that passing such a bill would be an uphill struggle given the power of the country’s gun lobby, but she said she was convinced it was possible to build a coalition broad enough to overcome opposition.

Although officials from across Alameda County attended today’s event — spanning community and education leaders, law enforcement and clergy — representatives from the city of Berkeley, be it from its school district or police department, were notable for their absence. A staffer in Skinner’s office said all had been invited. [Update, 01.10.13: Berkeley Police Department confirmed they had not in fact received an invitation to attend this press conference.]

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, Alameda Police Captain David Boersma, San Leandro Vice Mayor Michael Gregory, and members of the Boards of Education of Alameda County, Albany Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District and West Contra Costa Unified School District have all voiced their support for Assembly Bill 48.

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  • PragmaticProgressive

    Yup, it’s probably not a silver, uh, bullet. But coming back to the Chris Rock thing, if bullets were hit with a Pigovian tax that made them really expensive, they might not be so accessible.

    Having had a bullet come through my daughter’s bedroom window here in Berkeley, back when she was 2 and I was in the room, in front of the window (shades were drawn, so no one could’ve known I was there), I’m kind of interested in figuring out how to make that never happen again. It wasn’t a high caliber shot — probably a kid with a BB gun, as it only made it through the glass and halfway through the shades. Still, it was… an unwelcome development.

  • Charles_Siegel

    If some small minded, soulless person wanted to go to a school and murder as many people as he could before he was stopped, I would much rather see him go with a knife than with an assault weapon.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon


    I actually used to be opposed to gun control as I saw it as a really stupid idea that seemed to not really address the underlying social problems in any meaningful way. Then I saw the data from Australia and a bunch of other countries that have passed gun control. The difference was stunning.

    Check this out –


    On April 28, 1996, a gunman shot and killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. In response, Australian Prime Minister John Howard — a close alley of President George W. Bush — oversaw the passage of sweeping new gun control legislation. Semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns were banned, and a mandatory government buyback program was enacted to collect those weapons. The results, rounded up by the Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews and Slate’s Will Oremus, were striking:

    [H]omicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that
    firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.”

    With this kind of data, I have no idea how anyone can argue that we shouldn’t regulate or outright ban gun ownership. We regulate all sorts of industries in order to keep people safe — and it’s amazing that gun manufacturers haven’t yet been sued out of existence.

  • Charles_Siegel

    If the central bank wanted to rob us all, it could do it by printing money. That is the easiest way to do it.

    I am trying to imagine the scenario that Myco envisions.

    Does he think the central bank will send in the army, and he will take out his gun to stop the troops and tanks that are coming down the street? I don’t think he and his gun will last long. And I don’t see how it would benefit the central bank to send the army in: that is a totally ineffective way to collect your money. And if the central bank already controls the government, they don’t need to send in the army to take over, do they?

  • The Sharkey

    How do you define an “assault weapon” Charles?

  • wakeupcharles

    The banksters want the US workforce to be poorer, less educated, and more desperate so that workers will work for less and have less demand for a quality life and less education. That’s what austerity policies do. Austerity policies cause social uprisings as you can see around the world. Militarizing the police is profitable and it is a hedge against social unrest. Crowd control weapons. Drones. Big money for the banksters and preparation to beat down uprisings. Having lots of private guns around helps keep the police in check.

  • The Sharkey

    Oh man, I’m getting deja-vu! It… it feels almost… almost like you already went over this and had most of your points refuted by other people!

  • The Sharkey

    Why should law-abiding people who enjoy shooting guns for target practice be punished because of the bad behavior of an extreme minority?

    Why should a law-abiding target shooter like James Macmillan be punished because some thug in Oakland decides to shoot up the neighborhood with an illegally-acquired weapon?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I think the fear is that they’ll use their power to seize the factories where tin is produced and without access to tin, how will Myco and the other fungi fashion protective headgear?

  • Charles_Siegel

    However you define it, an assault weapon is more dangerous than a knife.

  • The Sharkey

    So you favor the banning of something you can’t even explain?

    How do you feel about the banning of Snuffalumpaguses? ;-)

  • I would much rather we keep *all* the murderers out of our school, but good to know you’re okay with children being knived to death. Maybe it’ll only be 8 instead of 20. Problem solved!

  • Mycologist

    World history is obviously lost on you. Central bankers want more POWER and CONTROL. They already have more money than they will ever need. POWER is the most addictive drug known to man. Ever hear of it? People are slowly (despite the media control and disinformation) figuring out and realizing how corrupt these people are, and they are threatened by that, and they are now disarming us because of it. Central bankers own the military industrial complex, so would you prefer to have no defense, or some, in case you ever need it?

  • Charles_Siegel

    If you have a sure-fire way of keeping all murderers out of school, let us know. I am sure that the entire nation wants to hear that idea.

    In the real world, we will do well to reduce murders.

    People who opposes efforts to reduce the number of murders in schools and elsewhere are the one who are okay with children being killed.

  • JL

    You idiot. You have no right to force me to wait for pharmacy hours when I have a cold or to push for your nanny state nonsense on ammo. Who do you think you are?

  • Larry

    Really –

    QUOTE ” Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who also serves as the chair of the California Police Chief’s Association Firearms Committee, said: “Like pseudoephedrine is the precursor to methamphetamine, bullets are the precursor to gun violence. If we can control the precursors, we may avert tragedies like the ones at Oikos University in Oakland, Aurora and Newtown.” ”

    California Laws in Place – buying pseudoephedrine

    Currently, all pseudoephedrine products in California are subject to its laws except for pediatric liquids. While the products are not completely restricted to being placed behind a counter or in a locked cabinet, some companies choose to lock up their products but are not forced to do so. However, retailers are prohibited from knowingly selling more than 9 grams of the drug in any single transaction.

    Also, retailers must ensure that the purchaser is at least 18 years of age and penalties for not observing these laws can include fines and imprisonment.

    Read more: Laws Concerning Cold Medicine in California |

    California Law for Ammo –

  • Larry

    And Im Scared your a Police Chief saying this…

  • Yep, bullets are just jumping out of ammo boxes and killing people! This is “leadership”? How about banning criminals instead of attacking law-abiding gun-owners?

  • You mean criminals are ignoring the gun-fee zones? Say it isn’t so!!

  • Yes, but their overall violent crime rates are often higher than the US. Cherry-picking statistics (gun violence in nations without guns) without considering overall violence levels is a very weak argument.

  • Actually a number of studies prove that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens prevent over 2,000,000 crimes a year (US gov statistics)–more than all police in the nation combined. Also SCOTUS and the Founders comments on the issue themselves, contradict your claims. In addition, the militia **IS** US citizens. The National Guard wasn’t created until decades after the 2nd Amendment was created–which militia, then, were the Founders talking about? Your statements reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of the Constitution and do not agree with dozens of court cases, nor with the historical records and writings.

  • Charles_Siegel

    This is a very interesting point, and I would appreciate a link to some statistics, if possible.

    If the US has higher rates of gun violence than the other developed nations but has similar rates of overall violence as the other developed nations, this implies the the main cause in the difference in gun violence is easier availability of guns in the US. It is a strong argument for gun control.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    Is that why the UK had 58 gun murders in 2010 while the US had over 11,000? Or is that why Australia hasn’t had a single mass shooting since they put gun control in place? Sheesh. I don’t really care about what the framers ultimately intended – they couldn’t have seen tanks or drones either; the world is a different place. If we need to pass another amendment to ban all guns, then that’s what needs to happen – but we can and we will join the rest of the civilized world. The gun lobby is just like Big Tobacco… and they’ll inevitably get shoved back just like Big Tobbaco did.

  • The Sharkey

    Australian population: 22,620,600
    United Kingdom population: 62,641,000
    United States population: 311,591,917

    When you try to use the government to ban things you don’t like, you’re no better than Evangelical anti-abortionists.

  • Vladislav_Davidzon

    311/62 = 5. 5×58 = 290. That’s 290 compared to 11,000.

    The role of government is to create public order and safety; we regulate cars (seatbelts and airbags anyone?), we regulate tobacco, we regulate all sorts of things that can cause harm to society.

  • Charles_Siegel

    You said in another comment that the rate of violent crime in the US is about the same as in other developed nations, though the rate of gun violence is much higher in the US.

    This implies that there are about as many violent people in the developed nations, but they do much more damage in the United States because they have easy access to guns and ammo.

    If you have any way of “banning criminals,” let us know. The world is waiting for that idea.

    Until you tell us how to ban criminals, I think we should reduce the damage that criminals do by limiting their access to guns.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Australia is a very interesting example. Australia has about 15 guns per 100 residents, while the United States has about 88 per 100 (according to wikipedia).

    And Australia has reduced its rate of gun violence dramatically using gun-control laws:

    Almost two weeks after a shooting spree stunned Australia in 1996, leaving 35 people dead at the Port Arthur tourist spot in Tasmania, the government issued sweeping reforms of the country’s gun laws. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since.

    Just 12 days after the 1996 shooting in Port Arthur, then-Prime Minister John Howard
    – a conservative who had just been elected with the help of gun owners – pushed through not only new gun control laws, but also the most ambitious gun buyback program Australia had ever seen. Some 650,000 automatic and semi-automatic rifles were handed in and destroyed under the program. Though gun-related deaths did not suddenly end in Australia, gun-related homicides dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. Suicides by gun plummeted by 65 percent, and robberies at gunpoint also dropped significantly. Many said there was a close correlation between the sharp declines and the buyback program.

    Perhaps the most convincing statistic for many, though, is that in the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there were 11 mass shootings in the country. Since the new law, there hasn’t been one shooting spree.

    In the wake of the shooting, polls indicated that up to 85 percent of Australians supported the measures taken by the government.
    In the wake of the Newtown shooting, several Australian politicians are now suggesting that the US adopt Australia’s gun laws.

    Among other provisions in their law:
    Restricted weapons: machine guns, rocket launchers, assault rifles, flame-throwers, anti-tank guns, Howitzers, artillery, etc. can be owned by collectors in some states provided that these weapons have been rendered permanently inoperable.

    Sharkey, since you seem to be curious about the definition of “assault rifle,” maybe you could look up the definition in Australian law, since their law that totally bans assault rifles and machine guns seems to have been very effective is stopping mass massacres.

  • Clearwave

    Horrible idea. Nancy just lost my vote

  • Clearwave

    Last I heard Criminals don’t obey laws. Why would this be helpful ? Crack is illegal in our country yet you can buy it in every city across the US. Ever heard of the black market ? Well done Nancy yet another horrible bill to make people feel better yet will not do a thing but infringe on the rights and freedom of law abiding citizens.

  • The Sharkey

    Found this through casual Googling. Might be cherry-picked, I don’t know.

    US Violent Crime Rate: 475 per 100,000 citizens
    (Year: 2003 )

    UK Violent Crime Rate: 4,100 per 100,000 citizens
    (Year: 2003 )

  • The Sharkey

    Regulate ≠ ban.

  • The Sharkey

    I’m not curious about the definition of assault rifle.
    I asked what *YOUR* definition of it is, since you seem to want to ban them.
    I think anyone who dislikes something so much that they want it totally banned should be able to explain in detail what it is they’re talking about.

    You should dig a little deeper into those numbers. Gun-related homicides were already dropping in Australia before the gun ban. The 59% number is only as high as it is because of the Port Arthur spree which wildly skewed the numbers for that year. Take it out, and the decline has been far less dramatic. People who use Australia as an example also often cite total gun deaths (including suicides) in Australia rather than citing only gun homicides which further skews the numbers.

  • Margy

    And gained mine!

  • Charles_Siegel

    So, by your reasoning, we should legalize crack.

    In fact, by your reasoning, we should not have any laws at all. Criminals don’t obey the law, so we might as well not have laws against burglary, murder, and so on.

  • Charles_Siegel

    “Nancy just lost my vote”

    I am sure that would worry Nancy if you lived in her district, but I bet you don’t.

  • Clearwave

    I do live in her district. I’m in El Cerrito . NRA, CRPA, GOA, GOC and SAF have thousands of voters who previously supported Skinner and will no longer do so. This bill is Unconstitutional and will be DOA.


    In a dramatic ruling giving gun owners a win in an National Rifle
    Association / California Rifle and Pistol (CRPA) Foundation lawsuit, this
    morning Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton ruled that AB 962,
    the hotly contested statute that would have banned mail order ammunition
    sales and required all purchases of so called “handgun ammunition” to be
    registered, was unconstitutionally vague on its face. The Court enjoined
    enforcement of the statute, so mail order ammunition sales to California
    can continue unabated, and ammunition sales need not be registered under
    the law.

  • Clearwave

    Behind the antiquated formality of the language I used lies a strangely off-balance mystification as to what I’m really about.
    I never said reasonable laws should not be passed. AB 48 is Unconstitutional and a similar bill has been invalidated in a Fresno court. This bill is a waste of tax payer money. If this bill passes and becomes law it will then be overturned by the courts. as did AB 962. This bill is not reasonable therefore all it does is infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens and will not stop a criminal act.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Apologies. I thought you were outside of the district, because people who think like you represent such a tiny minority of the people who do live in the district.

  • Clearwave

    It’s a well regulated militia not well armed militia
    And yes it is a constitutional right
    As passed by the Congress:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 US 3025 (2010). The Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the individual states.

  • The Sharkey

    Gained your vote for what? She’s in her final term and will be termed out at the end of this term.

  • wtf

    but dont worry you still dont have to show your ID to vote!

  • WuzYoungOnceToo

    – “Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who also serves as the chair of the California Police Chief’s Association Firearms Committee, said…”

    I don’t know which is worse…citing a Chris Rock stand-up act as brilliant policy insight, or quoting the moronic chief Ken “police carry guns to intimidate and show power” James:

  • She is one F**king stupid woman and we will fight against her bill.

  • Charles_Siegel

    This ad hominem attack is contrary to Berkeleyside policy and should be removed.

    Of course, people resort to this sort of ad hominem only if they are not capable of anything better.