California Ammunition Sales UP FIFTY PERCENT

    Widener’s Reloading and Shooting Supply is a Johnson City, TN based online ammunition company that has pushed a press release out citing a number of alarming panic/bulk buy figures from customers in California. According to the company overall ammunition sales are up 50% from California alone, whereas national sales from other states have remained relatively normal. The sale of 9x19mm and .308 Win cartridges is especially alarming from California, showing an increase of up to 60-80%, with .223 Rem cartridges higher than either of them. Just reading some of the statistics on this panic buy is enough to give one flashbacks to the Sandy Hook induced panic buy. From Widener’s-

    In the two months since 2016’s General Election, traffic from California is up 50% to Nationwide traffic to the site has remained relatively static for the same period.

    “There’s been a massive influx of California hunters and sport shooters who are stocking up in the wake of California’s new laws, no doubt about it.” Anne Taylor of Widener’s said. “There’s not just increased interest, it’s clear the gun owners who are buying are buying in bulk. We’ve seen our average order weight go up in the past couple months.”

    Taylor points to sales data indicating the average quantity purchased by Californians is up 20% in the two months following the election compared to the same time period before. So, if the average customer bought 10 boxes in his or her order prior to the election, they’re now buying 12.

    “We heard from a lot of customers in late December and early January who were confused about Prop 63,” Taylor said. “Many people seemed to think the background checks would start immediately.”

    Starting January 1, 2018, California gun owners will no longer be able to buy ammunition online with only face-to-face transfers allowed inside the state. California is also mandating a background check for all ammunition purchases under Proposition 63.

    The actual figures concerning percentile increase are even more alarming-

    Percent Increase in Sales by Municipality:

    Los Angeles Metro Area – 395%

    San Francisco Metro Area – 417%

    San Diego Metro Area – 161%

    Sacramento Metro Area – 449%

    Anaheim Metro Area – 264%

    San Jose Metro Area – 233%


    Proposition 63 entails a number of regulations, the most concerning and damning to shooters in California is the ammunition permit, and the complete ban of high capacity magazines, even those owned before 2003. It also makes stealing a firearm a misdemeanor, and purchasing ammunition outside the state illegal unless it went through a dealer first. This is the law explained in it’s entirety as it is currently adopted, according to Ballotpedia

    Requirements to buy ammo

    Proposition 63 was designed to require individuals who wish to purchase ammunition to first obtain a four-year permit from the California Department of Justice. The measure required dealers to check this permit before selling ammunition.[1] California enacted legislation in July 2016 that repealed this provision and instead mandated dealers to check with the Department of Justice to determine if the buyer is authorized to purchase.

    Licenses to sell ammo

    In July 2016, California enacted legislation to regulate the sale of ammunition. The legislation required individuals and businesses to obtain a one-year license from the California Department of Justice to sell ammunition. Hunters selling 50 rounds or less of ammunition per month for hunting trips were not required to obtain a license.

    Proposition 63 established a misdemeanor penalty for failing to follow these dealer licensing requirements.

    Large-capacity magazines

    California banned large-capacity magazines for most individuals in 2000. Individuals who had large-capacity magazines before 2000 were allowed to keep the magazines. Proposition 63 removed the ownership exemption for pre-2000 owners of large-capacity magazines. The measure provided for charging Individuals who do not comply with it with an infraction.

    Court removal of firearms

    Proposition 63 enacted a court process that attempts to ensure prohibited individuals do not continue to have firearms. The measure required courts to inform individuals prohibited from owning a firearm that they must turn their firearms over to local law enforcement, sell their firearms to a licensed dealer, or give their firearms to a dealer for storage. Proposition 63 also required probation officers to check and report on what prohibited individuals did with their firearms.

    Out-of-state purchases

    Starting in July 2019, the July 2016 legislation would have prohibited most California residents from purchasing ammunition outside the state and bringing it into the state without first having it delivered to a licensed dealer. Proposition 63 moved up the start date of this law to January 2018. It also made bringing out-of-state ammunition into the state without first delivering it to a dealer an infraction.

    Reporting theft

    The measure required dealers of ammunition to report a theft or loss within 48 hours. It required individuals to report a theft or loss within five days to local law enforcement. Failure to report was considered an infraction under the initiative.

    Penalty for theft

    Proposition 47 of 2014 made stealing an item that is valued at less than $950 a misdemeanor. Therefore, stealing a gun valued at less than $950 was a misdemeanor.

    Proposition 63 made stealing a gun, including one valued at less than $950, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

    Text of measure

    The ever looming question about this debate is how it is going to affect the rest of the country. California does have the largest population of shooters in the United States, but will that affect the rest of the country when it comes to ammunition sales and prices? My predication is that the panic buying we are seeing right now, isn’t from the average consumer. This panic buying is from the concerned groups of shooters,instructors, sportsmen/women who are very in tune with the political atmosphere and are thus stocking up now. The average California gunowner probably doesn’t realize the effects of the law until a couple months from now, and I think we’ll see a dramatic increase of ammunition sales from non-California ammunition sales starting in the summer, and coming to a climax in December. I suspect that on the other 49 states end, prices will go up, but not dramatically. Then they will subside after January 2018.

    Whatever happens, this better not be the case again.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]