Gun shop owners say ammo sales are down since new law took effect

Kittle’s Outdoor and Sport Co. owner Pat Kittle said the new ammunition sales laws have changed his customer’s ammunition buying habits.


Scott Evans, president at Shooter’s Paradise in Yuba City, said one of the first things he does when customers come through the door wanting to buy ammunition is ask for a driver’s license. 

Evans and his business partner Brian Aubuchon said most people question the reasoning behind the inquiry. It’s due to the state implementation of a background check for all ammunition purchases that started on July 1. The end of the year will mean six months since California instated the law. Evans said most of his time goes toward educating the public on what is required for past gun owners and non-owners looking to purchase ammunition. 

Shooter’s Paradise has a gun range on its property, so anyone looking to purchase ammunition to shoot at the range is not subject to any form of legal maneuvering with the Department of Justice. 

Evans said it’s more of an address check than a background check. The DOJ just wants to match DOJ online profiles with driver’s licenses, REAL IDs and ones with the federal limits apply stamp in the upper righthand corner. 

Immediately following implementation this summer the rejection rate was fairly high. 

Between July 1 and November almost one in five ammo purchases were rejected by the DOJ, it’s been reported.

Evans and Aubuchon said the DOJ rejections they’ve had amount to only half what they deal with: the two often turn back buyers just by looking at their licenses and noting a potential mismatch with DOJ, which makes running the background check a waste of time and money. 

Aubuchon, a retired Sacramento County police officer who runs Redline Ballistics out of Rancho Cordova in addition to helping with the Yuba City store,  said it costs $1 each time he runs a background check with DOJ. That cost is in addition to about $10,000 in equipment purchases that Aubuchon had to make and said he’ll never recoup.

“It’s burdensome regulation that will eventually lead to gun/ammo stores going out of business,” Aubuchon said. “People are going to Nevada to pick up their ammo and drive it in.” 

Pat Kittle, owner of Kittle’s Outdoor and Sport in Colusa, said he knows plenty of people who are now traveling to purchase their ammunition. Folks are making trips to Nevada and Oregon, because they know they won’t be stopped at state lines despite it being illegal to do so. 

“The more you try to oppress someone the more creative they get,” Aubuchon said. 

Aubuchon, Evans and Kittle are all down in ammo sales since July. Aubuchon and Evans said they’re down about 50 percent, while Kittle has lost 16 percent of total sales since the law went into effect. 

Kittle attributes sales loss in part to the added legislation. 

“Unfortunately it’s another department to check in with,” said Kittle, who has owned his store in Colusa for 20 years. “I say there are a fair number of politicians (in California) who don’t want guns or are afraid of guns.” 

It’s a troublesome trend, Kittle said, but one he doesn’t think will ever force him to relocate his business. 

From the education standpoint, Kittle said it has gotten better. People have a better understanding of what to expect in the state when buying ammo. 

“We improved as far as consumer knowledge,” he said. 

Evans said more people are also aware today in Yuba City of what is required to purchase ammunition.

How to create, update DOJ profile


Under new legislation requiring background checks for ammunition purchases in the state of California, a Department of Justice profile needs to be created or updated. Here is a step-by-step process on how to create profiles with the DOJ:

ν Visit

ν Create a CFARS account. 

ν Click on automated firearms system personal information update. 

ν Click on “I want to update my information.”

ν Fill in personal and firearm information.

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