Online Ammunition Sales Spike in California Ahead of Jan. 1 State Law Change

Ammunition sales across California are skyrocketing heading into the end of the year, but the deals have nothing to do with Christmas or holiday sales.

A San Francisco police officer holds a handful of ammunition that was surrendered during a gun buyback event on August 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of guns were turned in during a one-day gun buyback event in San Francisco's Mission District put on by San Francisco city officials. In hopes of reducing violence in the area, $100 was given for each working gun that was turned in and $200 was given for assault rifles. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A San Francisco police officer holds a handful of ammunition that was surrendered during a gun buyback event on August 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of guns were turned in during a one-day gun buyback event in San Francisco’s Mission District put on by San Francisco city officials. In hopes of reducing violence in the area, $100 was given for each working gun that was turned in and $200 was given for assault rifles. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Direct-mail ammo sales are up 187 percent over last year, with some of the biggest increases are in the Bay Area, San Francisco television station KPIX reported. In Concord, sales have rocketed 968 percent, while in Santa Clara, sales are up 315 percent.

California hunters and gun enthusiasts are stocking up on ammunition this holiday season with online sales.

Come Jan. 1, ammunition purchased online cannot be delivered to your doorstep. It will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer that has been approved by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms.

But dealers are still waiting for the DOJ to release its exact guidelines on who can supply ammo.

“We are waiting for them to give us the when, where and how,” said Kevin Yost, manager of Guns, Fishing and Other Things. “It’s a big unknown circle right now that we would love to have the answer to and hope to get it really soon.”

Smaller mom-and-pop retailers may stop selling ammunition altogether because of the process of getting DOJ consent.

“It’s not an attempt to prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing ammunition,” said Griffin Dix, Co-Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “But it is an attempt to make sure that the sales don’t go to criminals and other persons who are prohibited from buying ammunition.”

San Francisco already prohibits direct home delivery from online sales.

Starting July of 2019, California residents will need to have a background check prior to purchasing ammo.

With 2018 just a few weeks away, retailers are trying to gear up for the new changes.

“Unfortunately we are still waiting for a lot of the clarity and the clarification coming down from the Department of Justice as to what these actual regulations are going to be, how they’re going to be enforced, and how they’re going to impact both the consumer and the retail store,” said Yost. “Right now we just don’t know. So until that happens, we’re waiting just like everybody else is waiting.”