Olympic medalist files lawsuit over California bullet control law

Olympic medalist files lawsuit over California bullet control law

Rhode won her first Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games five days after her 17th birthday — the youngest female Olympic shooting champion in the Games’ history — and is planning on making the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 her seventh visit, but in the meantime is taking California to court over their ammo laws. (Photo: NRA)

Six-time Olympic medal winner Kim Rhode has joined with gun rights groups and others to challenge the state’s new regulations on ammo sales.

Rhode, a California resident who burns through thousands of rounds per year training as a world champion trap and skeet shooter, is named as a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday against state Attorney General Xavier Becerra over the tenets of Proposition 63, which places a number of controls on the sale and transfer of ammunition.

The Olympian, who is on the 75-member board of the National Rifle Association, was joined in the lawsuit by its state affiliate, the California Rifle & Pistol Association, as well as a number of out of state ammo retailers who can no longer ship their products directly to state resident’s homes under the new rules.

The 31-page lawsuit argues Prop 63, which Second Amendment advocates characterized as “Gunmageddon,” outlaws direct mail order ammunition sales, puts all transfers of ammo under a “burdensome registration scheme,” imposes costly fees and price increases on bullet sales and mires would-be vendors in piles of Sacramento red tape. As such, it not only violates the Dormant Commerce Clause by discriminating against interstate commerce but also tramples on the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Rhode, who made history in 2016 to become the first woman to medal in six straight Olympics, argues she is required to use special competition ammunition sanctioned by her sport’s governing bodies, which she receives from a training facility in Arizona and brings back into the state. She also regularly has ammo sent to her home, range, and coach by sponsors, needed as she fires an average of 800 rounds daily to keep on top of her game. Now, with Prop 63, both means of obtaining her needed ammunition are illegal.

A staunch advocate for gun rights during the last election cycle, Rhode was featured in ads against Prop 63 and publicly sparred with its godfather, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, over the initiative’s restrictions.

The provisions of Prop 63 started to go into effect earlier this year, causing heartburn for some retailers and running at least one small ammo maker in the state out of business while forcing online retailers to modify their sales policies. In Congress, similar measures have been proposed in the House by Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Senate by Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats.

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