Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner is crafting legislation that would require law enforcement to be notified by the seller when a customer purchases more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Berkeley Democrat, who chairs the powerful Assembly Rules Committee, said she was outraged at reports that the suspect in the July shooting of dozens of people at a Colorado movie theater had purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition in a short period of time.
Requiring notification when someone appears to be stockpiling ammunition "gives law enforcement at least the ability to assess whether it's something they should be looking into further," said Skinner, who plans to team with Democratic state Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley on the bill.
"We have, sadly, gun violence that plagues a number of our communities," said Skinner, portions of whose Bay Area district overlaps with that of Hancock. "Every effort we can make to try to minimize that gun violence is the better for our communities and for public safety."
Skinner, who has not yet worked out details of her proposal, said she is aware that some gun owners purchase large quantities of ammunition for target shooting.
"I'm trying to be somewhat acknowledging of that," she said. "But it doesn't seem to me that anyone who's active in target practice is going to need 6,000 rounds in a short period of time."
Groups representing gun owners have not seen Skinner's bill, but they consistently have argued that anything creating obstacles to purchasing guns or ammunition infringes upon constitutional rights.
Opponents of gun-control legislation also contend that criminals will be able to acquire guns regardless what state laws are implemented, so restrictions tend to affect only law-abiding citizens.
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, recently proposed separate gun-control legislation, Senate Bill 249, to ban devices enabling magazines of military-style rifles to be reloaded so quickly that semiautomatic guns can be fired almost like assault weapons.
Both the Yee and Skinner bills are expected to receive major opposition in the final weeks of the legislation session, which ends Aug. 31.