FRESNO (KCBS) – A judge in Fresno has ruled that California’s new ban on certain sales of handgun ammunition cannot take effect as planned next month.

The law bans sales of handgun ammunition that aren’t conducted in person, face-to-face, and makes it illegal for felons and gang members to buy ammo.

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It’s patterned after a city law in Sacramento, which Sacramento Police Chief Rick Brazil said is working well.

“It’s kind of a prevention piece for us in trying to prevent violence before it occurs,” he said.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

But a Fresno judge said its definitions of handgun and ammunition are unconstitutionally vague. Chuck Michel, attorney for the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the judge is right to block it.

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“As a former prosecutor, I’ve certainly sympathized with victims of gun violence,” Michel said. “This law would not have done anything to protect us from violent criminals.”

The bill’s author said its definitions have been used in California for 30 years and plans to appeal the ruling.

Loyola Law professor Laurie Levinson said gun rights advocates are determined to resist any legislation in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting.

“What we see here is a line in the sand. The idea that if there are any types of additional controls, that that might lead to a broader type of gun control and that’s not what they want,” she said.

Shooting suspect Jared Loughner legally purchased ammunition the morning he allegedly opened fire outside a Tucson Safeway.

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