Within the last 60 days, a majority in both our U.S. Senate and House (52 Senators and 238 Representatives) have joined to oppose the move to ban a popular type of ammo used in the top-selling AR-15 rifle and pistol because it pierces police body armor. The reason: popular rifle ammo is not used in shootouts with police and support for the intent of our Second Amendment. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley echoed that in his own letter signed by 51 other Senators and members of Congress that said “Second Amendment rights require not only access to firearms but to bullets. If law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk.” There have been many bills introduced over the last 4 years or so attempting to ban ammo and guns, including banning online ammo sales. But this current attempt is serious.
This week in May, 2015, Representative Bonnie Watson-Coleman (freshman Democrat of New Jersey) introduced another of the latest assaults on the Second Amendment with the introduction of H.R. 2283 or the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2015. This bill is a very serious attempt to stop (and create more hurdles for) consumers from purchasing ammo over the Internet and to prevent accumulating and storing large stocks of ammunition. Rep. Watson-Coleman said in a press release “This bill would take the most basic steps to slow the proliferation of guns and ammunition, helping to prevent events like what we saw in Aurora, Colorado three years ago.” Courtney Cochran, Rep. Watson-Coleman’s communications director, said if someone is trying to stock pile ammunition for a malicious reason, the bill would give law enforcement a better chance at preventing an attack. She said the bill aims to help prevent malicious attacks like the July 2012 shooting in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater that left 12 dead and 70 wounded. Carole Stiller, president of the Brady Campaign’s anti-gun Million Mom March, supports it and added “A consumer product that has the potential to kill, like a bullet, should be regulated in a manner similar to cigarettes and certain allergy medicines.” But the lingering truth is that bad guys themselves attack, kill, and murder others, not their tools… the guns and ammo. Bad guys will get their ammo someway from someone in amounts that want and laws do not matter to them. Another law will not stop them. Another law might prevent good guys from effectively defending themselves and their loved ones and enjoying their sports hobby, because they cannot become as proficient as they need to be for self defense or for competition, sports, or hunting to control over-population of certain animals and benefiting society. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that 10-12 billion rounds of ammunition are produced domestically each year. The market research firm IBIS World says there is at least a $3 billion-a-year small arms ammo industry and online ammo sales have been gaining in popularity “due to convenience and lower prices consumers can get by buying in bulk online.”
In essence what the bill wants to do is to require (1) face to face purchases of ammunition, (2) licensing of ammunition dealers, and (3) reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition. The Act would require federally licensed ammunitions dealers to confirm the identity of individuals who arrange to purchase ammunition over the Internet by verifying a photo ID in-person (difficult to do over the computer and at long distances.) In essence, ammo buyers would need to present a photo I.D. IN-PERSON at an authorized dealer before the shipment could be made. Most Internet ammo sellers with very good prices do not have a retail store for you to go to. The bill would also require ammunition vendors to report any sales of more than 1,000 rounds within five consecutive days to the U.S. attorney general if the person purchasing ammunition is not a licensed dealer. It would also require the federal government to issue licenses to ammunition dealers. This would be an added cost and expense of doing business, which would probably be passed on in the form of even higher ammo prices. It seems to me that lawmakers proposing such laws are merely attempting to capitalize on horrible tragedies to further their agenda and disdain for the Second Amendment. Might there be another Executive Order or action?”
So does this new regulation match the intent of the Second Amendment to our U.S. Constitution? Does it make sense to you as a law-abiding citizen patriot who enjoys shooting for fun, casually plinking to see if you can get a bullseye, or even for you as a competition shooter or avid hunter? What are your ideas?
As you would expect, the National Rifle Association (NRA) strongly opposes ammunition regulation. The NRA argues that banning online ammo sales would turn back the clock to the days when ammo was only available in person at licensed stores, driving up prices and making less popular cartridges nearly unobtainable for millions of lawful gun owners.
Sufficient Practice, Training, and Self-Defense Ammo
Aside from the valid and proven intent of our Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to “keep and bear arms”, questions arise about online righteous ammo purchases. First, should the government or any law regulate the quantity of ammo you use or can buy for legal self-defense and training purposes and how you buy it? A big and highly debatable issue. IF SO, then what is a sufficient amount? Many sports, competition, hunting, and law-abiding citizen shooters that legally buy and stockpile many rounds of training and practice ammo have no intention of going on a shooting spree to kill others or committing illegal acts. In fact, some stockup on their ammo because of the fear of legislation that will indeed limit their supply for lawful purposes or make it very difficult to even obtain ammo to protect themselves.
One of the many questions is “What is a reasonable amount of practice, training, or self-defense ammo for a legitimate consumer?” Practice is absolutely mandatory for effective use of your self-defense handgun and your concealed carry handgun, or for that matter ANY gun. For example, say you practice every two weeks and shoot 200 rounds a practice session at the range. That seems a reasonable practice time and minimum rounds for most. (Many shoot much more than that.) Over 52 weeks, that comes to about 4,800 rounds a year minimum for this example. If you only shoot once a month and fire 200 rounds, that is about 2,400 rounds. Even if you shoot once every other month and shoot only 200 rounds, that comes to 1,200 rounds. For all of these example practice scenarios, you would need to purchase more than the 1,000 rounds. This bill addresses stockpiling of ammo and mentions 1,000 rounds limitations and control steps. Another question is “What about legitimate competition shooters, gun shooting and concealed carry gun class students and instructors, or sports shooters and their practice, classroom and range ammo amounts and purchase options, etc.?” Some competition shooters may shoot 1,000 rounds or more in one month. Also, if an instructor teaches 4 gun shooting classes a month with only 8 students each and provides the ammo, there could be a need for at least 1,000 rounds of ammo a month. If multiple calibers and various gun models are used each class, many more rounds can be used monthly. For example, for our classes I regularly buy bulk ammo since we use various handgun models and include all ammo in various calibers to familiarize our students with various shooting options. So another question comes to mind “Do mass maniac killers shoot 200 rounds or more at a single crazed shooting?” I have not researched this, but I am not aware of any mass shootings where 200 rounds or more were fired. A further consideration is so what if a legitimate shooter or even a criminal mass shooter stockpiles ammo (like the mass shooter in Aurora, CO who supposedly stockpiled about 1,500 rounds of ammo.) He can not easily carry that much ammo at one time or quickly access it. Is this ammo stockpiling even significantly relevant? Consider also that the provision requiring sellers to report purchases of more than 1,000 rounds of ammo could be easily bypassed. If a bad guy wanted to wage a mass attack with more than 1,000 rounds, he could easily work around the proposed law by purchasing 995 rounds this week, then 995 rounds again next week. Sad, but true.
Maybe Superman said it best… we must ” fight the never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” What are your thoughts and especially the solutions for this reoccurring dilemma?
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice, your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. You alone bear responsibility for making decisions about your shooting gear and accessories for your purpose. This information should not be relied upon as appropriate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2015 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.