12 Simple Reasons


Engraved ammo?  As an ornament, maybe.

Dennis E. Florianby Dennis E. Florian
GunOwnersResource staff

Some of you may be aware of a menagerie of malcontents in the United States who have dubbed themselves “Ammunition Accountability” working to push through a law that would require each and every round of ammunition manufactured in the U.S. To be laser-etched with a unique serial number.

Yes, you read that right and no, I haven’t been drinking. Although I kind of wish that I were.

While Canadian gun owners may, sadly, have become accustomed to such buffoonery on the part of anti-gun extremists on their side of the border, Americans can perhaps be forgiven if this tomfoolery leaves many of them scratching their heads. The sad truth of this, however, is that there is already something of a precedent for this sort of stupidity and to find it, you don’t need to look far at all.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, where I live, ammunition registration has already, like some poorly-constructed prototype of Frankenstein’s monster, lurched and shambled its way to a gruesome semblance of a half-life. In the early 1990s, the socialist (NDP) premier of the day’s government introduced and passed legislation requiring that every ammunition purchase in the province be recorded. To this day, if you buy any form of ammunition in Ontario – even if it’s nothing more than a box of .22 ratshot to deal with those damned tree-rats in the attic – your name, address, PAL number, and the exact amount and type of ammo you bought are recorded in a log book kept in the store.

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Think about that for a moment. Think about what were to happen if that book were stolen (and believe me, plenty of them have “gone missing” over the years). A potential thief now knows who you are, where you live and what kind of ammo you buy (effectively giving them a hint to what kind of guns you have). They might also be able to figure out when you’re least likely to be home. Think about it: they know the date and time of the purchase and people are a lot more likely to pick up ammo on the way home from work than they are on the way to work. If you’re recorded as making a lot of early morning purchases, the thief might just figure that you work the night shift and aren’t likely to be home when it’s nice and dark.

And what has all this pointless record keeping accomplished? Absolutely nothing. While neither the Ontario Provincial Police nor any municipal police force in the province have ever been able to attribute the solving of even a single crime to the keeping of these records, several thefts of sizeable firearm collections have suspected connections to missing store logs. So much for crime prevention.

Which brings us back to Ammunition Accountability and their odd notion of engraving bullets with serial numbers. Ammunition production in the United States numbers in the tens of billions of rounds per year (.22 LR production alone is estimated to be in excess of 1 billion per year) – that’s a lot of digits to squeeze onto the rump of a .17 HMR slug. And how readable are those codes going to be on a projectile that’s hit something solid? But never mind that.

Since things are cheaper by the dozen, here are 12 simple reasons why this is a dumb idea:

  1. Criminals aren’t going to use registered bullets any more than they use registered guns. There are hundreds of billions of unmarked cartridges floating around already that are easy to get. This law will only create an “unstamped bullet” black market.
  2. Laser-etching each bullet is expensive, cranking up manufacturing costs by an extimated $2.50 for even a box of .22 rimfire or pistol ammunition (and if the Canadian gun registry has taught us anything, it’s that costs will always exceed the estimates). If buying bullets becomes too expensive for the average person, the gun-grabbers will have their population-disarming agenda within reach. Criminals, of course, will stay armed.
  3. No one will be able to purchase unmarked ammo after June 30, assuming the new ammo will be available on July 1 (a big assumption).
  4. The government will know the exact amount and caliber you purchase after that date; a total invasion of privacy which, if Ontario is any example, will accomplish nothing whatsoever.
  5. All privately owned and uncoded ammo will have to be destroyed by July 1, 2011. Once again, this is gun control; no bullets, no guns. See how easy it is? And before anyone starts getting bright ideas about “compensation for confiscation,” ask this: Where do you think the government gets its money from in the first place?
  6. The system will not prove who pulled the trigger, but will quite possibly target the innocent.
  7. The proposed law targets handloaders, too. Care to have your toolshed searched without a warrant?
  8. A licensing fee for each bullet sold will be required. Nothing but a tax grab.
  9. Ammunition sellers will incur administrative costs which will ultimately be passed on to the retail purchaser, increasing the cost for a box of shells even more. Guess who will pick up the tab.
  10. There are only a few ammunition manufacturers who can design and build the necessary equipment, meaning that many manufacturers would go out of business. Expect yet another bloated governmental bureaucracy to be created to control the chaos.
  11. Habitual criminals do not use registered guns, nor will they use registered ammo.
  12. Eighteen states have this legislation currently pending, including California, a state where common sense legislation is an oxymoron.

“Gun control” has never reduced crime.  Ever.  Anywhere.  “Bullet control” will do even less.

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