Shifting Gears


Gun-grabbers now hoping to be ammo-absconders

Dennis E. Florianby Dennis E. Florian
Gun Owners’ Resource Staff

The United States Supreme Court’s recent Heller decision has given gun-grabbers across the U.S. of A. a monumental case of the heebie jeebies.  For years, they have claimed that the Second Amendment was a right, not of individuals, but rather of the state.  All that fell through the floor when SCOTUS declared that yes, it is an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.  That means owning guns.  Sphincters from coast to coast slammed shut with a report like sawed-off 10-gauge.Never let it be said though, that there is something less relentless than a liberal with a bad idea.  I doubt that a full day went by before a little light bulb (a dim one, to be certain, but a light bulb nonetheless) lit up over their collective heads.

“If we can’t strip them of their guns,” they cackled, “we’ll bugger about with their ammunition!”  No doubt, they then spent the rest of the day marveling at their towering intellect.

The problem with buffoonery, though, is that it’s rarely original.  This is no exception.

The banned wagon

The problem that inevitably comes up when you take to the idea that banning something will make it go away (something I like to refer to as “hopping on the banned wagon“) is that it just plain doesn’t work.  There really isn’t any more in-depth explanation than that.  Banning things has never made them disappear in the past, so why should anyone think this should be any different?

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Wasn’t it Einstein who once said that insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?”

Anti-gun extremists, however, seem to have missed that little piece of wisdom.  They continue to wail, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that banning guns will somehow magically eliminate all sorts of social ills, from drive-by shootings to domestic violence to global warming (don’t laugh; I’ve actually heard that one — but that’s another article).

Murder, rape, robbery, assault, carjacking.  Can you guess what all these things have in common?  If you guessed that all of them are a) banned, and b) still happening every day, you can give yourself a Scooby Snack.   Clearly, banning something is nothing but a placebo.  So why is this dearly departed equine still being abused in such a fashion?

Hasn’t done anything yet, has it?

The state of California already has a law on its books saying that firearms have to incorporate “microstamping” technology — basically, firing pins that imprint traceable information on fired cases. The Brady Campaign wants to turn that into a national mandate. A group called Ammunition Accountability (whom I’ve grumbled about before) plans to go beyond even that tomfoolery:  they want every bullet laser-engraved with serial numbers at the factory, so they can be traced to purchasers in registered transactions. The bad news is that, so far, 18 states have begun dabbling in this colossal exercise in self-deception.  The good news is that none of them have passed it into law.  Yet.

And, of course, some folks just want to ban ammunition altogether and convert firearms into decorative wall-hangings.  You’ve probably figured out that there are a few problems with these schemes.

Just forget, for a minute, what it will cost to redesign all existing gun models and the — something like 270 million — non-compliant guns already in circulation.  Also forget that some of the people who have those 270 million guns might not be in any hurry to go along with this little scheme.  Let’s hit ourselves in the heads with hammers until we can imagine that, somehow, this harebrained plan actually got carried out.  Let’s pretend for just a minute.

There’s still one big, ugly bear turd in the buttermilk here: criminals aren’t exactly in the habit of buying their guns and ammo on the up-and-up.  How long do you think it’ll be before you see a black market for microstamping guns or laser-etched ammo?  So much for encoded data being useful.

But hey, why stop there?  Why go through all that black market bother when you can just bugger up the technology in the comfort of your own home?  It’s not like it’s hard to do.  A fellow by the name of George G. Krivosta, at New York’s Suffolk County Crime Laboratory, managed to wreck the whole parade in about a minute (yes, ONE minute) with nothing but a honing stone.  Personally, I would have used a rock from the garden, but he managed to make the point: an untrained monkey could pull this off.

But, say the gun-grabbers, you could fix that if all ammo had serial numbers and was registered!

Um, no.  All a criminal has to do is lay his hands on a few of the billions (yes, that’s billions, with a “B”) of rounds of ammo already floating around that predates the whole bullet-serial-number thing.  Maybe they steal it, maybe they but it on the black market; the point is that they can and will get it.  Try this out for size: maybe they’ll just decide to roll their own, using any one of the hundreds of models of presses currently available at your local gun shop or hardware store.

So what does all that mean?  Put simply: any ammunition control scheme would have to outright ban handloading and the possession of pre-law ammunition (like a failed bill in PA tried to do). ANY ammo control scheme, to be effective, inevitably edges toward a ban on ammunition.  It’s the nature of the beast.

So here we are with the big question:  How effective would banning ammo be?

That gets back to what I said in the first place, about this buffoonery not being original.  These clowns aren’t the first ones to cough up this ideological hariball and they’re not going to be the first ones to get hit with the reality that banning something and getting rid of it aren’t just not in the same ballpark, they’re not even in the same area code.

Yes, severe restrictions or an outright ban on ammo would change things.  Recreational shooting would suffer, if not be wiped out altogether.  Law-abiding folk would either give up altogether or else stash their guns and ammo away and fly under the radar… not unlike literally thousands of gun owners in my native Canada.

But what about the ones who supposedly concern the government — criminals, terrorists and political opponents of the powers-that-be?  Are they going to feel the pinch, at all?  Don’t hold your breath. Criminals, terrorists and other scumbags don’t need a whole lot of ammo to do what they do; hell, some of them only need box cutters. And you can bet the farm that those who are politically motivated already have stockpiles of ammo to last for, at least, decades. And none of the three categories have any qualms about going outside the law for what they want.

And it’s not like making ammo is hard. Just ask the Israelis about the Ayalon Institute. That’s the name of the ad hoc factory where Israeli guerrillas cranked out some 40,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition per day, to feed the submachine guns they made in another facility, for their fight against British authorities. It was built underground, with a laundry overhead to act as a cover.  If they’d been caught, they would have been executed.  They did it anyway.

Taking that cue, the clever folks currently building meth labs and submarines to smuggle cocaine could easily knock off enough rounds to feed the black market appetite for ammo. Especially in a country where handloading is a hobby and equipment is already available damn near everyplace. It would be simple. That is assuming that unlike other places — say, Jamaica — enough couldn’t be stolen from military and law-enforcement channels to satisfy demand.  Assuming.

And that’s assuming a total ban. All tight restrictions would mean, would be that recreational shooters use registered rounds and scum stick with black-market stuff.

Remember that I mentioned meth labs and coke smugglers? Decades after outlawing drugs, what have we done, other than drive the drug trade underground and make it violent and corrosive?  Not much. Prohibitions make defiance, not compliance. There’s no reason at all to think that controlling ammo will be more effective than “controls” on anything else that rubs some bunch of control freaks or another the wrong way. People will find ways around any ban.  Especially criminals, who are the least likely to obey any law, and who authorities are supposedly most concerned about.

If you think illicit drug deals have turned dangerous and socially disruptive, just wait until the underground trade is in weapons and ammunition kicks in.

And it will.

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