A Hypothetical Look at the Future of Ammunition Control in America
The United States has been the site of thousands of mass shootings. The widespread debate over gun ownership has overshadowed legitimate concerns about ammunition control, which is the regulation of both the amount of ammo that can be purchased at one time and the sale of augmented bullet types.
Following the events of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, which claimed the lives of 20 children and seven adults, gun-control activists,like March for Our Lives, have butted heads with the National Rifle Association (NRA) in recent years about laws concerning gun ownership.
According to Vox,there have been 116 people killed and 346 wounded in 98 mass shootings, collectively. In an article from the February 2013 “Numbers” issue of Buzzsaw, Pat Feeney reported that “for every 100 U.S citizens, there are nearly 90 individual firearms owned — some 270 million guns amongst the nation’s population.”
While some argue that the right to own firearms, which is backed by the 230-year-old second amendment of the U.S. Constitution, is subject to change,others argue that gun ownership should not be compromised.
Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA, said that the right to own firearms is not something that should be revoked from the American people.
“There is no reason to over-regulate law-abiding gun owners. If law enforcement wants to reduce crime, they should focus on the criminals who break laws – not the people who follow them,” Hunter said. “The Supreme Court has made clear that the Second Amendment is in place to protect the right of self-defense for everyday Americans.”
However, ammunition control differs from the typical gun control debate in that it reflects the laws and ordinances in place to regulate the exchange of ammo, rather than ownership of firearms in general.
Laws concerning the purchase of ammunition vary from state to state. Augmented bullet types include armor piercing, full metal jacket incendiary, tracer, hollow point and more. According to Giffords Law Center, one cannot purchase bullets that contain “an explosive substance designed to explode or detonate on impact” in New York State.
Freedom Munitions, an American-based armament company, sells a single .50 caliber armor-piercing incendiary bullet (APIT) with a full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet profile or $3.64. The same bullet with FMJ sells for $2.59 per round — that’s a $1.05 difference.
If the only ammo available consisted of specialized rounds, it’s possible that it would be less cost-effective for the consumer to buy ammunition because these specialized rounds are more expensive. The starting price of bullets would become more expensive, and ammunition companies could raise the prices of other bullets which would allow them to continue to make the same profit margins as before.
Hunter said that the second amendment should not be income-selective.
“In this country, you have a right to protect yourself regardless of your income,” Hunter said. “Pricing low-income folks out of exercising that right is wrong.”
Additionally, if people were inclined to buy in fewer quantities or less often, it could\be easier to put regulations in place that would dictate how much ammo civilians are permitted to possess.
Regardless of how ammunition is regulated, it is evident that the firearms industry is a bustling one. In 2016, there were over 27 million guns sold across the United States. However, according to an article by the International Business Times, this number has since been decreasing.
Michael Cargill, the owner of Central Texas Gunworks in Austin, TX, said that raising the minimum price of augmented ammunition would only cause an increase in the prices of traditional ammunition. Thus, reestablishing a new tier system of pricing and potentially leading people to make their own, prohibition-style ammo.
“The firearms industry won’t see less customers,” Cargill said. “People can easily get the tools to make ammo, and they can shoot, and reload and reuse those spent shells to make more again.”
Politicians like Senator Richard Blumenthal have pushed for more ammunition regulation and criticized the lack of background necessary in the purchase of these goods. However, this concept remains elusive in American politics because of the heightened attention given to firearm control.
“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements that should govern firearm sales: universal background checks,” Sen. Blumenthal said in a CNSNews.com article. “The same laws that prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms also prohibit them from amassing arsenals of ammunition, with one major loophole: there are no background checks for ammunition sales to enforce the law.”
The discussion about ammunition control should prompt us to think about the implications of potential solutions to the matter at hand, specifically which of them stress individual safety and which stress individual rights.
Ethan Weisman is a first year sociology major who has a different initial thought when you say it’s “shoot your shot szn.” You can reach them at [email protected].