Skip to comments.Gun Control: Officials Set Sights On Ammunition Background Checks
Posted on 02/01/2013 11:14:36 AM PST by Iron Munro
Without bullets, slugs or shot, a gun is no deadlier than a steel club. But the question of how to keep firearms' lethal projectiles out of the wrong hands has historically been a low priority for regulators more concerned about the guns themselves.
That could be changing. As the nation debates competing proposals to reduce gun violence, some law enforcement leaders and elected officials argue it's time to examine an area they say is especially devoid of common sense regulation: the buying and selling of ammunition.
They say there is an obvious inconsistency in federal and state law. While it is illegal for certain classes of potentially dangerous people such as felons and the mentally ill to possess bullets, nobody's checking. Ammunition buyers don't have to undergo the background checks required of gun purchasers.
"My view of it is that it becomes, in essence, a meaningless law," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, referring to the largely unenforced provisions of federal and Florida law that bar convicted criminals from possessing ammunition. "It's a law without any teeth."
A background check for ammunition as well as guns, Gualtieri said, "makes all the sense in the world to me."
Gualtieri is an elected Republican, but his rationale is similar to that of a prominent politician from the other side of the political spectrum. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, has introduced a bill that would establish universal background checks for ammunition purchases. The law would also increase record-keeping obligations for ammo sales and require retailers to notify the police when one person buys more than 1,000 rounds.
Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times by phone Thursday from Washington, Blumenthal said his proposed legislation was rooted in the concerns expressed to him by police in his home state.
"My bill originated from my conversations with law enforcement officials," Blumenthal said. "They told me, 'Here's a glaring gap in the law.' " Such checks, he added, are "common sense, and common ground for anyone who wants to enforce the existing laws."
Hillsborough County sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski said any proposal to expand background checks to include ammunition should be scrutinized to determine that it "doesn't, in fairness, overburden some of the businesses" that sell most of their merchandise to law-abiding customers.
But in light of the existing system's shortcomings, she said, ammo background checks are "something we need to look into."
The massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., might not have been affected by tighter ammo regulation. The 20-year-old gunman at Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza, had no criminal record. But in Pinellas County, another chilling case demonstrates the existing laws' shortcomings.
Benjamin Bishop, an Oldsmar 18-year-old, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say he killed his mother and her boyfriend in October with a shotgun. Bishop had a criminal record, so he had to have a friend buy the gun for him, detectives say.
The ammunition was a different story. In a jailhouse interview with the Times, Bishop said he twice went to an Oldsmar gun store to buy rounds of ammo for the weapon. He said he was struck by the ease of the transaction compared to the challenges he faced getting a gun.
"I guess you're allowed to buy ammunition without a background check or anything," he said. Bishop's assessment: "It was pretty easy."
While the crime Bishop is charged with committing is unusual, his casual bypassing of ammo restrictions might not be. A 2006 study that tracked ammunition in Los Angeles found that "prohibited possessors" bought more than 10,000 rounds of ammo at legitimate retailers over a six-month period. The study found that 2.6 percent of buyers, on average more than one in 50 people, was barred by law from owning ammunition.
"I'm not interested in entering a debate about banning firearms. It's not going to happen," said George Tita, the study's lead author and a criminology professor at the University of California, Irvine. However, he said, "We have an obligation to keep the firearms, ammunition whatever anyone is not legally able to possess out of possession."
Not everyone agrees that background checks are the sensible way to accomplish that goal.
"It's like saying you can't buy gasoline unless you have a car," said Marion Hammer, executive director of the National Rifle Association's state lobbying arm, the Unified Sportsmen of Florida. Hammer said requiring background checks for ammunition would be redundant, because the law already prohibits certain people from owning ammo.
She said requiring background checks for both ammunition as well as guns would be a strain for the state's law enforcement computer systems.
"We have enough laws on the books already without new laws and without overloading the system for ammunition," she said. She continued, facetiously, "Why don't we have background checks on people who want to buy steak knives?"
In Florida, gun background checks are processed through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Agency spokesman Keith Kameg said that each check takes about a minute. The total time it takes a retailer to call the department and receive a response, start to finish, is about four minutes, he said.
"It's a very simple law enforcement tool," Blumenthal said. "The burden is minimal to the government, and the gun shops, and to the individual."
A never ending supply of Libtards wanting to become the Ammo Salesman of the Year.
Ya...I’ve been doing background checks on ammo.....
...and there isn’t any.....
Guns were the head fake, go for the ammo now. Ammo availability is so bad now, any serious talk about doing this will only worse the supply situation. You can’t even reload very easily right now. Components are scarce too.
Target practice is where 99% of ammunition goes.
If, as the sheriff says, a law “has no teeth” who are we to blame for that and how is another law going to solve that? Why is this not used as one of the many add-on charges that prosecutors so love? You know, the ones that G. Gordon Liddy used to refer to like “felonious mopery”, etc.
Obummer just bought n millions of rounds- background check the bastard
If the gun-grabbers succeed at limiting magazine capacity, it will only be a matter of time before they will proposed limits on the amount of ammunition or reloading components that a person can possess at any one time. Get ready for a regulation defining reloading as “manufacturing”, an activity that will require a federal license. Like the FFL, the day will come when buying components will be regulated.
So, at what point is the Second so infringed that a having a Constitutional Convention could be discussed?
So will this go as far as reloading components are concerned? I have enough brass to last me a lifetime. I can mold my own bullets for handguns. I have been thinking about swaging jacketed bullets, but the investment is significant. I hope I am not driven to learning how to make primers and gun powder from scratch.
on another note, can anyone verify that the US military is now destroying their once fired .223 brass instead of selling it to public business for redistribution and reloading purposes?
But I recall that they don’t destroy the metal. They sell the scrap to the Chinese.
Back around 2009 the government set that policy but, supposedly, the directive was rescinded shortly after.
I bought a bunch of Lake City 5.56 last summer, so it would be a new policy. Since I am not in need for brass, I only casually see what is available on websites. Lately, that has been just about nothing. I buy from smaller outfits that actually sell in bulk vs. Midway, CheaperThanCrap and their likes.
Funny, nothing I've read in the 2nd Amendment reads like that...in fact, it's just the opposite.
Website fact sheet. Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS)
One pound of Unique powder, 1000 small pistol primers, 25 pounds of wheel weights, will reload 1000 rounds of 9x19mm (9mm Luger) or 38 Special ammo.
glad that I have reloaded for years. That said, the intrusion into our daily lives is rapidly approaching the ‘get a rope’ stage.
I have heard that smokeless powder tends to "decompose" slowly during long term storage. Is there any truth to that? If that is even partially true, does it also happen to assembled ammunition stored under "cool and dry" conditions?
I don't remember the exact citation but it came from a "reloading notes" section in a gun magazine. The issue came up when someone writing to the column author noticed a "fine reddish brown powder" as he was filling his powder measure from the bulk storage can. I don't recall if it was double base powder, ball, extruded, shotgun, rifle, or whatever. He did check several other cans and found the same residue.
I've also heard tails of people shooting WWI issue military ammo and most of it still functions after 100 years in storage. Is there any data available on shelf life of commercial Vs hand reloaded ammo?
PS Do you use "wheel weight" metal as is or do you alloy it with lead or bar solder?
If they do this, we’ll pick a “buy ammo day” and all of us will go out and buy a half dozen boxes of 22LR, on box at a time, and make them process the check for each one.