Ammunition bans, like other gun control laws, promise to be as ineffective as most prohibitions
at link :A commonly available reloading press for manufacturing ammunition at home.
Hobbled by the Supreme Court decision in D.C. v. Heller, recognizing that individuals have a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, gun control advocates are roaming the land with virtual lightbulbs over their heads. "Ah ha," they say. "You can have your guns, but we'll control your ammunition." Well, they're not the first to think of the idea, and they won't be the first to discover that "banning"' isn't synonymous with "eliminating."
California already has a law requiring firearms to include "microstamping" technology -- basically, firing pins that imprint traceable information on fired cases. The Brady Campaign wants to turn that into a national mandate (PDF). A group called Ammunition Accountability plans to go a step beyond, laser-engraving all bullets with serial numbers at the factory that could then be traced to purchasers in registered transactions. Laws to that effect have been introduced in 18 states, though none have yet passed. And, of course, some folks just want to ban ammunition altogether and convert firearms into decorative wallhangings.
There are, as you might guess, a few problems with these schemes.
Leave aside the cost of redesigning guns with mocrostamping technology and the challenge of replacing the roughly 270 million non-compliant guns already in circulation and in the hands of people not necessarily inclined to cooperate. Let's say you get it done. There is the added problem that few criminals are prone to purchasing their guns and ammunition in legal transactions requiring them to show their identification. Purchasing either a microstamping gun or laser-etched ammunition in a black-market transaction renders the encoded data useless.
Microstamping has the added flaw of being easy to defeat by swapping out the firing pin or by scraping off the stamping elements with a file. An old knife sharpening stone was used to remove the engraving in about one minute in an experiment (PDF) conducted by George G. Krivosta, of New York's Suffolk County Crime Laboratory. Krivosta said the technique could be performed with "no special equipment or knowledge needed."
So if your hypothetical criminal who shops for the tools of his trade at Wal-Mart does knock over liquor stores with a gun registered to his name, he can defeat microstamping with a rough stone.
The information contained in laser-engraved bullets would be harder to evade -- if they were purchased in registered transactions. But criminals can use ammunition that pre-dates the requirement. They can use stolen ammunition or ammunition purchased on the black market. Or they can use handloaded ammunition made in a commonly available press produced by one of several companies.
Which means that any effective ammunition control scheme would have to ban handloading and (as a failed Pennsylvania bill did) the possession of pre-law ammunition. So any ammunition control scheme, to be effective, inevitably edges toward a ban on ammunition.
Which raises the ultimate question: How effective could an ammunition ban be?
That brings us back to my earlier comment: They're not the first to think of the idea, and they won't be the first to discover that "banning"' isn't synonymous with "eliminating."
It's not that an ammunition ban or severe restriction would have no effect -- it would change things. Recreational shooting would be severely curtailed or destroyed entirely. If you effectively ban shooting, people won't shoot where you can hear or see them. They'll keep their guns and ammo cached out of sight. So a harmless pastime would suffer.
Burrow Owl: Well, I suppose we can look at the bright side.
Thousands of soon-to-be unemployed machinists and chemists won't be unemployed for long if this crap makes it into law.
Hmmm.... Tax free business manufacturing a high demand product with a well established customer base. No need to worry about permits or any other nanny-statist bureaucratese.
January 30, 8:40 PM
Happy Indep: Tom said "Until we have enough numbers to take the government back"
We are LOSING numbers Tom. Now many more are going over the edge with the promises of other peoples money. Time for another revolution.
January 30, 8:35 PM
Tom: Just hit youtube sometime and search for homemade guns. There's video (at least there was last time I looked) showing folks building shotgun shells from empty CO2 cartridges, guns from pipe. If politicians think this would do anything about crime they need to be evicted from their fat government seats ASAP.
Until we have enough numbers to take the government back, to protect rights, not seek power and wealth, these schemes to return to slavery and the dependence it creates will continue.
January 30, 3:56 PM
James Gibson: The side-effects of ammunition control is even more pronounced then people can imagine. More then a decade ago we banned cop killer bullets (the teflon ones). In theory they were supposed to still be available to Police and military. But the cut in potential sales killed all production. When the gun control movement then pushed to ban black talon bullets, the Police had to pull strings to insure enough purchases would be made to keep the producers in production to fill Police demand. And when we declared war on the Taliban and AQ in 2002 the Army found it didn't have enough production capacity at its own facilities to meet the war needs. Thus they supplemented with civilian manufacturers. These manufacturers were in fact nearly decimated in the 90s by Janet Reno changing the FFL requirements, forcing many ammunition makers out of the business. Making a long story short, the Army tied up most independent production causing civilian shooters and Police to go on 6 month waiting lists for their ammunition to arrive. The Police have particularly felt the shortage. And now they want to add this to the mix.
This is why I am building a Flintlock.
January 30, 1:19 PM
pilgrim1776: As much as the phrase "SHALL NOT INFRINGE" is self-explanatory, I believe that all is lost for the once great Republic. The masses-r-asses have been so effectively dumbed-down by the government schools and the totally controlled media, that we can only fend for ourselves; if that is possible!
January 30, 12:59 PM
Charles P: I KNOW that encoding ammo will just cause criminal organizations (street gangs) to take advantage of the situation. HOW???
Some ammo companies will go out of business. They will sell to someone who is fronting for a crime organization. They then run TWO OPERATIONS, one being encoded ammo, the other secretly producing unmarked ammo which is sold on the black market. They will conceal the purchasing of supplies/machinery by running them thru the legit business. They will make so much money that they can easily handle the "expenses/losses" on the books of the legit company.
California already helps crime organizations by letting them be run by inmates (like the former crip leader did for decades- CALIFORNIA LET HIM OUT many times TO MAKE DEALS FOR The gang!!!) AND ALLOWING THEM TO BE CELEBRITIES IN Hollywood (like Snoop dogg). If California cared to stop crime, they SHOULD START IN HOLLYWOOD!!