Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Rumor Control--Debunking the Latest Legends

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lately, the rumor mills have been running at full capacity.  Among other things, we've heard phony tales circulating about such things as guns being banned for the elderly, ammunition with expiration dates, and a prohibition on gun and ammunition imports. This sort of scuttlebutt is nothing new, but let's try to shed some light on these dark assertions. 

"Guns to be Banned for Elderly" was the cry.  The "report" assured readers that Deputy Attorney General Designate David Ogden has circulated a draft of an executive order in which "firearms possession would be severely limited to people over 60." 

This report is bogus and, in fact, it was labeled as "satire" on the website where it first appeared.  There was an isolated case last year in which an 81-year-old Delaware woman was initially delayed in receiving approval to purchase a firearm based on her age and gender.  The delay on the approval was eventually lifted--10 days after the initial application and after significant pressure was brought to bear by NRA. 

Then, not long ago, the rumor regarding ammunition primers "expiring" resurfaced.  The rumor was that the government would require all primers in ammunition to contain something that would cause them to permanently fail after two years.  In other words, no primer = no spark = no burning gunpowder = no moving bullet = useless ammunition. 

We received hundreds of calls and letters about this during the early-Clinton panic buying period in 1993, and that was before most people had the Internet and the spread of misinformation was more limited.  There was no such proposal then, and we have not heard of any such proposal now. 

The 1993 rumor may have been a result of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's (D-NY) proposal to put a colossal tax on certain handgun ammunition.  (Senator Moynihan had the bizarre idea that ammunition was only good for a couple of years, and that his tax would quickly dry up the supply.)  In fact, properly stored ammunition remains usable for decades. 

Since the first rumors about such proposals in the early 1990s, two inventors have actually received a patent for a chemical process that would supposedly allow manufacture of primers that would go dead after a specific period of time.  But an invention doesn't actually have to work, let alone be a good idea, to get a patent--patents have been issued for such odd ideas as crank-operated pneumatic shoelaces, a "banana protective device," and the use of explosives to tenderize meat.   And it's hard to imagine anyone making or buying ammunition that's doomed to fail, without a government mandate--a mandate that no one, so far, has actually proposed. 

Additional rumors have recently been circulating about stopping gun and/or ammunition imports.  And once again, NRA and representatives of firearm importers know of no real measures proposing this, yet. 

It is important to note that the President does have broad power with respect to imports; we've obviously seen that power expressed in the 1989 and 1998 import bans on various semi-auto rifles, and the 1993 "assault pistol" import ban.  But President Obama has yet to propose any new import ban (though that would certainly not be out of the question). 

Finally, a lot of these rumors involve supposedly secret "executive orders."  Even a real executive order--a formal document reviewed by the Justice Department before the President signs it--does not have the force of law; it just serves as guidance for Cabinet officers.  The same goes for other kinds of documents, like the presidential memoranda that previous presidents used to impose import bans on various kinds of firearms. 

And it's worth mentioning that these orders and memoranda aren't secret.  President Obama's executive orders and presidential memoranda are available online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing_room/executive_orders/

In fact, all of the anti-gun memoranda by past presidents were very well publicized, because the presidents who issued them wanted to get media attention for their actions. 

Now don't take all this to mean that we underestimate our anti-gun opponents, or that we don't believe they would happily and readily seize the opportunity to adopt and enforce any of these measures.  We know full well that they would.  Rather, our message is this:  Rumors abound, so don't believe everything you read.  If it's a legitimate concern, rest assured your NRA-ILA will promptly address it and will give you the straight story.
TRENDING NOW

News  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Federal Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Ban

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit issued a ruling in the case of Duncan v. Becerra on Tuesday upholding a lower court’s decision to suspend enforcement of California’s restriction on the possession of magazines ...

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue

News  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue

Shortly before 4:00am last Saturday morning, the two week long Third Review Conference (RevCon3) on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All ...

Washington: Seattle City Council Passes Ordinance Making Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Monday, July 16, 2018

Washington: Seattle City Council Passes Ordinance Making Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

On July 9th, the Seattle City Council passed a mandatory firearm storage ordinance to restrict the self-defense rights of Seattle residents.  The ordinance, if signed by Mayor Jenny Durkan, will impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as ...

Justice Scalia Made Clear the Second Amendment and Heller Prohibit “Assault Weapon” Bans

News  

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

Friday, July 13, 2018

Justice Scalia Made Clear the Second Amendment and Heller Prohibit “Assault Weapon” Bans

On July 9, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) offered the following ham-handed statement in an attempted attack on President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh is a true Second Amendment radical. ...

Illinois: Governor Signs Two Gun Control Bills

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Illinois: Governor Signs Two Gun Control Bills

On July 17th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 3256 into law.

California DOJ Withdraws Proposed Regulations Expanding Application of “Assault Weapon” Definitions

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

California DOJ Withdraws Proposed Regulations Expanding Application of “Assault Weapon” Definitions

On Monday, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms (“CA DOJ”) officially withdrew the proposed regulations that would have expanded the improperly adopted “assault weapon” definitions, to apply in all circumstances. This withdrawal comes ...

Delaware: Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Sunday Deer Hunting

Hunting  

Friday, July 13, 2018

Delaware: Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Sunday Deer Hunting

On July 11th, Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 198 into law to expand hunting opportunities in Delaware by eliminating the prohibition against hunting for deer on Sundays and allowing for the harvesting of deer on Sundays ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Files Comments in Support of Trump Administration’s Export Reform Effort

News  

Friday, July 13, 2018

NRA Files Comments in Support of Trump Administration’s Export Reform Effort

On Monday, the public comment period closed on a pair of rulemakings that could finally free American gun owners and small businesses from being trapped in a minefield of federal regulations designed for exporters of ...

NRA Endorses State Senator Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin

News  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

NRA Endorses State Senator Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin

FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to announce its endorsement of state Sen. Leah Vukmir in the 2018 Republican U.S. Senate Primary in Wisconsin.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.