NRA Explore
APPEARS IN News

Federal Ammunition Sales Regulation: A Proven Failure

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Federal Ammunition Sales Regulation: A Proven Failure

Recent calls for federal regulations and restrictions on ammunition sales ignore the failure of such laws in the past. They also ignore the impracticality of imposing and enforcing similar controls in today's huge ammunition market. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that 10-12 billion rounds of ammunition are produced domestically each year, while billions more are imported.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 required federal licensing for all ammunition dealers, and required that a record be kept on all handgun ammunition sales by retailers—including the popular .22 rimfire cartridges. The requirements proved to be such a heavy burden on retailers that in 1982, Congress removed .22 caliber rimfire ammunition from the record-keeping requirement.

Even with that change, the value of ammunition sales licensing and record keeping was doubted by many, including the nation's top firearms law enforcement officials. In 1984, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that ammunition dealer licensing "was not necessary to facilitate legitimate Federal law enforcement interests."1 In 1986, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supported eliminating the record keeping requirement: "The Bureau and the [Treasury] Department have recognized that current recordkeeping requirements for ammunition have no substantial law enforcement value."2 As a result, the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 repealed the ammunition restrictions, with little opposition despite heated debate over other provisions of the bill.

More recently, anti-gun politicians have called for bans or restrictions on online or mail order ammunition sales. But limiting the ability of law-abiding gun owners to purchase ammunition online or through catalogs will not prevent any criminal from purchasing ammunition from a local retailer. A box or case of ammunition is the same if it is bought from a local gun store, a big box retailer, or an online seller. And as with sales of other regulated products, online retailers take practical measures to verify the age of shoppers—usually by requiring a copy of the buyer's driver's license and requiring an adult signature for delivery of the package.

Finally, limiting the quantity of ammunition a gun owner may purchase online or by mail will only affect the law-abiding. Criminals typically fire only small quantities of ammunition during attacks. Leading criminologist Gary Kleck describes numerous studies showing that armed assaults usually involve either no shots or only a few shots fired, noting that "Even in a sample of gun attacks on armed police officers, where the incidents are more likely to be mutual combat gunfights with many shots fired, the suspects fired an average of only 3.7 times."3

In contrast, it is not at all unusual for top pistol, rifle and shotgun competitors to fire tens of thousands of rounds per year. Law-abiding competitive and recreational shooters regularly buy ammunition in bulk, saving money on the large quantities of ammunition they need to improve and maintain their skills.

Even in the international arena, the United States recognizes the fundamental problems inherent in regulating ammunition. As the top U.S. negotiator at U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty put it: "Ammunition is a fundamentally different commodity than everything else we have discussed … It is fungible, consumable, reloadable, and cannot be marked in any practical way that would permit it to be tracked or traced. Any practical proposal for ammunition would need to consider the significant burdens associated with licensing, authorizations, and recordkeeping for ammunition that is produced and transferred in the billions of rounds per year."4 That statement holds just as true for recently proposed domestic controls.

1. Federal Firearms Owners Protection Act, S. Rept. 98-583, Aug. 6, 1984.

2. Legislation To Modify the 1968 Gun Control Act, Hearing Report, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, October 38, 30, Nov. 8, 1985, and February 19 and 27, 1986. The BATF was an agency of the Treasury Department until 2003.

3. Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns 123 (1997).

3. UN arms trade treaty shouldn't regulate ammunition, The Hill, July 10, 2012 (http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/un-treaties/236969-us-says-un-arms-trade-treaty-shouldnt-cover-ammunition)

IN THIS ARTICLE
Ammunition ammunition sales
TRENDING NOW

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

“F” Stands for Fail: Georgia College Instructor Boots Uniformed Cop, Gets Lectured in Return

Colleges usually take great pride in proclaiming their “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” but simply wearing a tool of his ...

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Begins

The 2016 presidential campaign is now officially underway, with the completion of the Iowa caucuses last Monday evening. ...

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bill Aimed at Ending Operation Choke Point Passes House

On Thursday, a bi-partisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 766, the ‘‘Financial Institution Customer ...

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fourth Circuit Requires “Strict Scrutiny” for Maryland Gun and Magazine Ban

It hasn’t been a good week for Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, would-be contender for President of ...

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Europeans Discover Virtues of Armed Self-defense as EU Bureaucrats Seek New Gun Controls

At the same time the European Union bureaucrats in Brussels are trying to foist further gun controls on ...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Anti-Gun lawmakers Introduce Gun Confiscation Bill in Georgia

With a complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental rights of Georgia residents, state Representative Mary ...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

South Carolina: NRA-Endorsed Self-Defense Legislation Passes Committee

Yesterday,  H. 4703 was favorably reported out of the House Judiciary Committee.  This critical self-defense legislation had no opposition ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

California: A Champion of Freedom, Remembered

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Espanola Jackson, lead plaintiff in the NRA supported case of Jackson v. San Francisco.  

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 ...

Take Action  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Michael Bloomberg is ALL IN to strip away your Second Amendment Rights! Are you ALL IN to make sure he doesn't succeed?!

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is in a spending freefall attacking our gun rights all across the U.S., on multiple ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.