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With something like 280 million guns already floating around out there in the country, laws to make it a little harder to buy a new one wouldn't be as effective as something else that might --- ammunition control.

Without ammo, a gun is just a paperweight.

And unlike guns, ammo has a short shelf life, as Marc Ambinder points out in "Guns Need Food. Starve Them"

Ammunition degrades because the gunpower inside of it does not last forever in the compressed state that it lives. The accuracy of a bullet declines slowly over time. Heat is especially bad for ammunition of all types. The more times you chamber a round, the likelier it will degrade.  For most people, the decline in accuracy is mitigated somewhat by the fact that they never use their firearms for self-defense purposes.  But it really can be a problem in the long-run. And that's why ammo manufacturers are even more profitable than gun manufacturers.
Exempt ammo that is used strictly for hunting and sport shooting.
Let's put aside the cartridges used for hunting and sporting. Those are easily identifiable. We can exclude them from this exercise.
Then ban online ammo sales sites like this one.

Require that anyone who purchases such ammo must undergo the same criteria as is required to buy a gun. That makes it more difficult for someone who is not legally allowed to buy a gun to steal one or pick one up at a gun show and then go buy ammo for it.

And let's ban high-capacity clips.

I would add a tax on ammunition sufficient to discourage anyone from hoarding large stockpiles.

Originally posted to quaoar on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  And just to be clear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am not suggesting that there should not be further restrictions on firearms -- just that controlling ammo might be more effective.

  •  I might agree but shooters seem to not care (0+ / 0-)

    if they've run up a large bill to their credit card company before they go on their suicidal rampage.  They're planning on either dying or being wards of the state for the rest of their lives.

    I like the idea, but taxes alone won't deter the determined.

  •  I favor banning high-capacity magazines... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    ...but let's be clear on what this will mean and what it won't:

    • Last time when 10-shot magazines were mandated, sale of any such magazines made before the ban were exempted. So, such an exemption would have to be left out of a new law, and that might present trouble in the courts. I am not saying not to do it, but just warning of the problems involved.

    • Reloaders can make a lot of cartridges in any caliber they wish. If you ban certain calibers, you will have to figure a way to deal with reloaders, too, and that could be well-nigh impossible.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:30:19 PM PST

  •  Many think this is a great idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quaoar, VClib
    I would add a tax on ammunition sufficient to discourage anyone from hoarding large stockpiles.
    Make it high enough and say "Hello Black Market".

    Affects everything for sale, including alcohol and tobacco. Raise the tax to x% and the people evade the regulated market to get what they want.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:33:25 PM PST

    •  True (0+ / 0-)

      But cigarettes are heavily taxed and there isn't a black market for them. And even if a black market develops, it still makes it harder for folks to acquire, which is the whole idea.

      Some kid who wants to grab his father's gun and go shoot up a mall would have a much harder time acquiring the ammo to do it.

      •  For the record... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I agree with your points but there most definitely is a black market for cigarettes.

        Smuggling cigarettes from low-tax states to high-tax states, as well as into Canada, is a major criminal enterprise. The differential between the highest and lowest state taxes is around $4/pack. Ergo, for every carton of cigs I can smuggle, for example, out of Virginia and illegally resell in New York I can clear $40. Translate that into a truckload of cigs and you're talking many thousands of dollars.

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:28:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  quaoar - there is a huge black market in NYC (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        With cigarettes costing $12/pack retail and that same cigarette can be purchased internationally for $2/pack the spread created a black market bonanza. While illegal, it's a normal market reaction to any situation where government tries to use price to change behavior and the spread is wide enough for high risk takers to be a lower cost source.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:48:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  True ammo s/b very hard to get. (0+ / 0-)

    But we can't control their guns, only they can control their guns.

    They need to be held to the KEEP part of the 2nd amendment.

    Felony - failure to secure deadly weapon

    Accessory  -  automatic to any crime committed with a gun traceable to you

    Automatic intent to commit murder for possession of any gun without a serial number.

    Well, unless the gun was pried from your cold dead hands, then your estate pays all damages.

    Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

    by 88kathy on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:41:02 PM PST

  •  Nothing in the constitution guarantees the right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to chamber bullets in an automatic rifle.  I agree, make bullets expensive, taxed and regulated.  Require all rounds to be micro-chiped so that any bullet shot can be tracked back to the original owner.  Also, outlaw all Internet sale of firearms and ammo.  It should also be illegal to sell person-to-person.  Also have a no-questions gun return policy where any gun can be turned in to authorities and melted down for scrap.  One might shoot a round and record the result so if any guns have been used in a murder, the case could be closed.  

    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

    by dangoch on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:47:01 PM PST

    •  I also think control of ammo is critical and the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quaoar, moonbatlulu

      most effective way to control gun use.  And controlling shelf-life is a good way to do that along with increasing taxes on ammo and requiring background checks (and licensing) to buy it.   See here.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:20:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What does it mean to "keep" and "bear"? (0+ / 0-)

      Surely both words don't mean the same thing, or they wouldn't be side by side separated with "and." I have a hunch that it represents a right to "have" and "use." If that is the case then ammunition controls would find themselves subject to the same legal scrutiny as gun control. Possible, but with limits.

      A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by notrouble on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:35:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You don't actually need to microchip anything, (0+ / 0-)

      just to require manufacturers to keep a record of rifling patterns on guns they sell.

  •  Let's stop calling it 'gun control' (0+ / 0-)

    We should follow Jonathan Alter's lead ( Call it "Sensible Gun Safety Laws". As he said, who in their right mind (hold the snark please) would argue against that? We must learn to repackage our message and stop using terms that give the other side a wedge.

  •  This Issue Deserves The OWS Drum Circle Guys (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently it makes sense to certain people in a way nobody else will ever grasp.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:34:59 PM PST

  •  I would imagine that there are tens of billions (0+ / 0-)

    rounds of ammo already on the market, if not hundreds of billions. Some people are still using surplus ammo from WWII.  People can easily reload and produce their own ammunition much easier than producing any gun.  A looming ban would result in massive amounts gun owners stockpiling large quantities. I think it could possibly create a new black market for ammunition, much like the black market for drugs.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:46:45 PM PST

  •  Ban large-capacity ammo clips: while the perp (0+ / 0-)

    reloads, that's when we get him.

    •  Most day in and day out killings / wounding (0+ / 0-)

      do not involve reloading .

      In the case of the school shooting that just happened ,
      he had two back up guns , attacking him when he might be reloading would be a bad idea because he had two loaded pistols .

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:44:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's effective in the UK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the UK you can only buy ammo on production of a legal gun permit, making it very difficult for gang members etc to get of it. So much so that apparently some gangsters have to resort to making their own. It's well recognized as major reason why the UK's gun homicide rates are SO much lower than in the US.

  •  Has it ever been done successfully (0+ / 0-)

    anywhere in the world ?

    If someone wants to kill another ,
    they only need a few rounds .

    If you "control" ammo and people still have access to a few rounds ,
    have you stopped them from killing / wounding ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:41:06 PM PST

  •  ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Paulie200

    Ive shot several hundred rounds of 1942 vintage 8mm ammo. Not so much as a single misfire.
    .45 acp date stamped 1943.
    Functioned perfectly in a Remington Rand issued in 1942.
    Had been stored in a variety of attics over 40-50 years.
    The oldest US ammo I've fired in Frankford Aresenal 1930 30-06. Worked fine and grouped 2" from an 03 Springfield. 8MM Mauser, German, made in August 1939 did 3" in a Yugo Mauser.
    Fired a box of US GI steel case 45ACP ball ammo that came home from Korea (1954 or so)and wasn't particularly well cared for. If anything the ammo was a little hotter than I thought it would be.

    I've fired hundreds of rounds of 50's surplus 8mm with maybe 2 that I had to hit the primer twice.

    I inherited an M1 Carbine from my father, who brought it back from the Korean War along with a pile of WW2 surplus ammo.
    It worked fine.
    I stopped shooting it only because it was WW2 and new stuff is easily obtainable, and I wanted to keep the WW2 stuff.
    If you have WW2 stuff and it is in good shape and you want to shoot it I say go for it.
    I have personally shot .45 ACP and 30-06 ammo dated from WWI. (1917)
    And .22 RF ammo from the mid 1930's.
    Also German 9mm Luger & 8mm Mauser, and American 30-06, 30 Carbine, and .45 ACP from WWII.

    As several folks have already noted, if ammo is properly stored, away from wild temperature swings, high heat, and humidity, it could last for century's.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:53:25 PM PST

  •  Any successful approach needs to target (0+ / 0-)

    ...a genuine choke point.

    As much common sense as it makes to target large-capacity magazines, are they not also the easiest to manufacture (or smuggle) illegally?

    And how hard would it be to manufacture bootleg ammunition?

    The hardest thing to manufacture, conceal, transport, and import illegally is the weapon itself.  Doesn't that make it the most effective target for ban or regulation?

    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:01:52 PM PST

  •  There are already hordes (0+ / 0-)

    of ammo out there in private hands.  As news stories from today indicate, sales are through the roof again.  Every time talk of this kind of control starts, people stock up even more.  I don't think ammo controls are likely to be passed - seems almost counterproductive to propose them.

    Any kind of ban is unlikely to result in people needing to turn in their guns or their ammo - not politically feasible.  Many do not know this, but machine guns that existed prior to being banned were not required to be turned in.  There are thousands still in private hands, and you can buy one as a private citizen (with no particular need for a machine gun) if you meet the enhanced requirements.

  •  Freedom Group ammo sales (0+ / 0-)

    same company that owns Bushmaster. Could not fin current sales numbers but in 2010 they sold 2.8 BILLION rounds.

    W H A T    T H E    F U C K??

    mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

    by wewantthetruth on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:34:43 PM PST

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