Old and busted: Gun control. New hotness: Ammo control

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Aside from a couple of executive orders, Joe Biden’s plans to pass major gun control legislation such as the confiscation of scary-looking rifles seems to be going nowhere fast at the moment. There might be something on background checks in the works, but that seems to be about it. But that doesn’t mean that gun-grabbing enthusiasts around the various states aren’t still hatching plans. As our Bearing Arms colleague Tom Knighton points out this week, there is a movement afoot in Flordia to introduce “ammo control” legislation. One idea is to impose a massive tax on ammunition, as per an old Chris Rock comedy routine that Tom flashes back to. Another scheme would require background checks for the purchase of ammunition. The bill is named after Jaime Guttenberg, who was killed during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But as Knighton points out, none of the measures under discussion would have impacted that event and would be unlikely to act as a deterrent to future criminals.

Of course, the idea here is that ammo control will somehow stop violent crime.

What’s not mentioned is how Guttenberg’s daughter was killed by a guy who passed his background check because the sheriff’s office didn’t bother to arrest him on the plethora of domestic violence calls they responded to. He would have passed a background check for ammo as well.

Nor is there any acknowledgment that if you try to regulate ammo, criminals will just find a different source for it. Either they’ll get straw buyers–which will be even easier to pull off since ammo isn’t serialized and it’s consumable anyway–to obtain it for them.

That’s all true. The sale of ammunition is controlled, but the individual rounds are not serialized or even very easy to track once removed from the packaging. Tracking an actual firearm is at least somewhat more manageable. Also, demanding background checks doesn’t do anything to impede either the people who are able to pass them (such as the maniacal Parkland shooter) or the career criminals who are responsible for the vast majority of shootings and buy their hardware on the black or gray markets.

Placing a massive tax on ammunition may slow down the illegal sale of ammunition if straw purchasers have to pass on the cost of the tax, but you’re primarily hitting the wallets of legal, law-abiding gun owners more than anything else. The same rule applies to further restrictions on the legal purchase of the firearms themselves.

Of course, I get the sense that for far too many liberals pushing these gun-grabbing activities, having a negative impact on law-abiding gun owners probably isn’t seen as a negative. In fact, for at least some of them, that’s probably more of a feature than a bug. They’ve been steeped in these Second Amendment battles for so long that anyone who supports gun rights is perceived as being automatically a conservative and therefore “the enemy.” It’s a classic case of “owning the cons” (as opposed to “owning the libs”). Even if all of their most cherished gun control measures were passed into law and crime didn’t decrease one bit they would still be satisfied with a job well done.

But just in case, as we say every time a Democrat is elected, you might want to consider going out and stocking up on ammunition as a precaution. And based on the sales figures being reported by gun shops around the country, plenty of you are doing just that already.