TinFoilHat

The “conventional wisdom” among some of the more conspiratorial members of our wide-ranging shooting fraternity is that the federal government is “buying up all the ammunition,” a fear-mongering claim furthered by some not as interested in getting the details correct as they are drawing page views.

Conservative websites like Newsmax and Breitbart published stories last week implicitly asserting that claim. Newsmax quoted a gun advocate, who said the government is violating Second Amendment rights “via the back door by limiting the ammo available to owners.”

The story went viral, and the Postal Service decided it had to respond.

USPS has a law enforcement component. That component purchases ammunition sometimes. End of story, said agency spokesman Dave Partenheimer.

“The U.S. Postal Service is not hoarding ammunition,” Partenheimer said in a statement posted to the agency’s website. Instead, the Postal Service Inspection Service — a “highly specialized, professional organization, which performs primary investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system and the security of the U.S. mail” — is buying ammunition for various training and duty needs.

The reality that some refuse to acknowledge is that federal spending on ammunition has been decreasing in recent years, and that their purchases only amounted to a small fraction of the overall total.

So where is all the ammunition going?

It’s being purchased by those of us who have been shooting for years, along with hordes of new shooters, the overwhelming majority of whom have chosen ammo-hungry semi-automatic rifles and pistols.

If you want to know where the ammo is going, look no further than to the left and right of you the firing lines or ranges that seem to be getting ever more crowded.