Activist Uses Russian Ammo Sanctions To Push For Background Checks

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

I don’t generally write up stories for every dumb tweet sent by a gun control supporter, but I ran across a thread from Parkland dad Fred Guttenberg on Tuesday night that still has me scratching my head. The ostensible reason for the thread stems from the Biden administration’s new sanctions on imports of Russian-made firearms and ammunition, but it quickly derailed into gun control word salad.

Okay, so far nothing amiss. In fact, I’d imagine even some gun owners aren’t aware of the fact that Russian-made steel-cased ammo represents about one-third of the centerfire rifle ammunition market. However, Guttenberg’s followup tweets simply went off the rails.

What on earth is Guttenberg talking about here? It’s true that no background check is required for ammunition purchases, and frankly, the NICS system couldn’t handle all of the requests that would come in if every box of ammo could only be sold after a federal background check was conducted. There are literally billions of rounds of ammunition purchased by gun owners each year, and NICS was never designed to accommodate the hundreds of millions of additional background checks that it would have to run if such a requirement were in place.

But still, Guttenberg wants federal background checks on ammunition. I don’t agree, I think it’s silly, but I can at least understand what he’s saying there.

Why did he bring up David Chipman, however? In fact, I was so confused that I ended up replying to Guttenberg to try to get a better understanding of what exactly he was getting at.

Okay then. So… why mention Chipman at all, other than to issue (yet another) call to action for gun control supporters to demand his confirmation and motivating them to do so by insinuating that Chipman could somehow institute a universal background check process for ammunition purchases?

I know that Fred Guttenberg doesn’t want my sympathy, but I do indeed sympathize with his loss. As a father of five, I can only imagine the heartache and loss he feels every day after his daughter was senselessly murdered in the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. And I know he won’t believe this, but the very gun owners that Guttenberg regularly attacks and demonizes actually want the same thing that he does; a safer society with less violence. We do, however, clearly disagree on how to get there, and frankly, Guttenberg’s tweet threat indicates that he’s less concerned with an actual workable strategy than he is blindly promoting an anti-gun ideology.

As for Guttenberg’s demand for background checks on ammunition sales, let’s look at how well that’s working out in one of the very few states that’s implemented such a law. In 2019, California began requiring background checks for all ammunition purchases, as well as banning residents from purchasing ammo out-of-state and bringing it in to California. In the first full year that the law was on the books and enforced in the state, homicides rose by by more than 30%; the biggest one-year increase in state history.

Now, to be fair, homicides soared in many other states as well, but if California’s gun control laws were all that supporters claim they are, shouldn’t we have seen at least a much smaller increase than the national average? Instead, the Wall Street Journal reported that the average increase in homicides last year in 36 of the 50 biggest cities was about 24%. The homicide rate in the other 14 big cities was lower than that, which means that California actually outpaced the rise in murders across the country.

That tells me that ammunition background checks aren’t the “commonsense gun safety reform” that activists claim they are (there’s also the question of constitutionality, as California’s law is the subject of a federal lawsuit slowly making its way to the Supreme Court). Not that any of this will actually have an impact on committed gun control ideologues, but for those of us who aren’t convinced that we can become a safer society by banning and criminalizing our civil rights, the facts still matter, and they aren’t in the gun control lobby’s favor.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET