Anti-Gun AGs Take Aim at Lake City Ammo

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

When the New York Times ran its hit piece on the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant a couple of months ago, it was easy to see that it was the opening salvo in a new attack on our right to keep and bear arms. As I said at the time, I’ve been covering 2A issues long enough to recognize the pattern:  a major media outlet “uncovers” something it portrays as a problem, and then anti-gun politicians and gun control groups start demanding action be taken. The first response from gun-controlling politicians came just a few days later when several members of Congress penned a letter to the Secretary of the Army demanding answers about why a civilian contractor is running the operation, and why it’s allowed to sell some of the ammunition it produces on the civilian market.


That apparently didn’t have the public impact that anti-gunners were hoping for, so now Round Two is underway. This time it’s New York Attorney General Letitia James and nineteen of her Democrat colleagues who are asking questions… not of the Army this go-round, but of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. James and the other AGs sent a press release masquerading as a letter to the director of the office “to express concern about recent reports that billions of rounds of military-grade ammunition manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant have been sold on the commercial market,” but it sounds like their bigger issue is that 5.56 ammunition and the guns that are chambered to shoot that caliber are available in gun shops across the country.

Ammunition from Lake City is manufactured for military use and does not belong in our communities. Federal courts have repeatedly noted the military nature of 5.56-millimeter rounds, which are used in militaryissued rifles, such as the M-16. Military-style weapons – and the ammunition specifically manufactured for them – should be limited to military use. Even if military-grade ammunition were appropriate for the civilian market, its sale to private parties should not be subsidized by taxpayer dollars.


I’d say it’s actually the other way around. The reason why Olin Winchester and the Department of Defense worked out an agreement allowing the company to sell ammo produced at Lake City is to ensure that it can keep the production lines humming, so when the military needs more rounds the factory doesn’t have to suddenly hire and train a huge group of new workers to keep the ammo flowing. If the terms of the contract changed and commercial sales were forbidden going forward, the cost of supplying the military with Lake City ammo would increase.

It would also put a crimp in the commercial market, and that is what the gun control lobby is aiming for.

In the short term, we ask your Office to investigate the contracting and manufacturing practices that led to so many billions of military-grade rounds being sold into our communities, and to issue a public report with recommendations about how to end the diversion of military ammunition into civilian hands. In the long term, we ask the White House to ensure that future production contracts prohibit the sale of military weapons and ammunition to civilians.

I’d say the White House is a little more concerned with the DoD debacle involving Secretary Lloyd Austin at the moment, though I suppose they could always try to use this as a distraction. Even if we don’t see an immediate response from Biden’s gun control office, don’t expect this manufactured controversy to go away anytime soon. Gun control is going to play a big role in Biden’s re-election campaign, and I suspect that he’ll make Lake City’s sales to the commercial market an issue at some point on the campaign trail.



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