Following the Parkland shooting, the state of Florida was quick to enact new gun control measures. Bump stock devices were banned, a three-day waiting period for gun purchases was implemented, and the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle was changed from 18 to 21. Now there’s another suggestion floating around the state from former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But rather than concerning firearms, it focuses on ammunition sales.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Wasserman Schultz is now calling for background checks on all ammunition purchases.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, said Monday she wants a federal law that would require background checks for ammunition buyers.
“I really think it’s important to underscore that without bullets a gun is just a hunk of useless metal, and a would-be killer lacks the means to actually kill or maim,” she said.
It’s already illegal for convicted felons, domestic abusers and dangerously mentally ill people to buy firearms and ammunition. Background checks are already required for some firearms purchasers, but nothing prevents anyone from buying ammunition, without having to provide as much as a first name to the seller.
The current system allows someone to “buy as much ammunition as they want, without so much as being asked their first name, and walk out,” Wasserman Schultz said, a situation she described as “such a gaping and grave and dangerous loophole that I could not wrap my mind around it.
Wasserman Schultz’s proposal does sound good in theory. After all, if federal law prohibits felons from purchasing a firearm, and background checks are used to prevent those felons from obtaining one, why not have a background check for ammunition sales, as federal law prohibits felons from having ammo in their possession as well? One could argue that if this policy became law, a criminal who fails a background check when trying to purchase ammunition subjects him or herself to a police warrant to ensure firearms are not in their possession.
However, the proposal, of course, has its drawbacks. Not only would it be an inconvenience for law-abiding gun owners, but there are also holes in the policy idea that could be taken care of through other means.
As a matter of convenience, no gun owner wants to fill out paperwork and wait everytime they want to pick up a few rounds before heading to the shooting range. Regardless of convenience, it also hurts the wallet, as every time a licensed firearms dealer runs a background check the person looking to make the purchase must pay for that background check. In the state of Florida, a background check costs $24. Tack that on to the price of the ammunition these days and that individual is looking to have themselves a pricey outing at the range. Many Second Amendment proponents would call that an undue burden on an individual who is trying to exercise their constitutional right.
But what about the premise of the idea, that this policy would prevent felons from buying ammunition and that it could prevent further mass shootings?
As Bearing Arms has written about several times in the past, felons don’t follow the law in the first place. Criminals will often obtain their firearms illegally, meaning they would acquire the ammunition illegally as well. Also, what’s to stop someone with evil intentions who has a clean record from passing a background check, purchasing ammunition and selling it on the black market at a higher rate?
Bearing Arms has also explained on numerous occasions that several of the gun control proposals from the political left would not have prevented any of the previous mass shootings that have occurred in the country, as each mass murderer was able to pass a background check. The Las Vegas shooter cleared a background check, the Sutherland Springs mass shooter passed a background check, and the Parkland murderer passed a background check. The system is only as good as the information that’s in it, and if this policy were the law in Florida, or anywhere else, each one of those individuals would still have been able to carry out their evil plans. This fact is why the bipartisan Fix NICS legislation was part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill.
The solution to mass shootings isn’t new legislation, but reinforcing the laws that are already in place. Fixing the holes in the current system should be the top priority before anything new is tried.