Sorry, but ammo control not nearly as viable as some think

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Gun control isn’t working.

On some level, even anti-gunners know it’s not working, though they still like to pretend the issue is that there’s just not enough of it.


For some others, they think it’s time for something else. A recent op-ed out of Philly suggests ammo control.

I may be in the minority here, but after such a soul-shattering tragedy, I don’t necessarily want my chief law enforcement officer to channel my pain. What would reassure me is for him to be all “Not in my city” pissed. Mass shootings are essentially viral in nature, and the best antidote to an outbreak is a collective sense of standing on wartime footing. That said, Krasner kept repeating one phrase that did resonate: “Bullets don’t care.”

Not guns don’t care. Bullets don’t care.

Moreover, instead of repeating the same old gun control talking points, maybe the best thing Mayor Kenney and every other big city mayor and police chief and district attorney can do is to start an intense lobbying campaign to federally enact bullet control legislation, or to put pressure on state lawmakers to join the seven states that currently regulate bullet sales. Here in Pennsylvania, State Senators Art Haywood and John Kane, both Democrats, introduced legislation in March that would require background checks and ID requirements for purchasing ammunition. How about going all-out to get some Republican support for that? Of course, that would mean Kenney would have to actually speak to Haywood.

Right now, according to The Giffords Law Center, in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., you can buy bullets only if you have a firearm purchasing permit. In California and New York, bullet buyers have to pass background checks. Many of the same states require sellers of ammunition to be licensed.


And all of these states still have a problem with violent crime.

See, part of the problem here is that ammunition isn’t serialized. There’s no way to determine who bought a certain box of ammo, much less a particular round. So there’s no real risk in buying ammunition for someone else because there’s almost zero chance of it blowing back on you.

Further, look at those states for a moment. What do they all have in common?

That’s right. They’re vehemently anti-gun states.

That means ammo control isn’t particularly popular even among your more moderately anti-gun states. It also should be noted that none of those laws have been challenged since the Bruen decision. That’s important.

You see, the truth is that ammo control would likely run afoul of the same Second Amendment issues most gun control laws are slamming into post-Bruen. A firearm without ammunition is, at best, an inefficient club. At worst, it’s a paperweight.

So while the author here really wants ammo control–and they quote a Chris Rock bit that, while funny, shouldn’t be taken as policy advice–they clearly don’t understand that wanting something and it actually being good policy are entirely different animals.


Then again, they think criminals won’t find a way to get ammo despite ammo control, so this shouldn’t surprise me.

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