Ammo restrictions are a new ground for the gun control crowd. They figured out that if you restrict ammunition, you don’t need to restrict guns. The problem, of course, is that ammo control is a lot harder to accomplish than gun control. After all, rounds aren’t serialized, for one thing.
Not everyone buys into it, of course, but a number do.
What’s bad, though, is that a lot of people think this is a reasonable course of action.
Take this op-ed (please?) as an example.
The author apparently hopes to bridge some of the divide between the gun control crowd and the gun rights bunch, including helping anti-gunners understand some things about firearms in general. So far, so good, even if it’s pretty clear the author harbors anti-gun sympathies.
Until he starts talking about ammo restrictions, anyway.
I propose gun reform considerations should start with muzzle energy. This would affect ammunition, not the guns themselves, since bullets come in varying weights for the same gun.
By federal law, we should restrict rifle rounds with muzzle energy greater than 1,100 foot-pounds, and handgun rounds with muzzle energy greater than 500 foot-pounds. That would restrict the popular 5.56 mm ammunition that many AR-style rifles use, but it would not restrict rounds that are perfectly good for target practice and varmint hunting like the .222 Remington, the M1 carbine, and the .22 long rifle. Some of the heaviest rounds for popular handgun calibers would be restricted, but capable personal protection pistols like the .40 Smith & Wesson, .380 and .38 Special would not.
Setting these thresholds will disadvantage large animal hunters and some serious target shooters, especially those who compete at long range. Those activities require more muzzle energy. But since that energy makes the tools of those hobbies dangerous to humans too, those shooters should face extra cost and scrutiny when purchasing ammunition.
The element of this proposal that will prove most unpopular has to do with deer hunting. To kill a deer or other large animal humanely requires a rifle round with high muzzle energy — the very rounds that should be restricted for public safety. There’s simply no way around that. When it comes down to it, I’m willing to do some extra paperwork and pay a few dollars more to fill my deer tag if there’s even the slightest chance it will save lives. And arguments about disarming law-abiding citizens don’t carry water.
Well, that first sentence in the last paragraph might be the dumbest thing in the whole op-ed, and that’s saying something.
It seems this author, who apparently positions himself as a somewhat well-informed individual on guns–he doesn’t call himself an expert and admits there are aspects he’s oblivious to, but also seems to think he’s well-versed enough to explain some things–doesn’t get that the Second Amendment isn’t about target shooting or hunting small game.
In fact, based on a clear understanding of what the Founding Fathers intended, those two aspects of shooting could be argued to be the least protected.
Ammo restriction schemes come in many different shapes and sizes, much like ammunition itself, but restricting the energy of a round is beyond idiotic. Especially as deer hunting is hardly the biggest reason such a proposal would be unpopular.
Oh, it would come up, but self-defense is the biggest reason people buy guns in this day and age, not deer hunting.
Further, this proposal doesn’t address the shortcomings of current ammo restriction schemes. Ammo can be stolen or bought elsewhere. Further, home reloading allows people to tailor their ammunition to their own specifications, which means that such restrictions will be easily bypassed even by law-abiding citizens.
In short, this is probably the dumbest idea I’ve heard, particularly from someone who claims to have some degree of knowledge about firearms. The Dallas Morning News should be ashamed of itself for having published it.