By Jim Kouri
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) urged on her fellow members of Congress on Thursday to pass “common sense’ legislation to protect people and law enforcement. She spoke about the need for passage of the “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” as a first step in regulating ammo sales to private citizens. The congresswoman said in light of two recent mass-shootings — one in Aurora, Colorado, the other in Oak Creek, Wisconsin — there is a need to control the number of boxes of ammo being sold to private citizens.
Anxious citizens have been purchasing larger than usual amounts of ammo since 2008 anticipating a change in the laws and regulations of ammunition and ammo purchases, according to the Internet organization Ammo Alert in a Facebook entry on Aug. 8, 2012.
Overall, ammunition manufacturers have reported their factories are producing ammunition at record rates and keeping their facilities operating 24/7. Yet, they still cannot keep up with the demand for bullets for everything from handguns to hunting rifles.
Gun store owners and manufacturers claim they have never seen such a drastic shortage in ammunition. “I haven’t witnessed such a situation in all my years as a gun owner, hunter and cop,” said Edna Aquino, a New York police officer and shooting instructor.
“I’m hearing from fellow shooters that they are stockpiling ammunition these days because they are afraid of what they’re seeing in this country,” she said. “There is fear that the so-called gun-control establishment may target ammunition purchases rather than guns,” she added.
In addition to the problem of ammunition scarcity, gun owners must contend with rising prices making it more costly to visit firing ranges. There are even retailers who are limiting the number of boxes a buyer may purchase. As a result, buyers are searching for gun stores that will allow them to purchase cases of ammo to be stockpiled in their homes, according to gun rights experts. Others are turning to the Internet so they’re not limited to one geographic area for their purchases, they say.
Why are Americans scrambling to purchase guns and ammunition in record numbers? Many say it’s their fear of the political climate in the United States.
Jan Norton, a teacher in New Jersey and lifelong target shooter, believes that ammo sales started climbing when a report issued by the Homeland Security Department identified pro-life, pro-gun, anti-government Americans as potential terrorists.
“While the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano backed away from that report, there are others who’ve contributed to increasing the fears of law-abiding citizens who happen to have conservative or libertarian political views,” she said.
In an unclassified report entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” Napolitano and her agency included the following description of extremists:
“Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Also, according to gun-policy expert John Snyder, US Congressman Alcee Hastings’ (D-FL) continues to push his amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill which will prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of persons with known affiliations to “groups determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature.”
The Hastings Amendment confers upon the Attorney General the ability to categorize groups as hate groups, and this sounds an alarm for many Americans because of the recent shocking and offensive report released by the Department of Homeland Security which labeled, arguably, a majority of Americans as “extremists.”
Ammunition manufacturers believe that once gun owners believe they’ve purchased a sufficient amount of ammo, there will be more to go around. However, the solution to ammo shortages is merely a symptom of a much larger problem: a distrust of all branches of government, claims Michael Baker, an attorney and political consultant.