Gun Control Debate: When Ammo Runs Short, Should Citizens Come Before Government?


For whatever reason, government purchases of ammunition have skyrocketed in the last few months. Those purchases, combined with military actions overseas, are causing a serious shortage of ammunition for purchase by private citizens. In many areas, stores are sold out of popular calibers, and don’t know when they will see resupply from their vendors. 

These shortages raise a serious question: Are the needs of the government more important than the needs of the citizen?

Federal agencies say they need the ammo for future training, and large purchase are the best way to get good prices. That sounds reasonable, but if this is the case, why do agencies like Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Social Security Administration all need to place orders for, and take receipt of, ammo today that they are going to use years in the future? If "Just in Time" is good enough for the auto industry, why not for the Homeland Security?

These sales are particularly egregious as they are driving up the prices by 20% or more for private purchasers, and creating shortages of some critical types of ammunition. 

Making the situation even worse, sweetheart deals with private contractors (or crony corporations if you prefer) have resulted in the destruction of millions of rounds of fired cartridges that could have otherwise been used in the private sector for reloading, driving down prices and increasing availability of commercial stocks.

The federal agencies queried claim that the purchases are normal and that they are saving taxpayer money by buying billions of rounds today for use in the coming years. 

But private citizens don’t need ammo two or three years in the future. They need it now!

They need it for their shooting matches, hunting season, concealed carry course training, and most importantly, for personal protection. And they need it at prices the poor and middle class citizen, who needs self-protection the most, can afford. 

President Obama openly admitted he intended to drive the price of coal and oil to levels that would force Americans, willing or not, to curtail their usage. It appears that President Obama, unable to circumvent the Second Amendment legislatively, intends to institute an effective ban by forcing up the price of guns and ammo to the point where only the very rich can afford them.

Should government be allowed to accomplish indirectly through economic manipulation what it is forbidden by the Constitution to do directly?

The consequences of a disarmed citizenry are not insignificant. Studies place the number of times a gun is used in self-defense at between 65,000 and 2.5 million per year. A study of violent crimes, such as murder, rape, or assault, show that guns are used in self-defense .83% of the time. Without the use of firearms, or the ammunition necessary for their functioning, these crimes would have been executed, and thousands of new victims would have been added to the roles of crime victims.

We don’t need single women being raped and murdered because they couldn’t afford, or couldn’t buy, ammunition for their personal firearm. Rather than allowing the DHS to buy enough ammunition for a 24 year war all at once, make them take delivery in reasonably sized lots that reflect their actual usage rates. If it works just fine for General Motors, it can work for DHS as well.

Rather than allowing sweetheart deals with friends of the administration to drive up the cost of ammo, demand that military base commanders return to the long established practice of selling their fired cartridges into the civilian market. 

There is no question our police and other law enforcement personnel need adequate supplies of ammunition for their training and duties, but we need to ask the question: are their needs more critical and important than the young mother protecting her children, the store owner stopping a robbery, or the elderly man protecting himself from muggers?

Do citizens exist for the benefit of government, or is government there to serve the citizen, and who should go without when necessary? In the case of ammunition, the government should be ensuring that the private citizen has access to reasonably priced ammunition in whatever quantity the citizen feels is necessary. And the government should be satisfied with what is left over.