Keep your powder dry: No one’s taking our ammo
July 14, 2009
Make no mistake: Barack Obama is no friend of gun enthusiasts. I’m certain the president favors gun control, and
I’m just as sure he is astute enough to avoid that third rail of American politics.
Be that as it may, hysterical alarmists are up in arms – almost literally – about what they perceive as a conspiracy to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights.
As one who dabbles more than casually in shooting sports, it comes as no surprise to me that some gun owners are apoplectic about current political affairs.
In certain states, such as California, New York and Maryland, they have good reason to be. But nationally, no anti-gun legislation is moving forward. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action Web site (www.nraila.org) lists only pro-gun bills that demand constituent action. One article even points out that 65 House Democrats recently went on record opposing reinstatement of the so-called 1994 assault weapons ban.
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Yet, based on a conversation overheard the other day in Grand County – west side of Red Dirt Hill – you’d think we were on the brink of civil war.
“This is beyond anything I’ve ever seen,” one of the gentlemen said. “If we don’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder against this, we’re going to lose our rights.”
He was talking about two rumors that have developed a preternatural ability to survive a tsunami of contravening evidence. Namely: Obama is going to raise the tax on ammunition by 500 percent; and Congress is going to pass legislation mandating the “microstamping” of ammunition and the disposal of all existing unstamped shells (good luck with that).
“You already can’t find ammo,” one of the righteously offended offered as proof of the conspiracy. “They can’t take our guns, so they’re taking our ammunition.”
Keep your powder dry, partner.
The genesis of these notions was a decade ago when Obama, then an Illinois state senator running for the U.S. House of Representatives, stated at an anti-gun rally in Chicago that he would ban handguns and raise the ammunition tax by 500 percent.
Yet, inconveniently for the conspiracy theorists, he never introduced or co-sponsored any such legislation as a U.S. representative or senator. And officials with the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which collects the 11 percent Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax, were quoted as recently as June saying they are unaware of any administration plans to raise the tax.
Still, the claims rose from the dead during the campaign last fall when the National Rifle Association published what it called “Obama’s 10-Point Plan to ‘Change’ the Second Amendment.” The zombie rumors have brainlessly wandered the land and cyberspace ever since.
On the other hand, prices for ammunition and reloading components have soared since November. And some ammunition can be difficult to find.
Retail outlets are limiting ammo purchases as well, despite U.S. manufacturers cranking out some 8 billion rounds annually (according to the NRA).
Grand conspiracy? Not quite.
There is no small irony in the real reason: supply and demand. But don’t take it from me. Here’s what the home page of Hornady (www.hornady.com), a prominent ammunition manufacturer, says:
“The shooting sports industry as a whole is currently experiencing record sales. Here at Hornady Manufacturing we are breaking our own production records in an attempt to keep up with customer demand. We have added extra shifts, machinery and we are also in the process of expanding our manufacturing plant.”
So much for black helicopter-flying, jack-booted thugs confiscating our ammunition.
The same is true of demand for many firearms and high-capacity ammunition clips. It seems so many people are convinced these items will be banned that they are buying everything they can wrap their warm, live fingers around for stockpiling and investment purposes.
In other words, we have met the enemy, and he is us.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19610 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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