Even if these bills do not succeed or gain traction in the current Congress, they clearly telegraph the ambitions of firearms prohibitionists to create a world in which owning and using firearms is as expensive and inconvenient as possible and in which the Second Amendment is a second class right.
As we reported last week, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) is seeking to revive failed and rejected gun control strategies of the past by implementing burdensome and unnecessary controls on sales of ammunition. H.R. 2283, the so-called Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2015, wouldn’t just ban online ammunition sales, it would generally ban private ammunition sales altogether. So while a widow, for example, could still sell her deceased husband’s guns to a neighbor if the bill were passed, she could not sell the neighbor any ammunition that might go with them. Even from a gun control perspective, this seems like odd public policy, but then we’ve never accused our opponents of being burdened by logic or consistency.
H.R. 2283 would mandate all sales of ammunition to unlicensed persons to occur in face-to-face transactions with FFLs. The FFLs would have to verify and record the identity of ammunition buyers in their records and report to federal authorities sales of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to the same person during any five consecutive business days. Just how FFLs, particularly high-volume stores with multiple employees, are supposed to know if a given person bought ammo recently or how much is not clear.
These provisions certainly would make ammunition sales more burdensome and intrusive and encourage those who had unwanted ammunition to keep it on hand, but the bill has no discernable public safety rationale. What possible good could retail sales records of cartridges do for law enforcement officials? If a 9mm cartridge casing is found at a crime scene, are police supposed to manually inspect the records of all dealers and then query every purchaser of the same brand and caliber of ammunition?