Leftists who have banned guns as their primary mission have found themselves blocked by the Constitution and the reality of centuries of American culture based on self-reliance. Gun grabbers are turning their focus more often now to controlling and choking off the market supply of ammunition.
The Biden administration recently took a step forward by banning the importation of ammunition from Russia. The overall drop in retail ammunition availability inside the U.S. is well known to all shooters and has been a growing issue since before the 2020 election.
While anti-gun policies and the election of Democrats have led the way to boost gun sales numbers in the past, the COVID pandemic that began in 2020 coupled with the election created an even more significant and longer-lasting surge in ammunition and firearms sales. The riots and unrest of the summer of 2020 made even more demand, as police have either been defunded or ordered to stand down in the face of violence in multiple U.S. cities.
About 8.4 million firearms were purchased in 2020 by first-time buyers. These new purchasers quickly added to the demand of longer-term owners who felt the need to stockpile ammo in the face of diminishing supply. Increasing regulation and the threat of shortages or prohibitions in the future also have led to greater demand.
To meet demand, many domestic ammunition manufacturers have increased production to their total capacity. The disrupted supply chains attributed to COVID have created production shortages even as producers have been willing to operate 24 hours a day.
As metals and other input prices have skyrocketed, finished ammo prices for popular calibers have doubled in many cases. Producers are back-ordered for more than a year or sometimes two currently.
Biden’s ban on Russian ammunition purports to be an economic sanction on Putin’s government, although, of course, the real impact is felt by American consumers. In 2020 alone, Russia imported 765 million rounds of ammunition to the U.S.
Ammunition restrictions are likely to continue, at least until the judiciary hopefully overturns them as being inconsistent with the Second Amendment and recent Supreme Court precedents. For example, California recently instituted “background checks” for ammo and has banned mail-order sales. Without a birth certificate or passport, it is impossible to purchase ammunition in California currently legally.
The California background check for ammo involves checking a person’s identity against a “white list,” meaning only persons registered as California gun owners can purchase ammunition. Because of address changes and the failure of the system to recognize owners who purchased a firearm before the current registration system took effect, the vast majority of purchase denials are erroneous.
Ordinary government inefficiency is not a “bug” to gun-grabbers, of course. It’s a “feature” to be exploited in denying a fundamental Constitutional right.