Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Silver Lining in the Nationwide Ammunition Shortage?

Probably not...

No mere vacation can prevent me from checking out my work-related LinkedIn groups where a peer was commenting generally on apparently excessive ammunition purchases by the Federal government.  Is the DHS deliberately buying up all the ammunition?  Even the NRA-ILA says not so much.

"[E]ven if federal agencies bought all of the ammunition for which they've recently solicited proposals, it would still amount to only about three percent of total domestic ammunition production."

Then our correspondent asked a different and more interesting question.

"Slightly off topic, but it does relate to the broad question of availability and if a lack of supply will affect acts of violence."

As is frequently my style, I approached the question from another angle altogether.

Firearms and ammunition of all kinds are being purchased at record rates by panicked gun owners who fear a government ban on the ownership of military-style self-loading rifles and high capacity magazines in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. This "Banic!" buying continues unabated months after all such proposed legislation was killed in committee. What gives?
Bedroom closets, basements, and garages are brimming with cases of ammunition purchased at 2-3 times the normal price by frightened, angry men who have been whipped into a highly politicized frenzy by their favorite talk radio, cable news, and YouTube personalities. Having lost all awareness of their actual privilege, they feel dispossessed, threatened, and powerless in the face of an ever-changing political, economic, and social environment. The vast majority of these men are law-abiding and peaceable citizens who will never break a law or harm another. They are addressing their uncertainty and discomfort the only way they know how.

But taken to extremes, a mindset of fear, anger, grievance, grudge, obsession, and paranoia begins to look very much like the thought processes plaguing those few who actually become active shooters, targeted school killers, and the perpetrators of mass murder in the workplace. When one of the usual psychological, neurological, or chemical triggers tips one of these troubled figures to an act of public violence will his stockpile make a difference? I hope not, but only time will tell if divisive Culture Wars rhetoric plays a role in future atrocities. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm not terribly surprised that we are responsible for our own ammo shortage. I tend to believe that having a large stockpile wont make much difference from a tactical standpoint. The limiting factor is that no matter how much ammo you buy, it doesn't count if you cant carry it with you.
    The highest round count I've heard used by criminals was the North Hollywood shooting in '97 in which the two bank robbers expended about 1,100 rounds. They stayed close to their vehicle which held their ammo, and of course guaranteed their demise since that limited their mobility.
    Law enforcement's active shooter response will also tend to limit rounds expended by a bad guy since speed and aggressiveness is stressed.