Use money to lobby, not to hoard ammunition

Published 1:04 am Sunday, February 1, 2009

By Staff
People are buying ammunition to the point that some calibers are getting scarce. We’re told it’s because they’re afraid the president and Congress will ratchet up taxes on ammunition as a sort of backdoor gun control policy.
We don’t pretend to know what will happen with gun control over the next four or eight years, but this panic buying is foolish.
Our economy is in a shambles. We are fighting two wars thousands of miles away in obscure, relatively hostile nations. Health care costs are spiraling beyond the reach of many average Americans.
Barack Obama probably has better things to do with his time right now than try to quash one of the few industries that’s actually making money.
We presume people who think personal defense is important are the ones making a run on handgun ammunition. People gobbling up ammunition are making it tough for others to get ammunition they might need.
If people want to stock up, that’s fine. We have no problem with them owning ammunition. But right now, hoarders are causing problems.
The right way to build up a surplus — and again, we have a hard time believing one will be needed in the immediate future — is gradually. Consumers shouldn’t buy a store out of whatever caliber they need. Instead, they should buy as much as they normally would, and a box or two more. They should use the normal purchase, and set the extra box or two on the side.
Repeated a few times, this process generates a surplus without causing shocks in the market.
As always, though, consumers should be careful in storing their ammunition. Firefighters don’t need the grief of trying to put out a house fire where 1,500 rounds are stored.
The good news, though, is that most major sporting categories haven’t been impacted by the shortage. But there’s no need for any shortage.
Instead of rushing around preparing for the end to come, Second Amendment advocates should spend their time and money shoring up their position in Washington. The NRA is a powerful voice, but there’s no sense in just leaving the task to them and turning our backs.
Ammunition isn’t cheap. The money gun owners are pouring into ammunition company coffers could pay for a lot of lobbying. It can’t buy votes, but it can help ensure that legislators understand how protective their constituents are of the right to bear arms.
Now is the time for gun owners to make clear to those in authority that any push to increase ammunition taxes will be wildly unpopular.