In the wake of the New York Times hit piece on the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Democratic congresscritters and attorneys generals have called on the Biden administration to take action and disallow the sale of ammunition produced at the facility on the retail market; a policy that’s long been in place in order to help the facility maintain full staffing levels for national security purposes.
Now every Republican AG in the country are firing back at the effort to curtail those ammo sales, sending a letter to the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention calling out the “litany of errors” by their Democratic counterparts and urging the administration to keep the current rules in place.
Among the list of “errors” the GOP AGs point out that their Democrat colleages allege that ammunition manufactured for “military use” does not belong in communities.
“First, the ammunition manufactured at Lake City and sold into the commercial market is not the primary rifle cartridge used by the United States military. The primary cartridge is proprietary to the Army and may not be sold commercially,” the AGs note.
“Second, while the United States military purchases and uses a particular type of ammunition, that is not determinative as to whether it is “military ammunition” that should be banned for public use,” they write.
“If the United States military using ammunition precluded that ammunition’s use by civilians, then other widely and commonly available ammunition, including 9mm and 12-gauge shotshells, would also be prohibited for public use,” they argued, adding that Supreme Court precedent “does not support such an openly artificial distinction.”
According to the state’s top prosecutors, Lake City only sells ammunition to commercial customers that is legal to manufacture, and it complies with all the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) requirements.
The AGs argued that the Democrats’ efforts would undermine national security. “Gun control advocates are firing blanks when they contend that taxpayers are subsidizing mass shooters. They get causality backward. The law-abiding target shooters and gun owners who buy Lake City ammunition are subsidizing national defense and military readiness,” they argue.
Will the AGs efforts have any impact on the Biden administration? I highly doubt it. But suppose the White House and its gun control allies want to make the Lake City facility and the policy of producing rounds for the civilian market an issue in the 2024 elections. In that case, it’s going to be Republicans and Second Amendment advocates who’ll be making the case to keep the status quo in place, and the letter provides solid counter-arguments to the Democrats’ claims that the sale of Lake City ammo is fueling violent crime and mass shootings.
They note that the Defense Department “sought to avoid a situation when the military needs surge due to a real-world conflict, ammunition is not readily available,” adding that ammunition availability requires facilities, production equipment, a skilled workforce, and supply chains to remain in constant operation.
“Machines and production cannot be turned on like the flip of a switch. It takes time to hire and train the highly skilled workers needed to operate production lines to manufacture the highest quality ammunition for U.S. warfighters. Commercial production has allowed Lake City, and its suppliers, to maintain steady labor, maximize equipment run time, ensure a stable supply base, and provide a level of readiness to the U.S. military that would not otherwise be available,” they added.
Prohibiting the sale of Lake City-produced ammo on the retail market would have a huge impact on lawful gun owners (which is exactly what the gun banners are hoping to achieve), but it would also harm national security. That might be just fine with the gun control lobby and their Democratic allies, but everyone else should be alarmed by the push to curtail non-military production at the facility, and it’s great to see a united front from Republican attorneys general in response to the threats from anti-gunners.
So far the White House hasn’t weighed in on the manufactured controversy over manufacturing ammunition. Still, it’s probably just a matter of time before we hear from the Office of Gun Violence Prevention given the scripted nature of the anti-gunners’ objections; first, a hit piece from friendly media followed by calls for action from anti-gun officials. It only makes sense that Act III of this political theatre will come from the Biden administration, and when we finally do hear from the White House I’m sure the Office of Gun Violence Prevention will be fully in favor of ending the sale of Lake City ammo to civilians. If they can’t ban guns or ammo outright they can at least make it harder to find and more expensive to purchase, and if our national security interests are harmed as a result I don’t think that matters much to the gun prohibition lobby and their allies inside the Beltway.