America is facing a national ammo shortage. As gun sales have rocketed, so has demand for ammunition and for reasons this observer still can’t quite understand ammo manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up with demand.
It’s gotten so bad that law enforcement agencies here in North Dakota are rationing ammo.
One path around the shortages for gun owners is reloading. It’s tedious, but not all that difficult, to purchase the necessary supplies and re-load spent ammunition to use again. Except, that might be getting harder now that Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg is pushing to restrict the sale of black powder in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing (via Northern Gleaner):
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the wake of the deadly bombing attacks in Boston, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today announced that he will reintroduce legislation he has proposed in a prior Congress to require that sales of explosive powder be subject to a background check. He will also file the legislation as an amendment to the gun violence prevention bill currently on the Senate floor.
Current law allows an individual to purchase as much as 50 pounds of explosive “black powder” without a background check, and also permits an individual to purchase unlimited amounts of dangerous “smokeless powder” and “black powder substitute” without a background check. Sen. Lautenberg’s proposal would change that and require a background check for any purchase of these explosive powders. These powders can be used as the explosive material in assembling pipe bombs, used in the Columbine school shooting, and pressure cooker bombs, which may have been used in the recent Boston attack.
Here’s the thing: Building explosives isn’t hard. You can find recipes for making black powder and other explosives/incendiaries in library books. Of course, the problem with home-made black powder is that it’s not very good. It’ll go boom, just not as reliably.
By restricting access to professionally-made black powder, we’re probably doing more to ensure more accidents with people trying to make powder at home than preventing the sort of terrible but, thankfully, rare attacks such as the one in Boston.
As with guns, the best way to protect us from bombings is to address why people want to bomb us instead of restricting access to the materials used to make bombs. People intent on inflicting harm on us will always find a way to do so, no matter what restrictions we put in place.