Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) plans to introduce the Ammunition Background Check Act which would mandate NICS checks for all ammunition purchases. His legislation would reinstate the record keeping requirement for ammo sales, a report to ATF whenever anyone buys more than 1,000 rounds within a 5 day period, bans teflon-coated and incendiary bullets, and require reports of stolen ammunition.
According to CNN, Blumenthal is introducing this legislation “to keep faith with the people of Newtown and elsewhere who want action to combat gun violence.”
In his press release, Blumenthal says:
Reporting large purchases of ammunition can alert law enforcement and enable proactive intervention. Large scale purchases of ammunition are the fuel often driving mass murders.
Or, more likely, it is a sign that a person either got a good deal or is planning to take a training class that requires 1,000 or more rounds of ammo for the weekend.
In addition, the legislation bans Teflon-coated bullets and incendiary ammunition. The current federal ban on armor-piercing ammunition exempts certain kinds of Teflon-coated bullets, as well as incendiary ammunition designed to ignite or explode on contact. Both of these kinds of ammunition can defeat body armor, and pose a grave danger to law enforcement officials.
Where is Blumenthal getting his info? Incendiary is “designed to ignite or explode on contact”? That doesn’t meet any definition of incendiary bullets that I’ve ever heard. Blumenthal is confusing incendiary as in tracers with certain .50 BMG ammunition such as the Raufoss Mk. 211 which is high explosive, armor piercing, and incendiary. As for defeating body armor, your average .30-30 Winchester deer hunting cartridge can defeat most forms worn by law enforcement officers.
Background checks have worked in many cases to keep firearms from falling into the wrong hands. According to the FBI, over the last decade, more than 100 million background checks have been run on firearm purchases. The vast majority of background checks took about 30 seconds. Approximately 700,000 people were blocked from purchasing guns – including felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill.
Two points on this part of his statement. First, if you dump ammo purchases into the NICS system without drastically increasing personnel, the wait times will defeat the whole rationale of “instant checks”. My second point is when have you ever heard of any prohibited purchasers ever being prosecuted for attempting to purchase a firearm.
Blumenthal’s bill has one other fatal flaw if he plans to track all ammo – reloading.