Longtime gun control advocates Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, and U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, introduced a bill this week they said would prevent buyers from purchasing unlimited quantities of ammunition via the Internet or through the mail. The bill would also require ammunition dealers to report bulk ammo sales to law enforcement.
“It’s time to close the loophole that’s allowing killers — deranged, insane — and even terrorists to buy ammunition online,” Lautenberg said Monday at a news conference on the steps of Manhattan’s City Hall. “You don’t have to be a scientist to understand how wrong this is.”
The lawmakers pointed to the Colorado mass shooting earlier this month, where police in Aurora said movie shooting suspect James Holmes purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition online. Holmes faces 24 murder counts after allegedly spraying bullets into a movie theatre during the opening show of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”
North Carolina State Representative Ken Goodman, D-Rockingham, said he has no opinion on the federal bill, but thinks lawmakers in general should not rush to action in the wake of the Aurora incident.
“I think it’s problematic to introduce legislation in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy,” said Goodman. “I think we should maybe wait until next year, to look at it with clearer eyes.”
Rockingham’s Ammo Shack store owner Russell Kirk said 1,000 rounds of ammunition really isn’t that much.
“That’s not a lot at all,” said Kirk. “I seldom sell more than that, but it does happen. Most people these days have a .22 longrifle, and a brick of ammo (500 rounds) is $19.95. So for $20 you can get a brick, or for $40 you can get 1,000 rounds. I have occasionally sold a case. For $200 you can get 5,000 rounds. To me, that’s not excessive.”
Kirk said he has felt this type of legislation coming for some time. Surprisingly, he hopes people do not come rushing to his store to stock up on ammo.
“This legislation is good for all of us. When people do their ammo shopping online, the local economy gets nothing out of it. I sell strictly over the counter. The last thing I want to see is people getting in a panic and buying a bunch of ammo. Then my business will suffer for the next three years. I don’t want this to screw up the flow of my business,” said Kirk.
“Politicians tend to overreact,” Kirk said. “In a free society you just can’t prevent these people from screwing up and doing bad things. Look at Chicago. This year they had one of the highest murder rates in the country. At the same time, they have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. So legislation does nothing.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.