NRA’s Own Study Debunks Far Right’s Crazy Ammo Shortage Conspiracy Theory

ammo-shortageSince the Sandy Hook tragedy, there’s been a huge run on AR-15 and other semi-auto weapons as many people thought that in the aftermath, an assault weapons ban would be put back into place. For awhile, there was almost no way you could buy the same weapon that was used in the massacre (or the ammo) unless you were willing to pay as much as triple the actual value of the gun or ammo. Rather than seeing this as a case of supply and paranoid demand, many gun nuts and conspiracy folks started coming up with explanations that included some more bizarre stories such as that the Department of Homeland Security was stockpiling ammo to use against the American public. You know those chain emails about how any day now, Obama is going to send confiscation squads door to door to seize guns, send “patriotic Americans” to FEMA camps, etc? Yeah, those stories from fear-mongering for-profit people like Alex Jones and others like him, that’s what I’m talking about.

While enjoying my morning coffee, I was thumbing through an issue of American Rifleman (the monthly propaganda and fundraising “Official Journal of the NRA”) and happened across a stunning bit of information I never thought I’d see them admit. I knew it was going to be interesting with this excerpt:

Meanwhile, some gun owners have been speculating that this supply-and-demand problem is related to large government purchases. A few people have even hypothesized that the Obama administration might see reducing the ammunition supply via massive government buys as a clever way to enact gun control. After all, a government that would let guns be sold in U.S. gun stores to known straw purchasers so they could be illegally taken across the border with Mexico to arm drug gangs in a not-so-clever crime-fighting technique (if you believe that official explanation) seems capable of anything.

The author, Frank Miniter, then goes on to explain with analysis and — GASP — facts, why there is/was an actual ammo shortage. Fears about the DHS stockpiling ammo? Debunked, with numbers.

The DHS is a massive umbrella agency that includes more than 70,000 law-enforcement personnel across multiple agencies and more than 40,000 uniformed members of the military in the U.S. Coast Guard. The ammunition the DHS buys is used to support law-enforcement operations as well as routine qualifications and training for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration and many other federal entities.

Nevertheless, worries spread in some circles on the Internet when it was reported that the DHS had a contract for a maximum of 450 million rounds of .40-cal. jacketed hollow-points to be supplied during the next five years. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) investigated the contract and published a press release noting that, given all the agencies DHS buys for, “450 million rounds really isn’t that large of an order.” Westmoreland’s staff calculated that if the “DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammunition” per year per law-enforcement officer and so on.

Put aside the fact that this is a publication of the political arm of the gun industry and read the rest of the article located here. Mr. Miniter goes on to explain how gun and ammo demand has been increasing annually while manufacturers have struggled to keep up. Noticeably, not once does he mention Sandy Hook and the mad dash to the local gun shop by people who thought President Obama could somehow order a national confiscation, which cleared shelves of guns as well as many calibers of ammo. When you have a massive run on a product that is already in short supply – ta dah! Shortages.

While showing this article to the next NRA member who tells you that the media is “hiding the truth” about ammo shortages and how it’s a liberal plot probably won’t convince them of anything, you can show them the NRA piece as well. It isn’t from the “liberal media,” it’s from their own organization that they pay annual dues to. If that doesn’t get through to them, nothing will.


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