Gun Violence Target:  The Bullets   

 The mantra, “It’s the economy, stupid,” propelled Bill Clinton’s candidacy during the presidential campaign in 1992.  His decision to highlight the nation’s then-struggling economy (and promise to fix it) helped Clinton win the White House.
One theme in this year’s mid-term election is the renewed call for more gun control laws, especially from students worried about school shootings. I’m left wondering when someone will come up with the rallying cry, “It’s the bullets, stupid.” After all, guns don’t work without bullets.

After watching trends across the country here’s my prediction: the next big “gun safety” push will take aim at regulating the bullets that make guns so deadly.
Currently, there are few controls on ammunition sales in this country. There is a federal law that says those who are not legally allowed to buy or have a gun – a convicted felon, for example — are also not allowed to buy bullets, but there is no real system in place to enforce that.

In Pennsylvania, bullets are offered like snack food from vending machines. At pharmacies in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas customers have been able to buy guns and ammunition along with their prescription medications. And, of course, residents in almost every state can buy ammo via the internet, although sometimes government-issued identification and/or a valid gun license is required. It is incredibly hassle-free to buy high capacity magazines and bulk bullets online. A 100-round magazine for an AR-15, a favorite of several recent mass shooters, can be had for as low as 125 bucks.

Case in point:  James Holmes, the young man who walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and fatally shot 12 people and wounded 70 others had stockpiled six-thousand bullets from various online sites. There was no way for authorities to track all his purchases. That was in 2012 and now, years later, little has changed to regulate online sales of ammunition.

Some states have moved to restrict sales of large capacity magazines and feeding devices that allow quick release of multiple bullets. But California has gone much further. It has become the model for the anti-bullet movement.

The Golden State requires that all ammunition bought online be shipped to a licensed vendor or law enforcement agency that will dole it out and keep track of who bought what and when. This also allows time for a background check on the buyer. In addition, gun control advocates in California have campaigned to raise taxes on ammo sales and they’d like to have each and every bullet stamped with traceable markings to help law enforcement solve crimes.
Los Angeles and Sacramento passed laws years ago requiring all ammunition sellers to keep detailed logs of each transaction. Those logs have been incredibly helpful for detectives who frequently scour the list looking for unauthorized purchases.  Authorities in those two cities say that by reviewing the logs they’ve been able to arrest hundreds of felons, including gang members, drug dealers, registered sex offenders and other criminals and confiscate their guns. Beginning next year, all California ammo sellers will have to keep such logs.
So, will the rest of the nation follow California’s lead on bullet control? Not if gun rights groups have a say. Those who enjoy competitive and range shooting, hunting or teaching their children about gun safety see it as just another restriction on law-abiding gun owners.

The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several gun owners, vendors, veterans and Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic gold medal winning shooter. The suit claims, among other things, that by forcing bullet buyers to pay a middle-man vendor for their ammo California is violating commerce laws and putting “excessive restraints” on individuals’ right to bear arms.

You know what? There are excessive regulations everywhere you look in America and the cost of everything goes up nearly every year.  I don’t entertain myself with shooting guns but the cost of my tickets to movies, concerts and museums increase on a regular basis.
Look, if the goal is to try to stop the nation’s never-ending gun violence steps must be taken. Special interest gun groups have to accept the conclusion that overall public safety is more important than their target practice. No one wants to deprive honest citizens of their guns or bullets, they just want to keep track of who is buying ammunition. As the California example proves simply keeping a log of bullet purchases can help police identify known criminals who should not have a firearm.
History shows passing more restrictive gun laws does nothing to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. The bad guys don’t give a damn about laws and guns are readily available on the street.  But if we take steps to, literally, take the firepower away from those guns, if we make everyone who buys a bullet responsible for how it is utilized, the United States becomes a safer place.


  1. Diane Dimond on September 17, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Creators Syndicate Website Reader Stephen Biles writes:

    Please provide a source to confirm your assertion “At pharmacies in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Texas, customers have been able to buy guns and ammunition along with their prescription medications.” I live in Texas and do not know of any pharmacies selling guns or ammunition.

  2. Diane Dimond on September 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

    ABQ Journal Reader Leonard M. Urban writes:

    Hello, Diane Dimond:

    For someone who positions herself as a “Crime and Justice” reporter,
    you’re amazingly incurious about your subject matter. Or maybe you’re
    just part of the liberal fake news establishment. At this point, it’s
    hard to tell.

    Your column in the Albuquerque journal, 9/15/18 you state ”…No one
    wants to deprive honest citizens of their guns or bullets…” While you
    try to make the case for additional restrictions on our access to
    ammunition, “…they just want to keep track of who is buying
    ammunition…”. “They” already keep track of guns by virtue of some
    20,000 laws restricting guns—possession, use, transporting—across the

    Perhaps you’d like to read some of what “they” have to say on the
    subject of gun confiscation:

    FYI many of us make our own ammunition, and don’t have to buy any. I
    do both, as I can customize loads to maximize power and accuracy
    without wasting powder for those cartridges that are either too
    expensive to justify purchase ($25/round for some of my rifles) or for
    which there is plenty of room for experimentation in developing loads
    for particular weapons. I mostly buy surplus ammo for my AR-15’s,
    AK-47’s and other rifles/pistols when I find a bargain on case
    lots—generally online– and reload the spent cases the rest of the
    time. For the record, I’m 65 years old, got my first gun at the age of
    11, and my first so-called “assault rifle” (M-1 Carbine) at the age of
    13. I have yet to shoot a single human being, or even threaten one.

    The individuals responsible for the shooting sprees—for the most
    part—have been documented as mentally ill and the blame for their
    murderous rampages can be laid at the feet of those who knew and took
    no action. This includes parent(s), school authorities, and in some
    cases, law enforcement. In the case of Nikolas Cruz, local law
    enforcement had been out to his house dozens of time because of his
    threatening behavior—I guess Sheriff Israel was too busy composing
    odes to O.J. Simpson to be bothered to pursue felony charges, when
    threats made while brandishing weapons are universally considered to
    be a felony. The FBI was twice contacted by individuals that knew
    Cruz, and warned them about his postings on social media, and even
    gave the log-in information so they could check him out. They never
    bothered. A YouTube vlogger also forwarded a posting on his channel
    about Cruz threatening to shoot up a school. FBI said they couldn’t
    find Cruz. Funny, I used to be a skiptracer, and I jumped online when
    I heard that, and on the free page for one of the companies I would
    use (US Search), I found him right away. Guess the FBI should contract
    with this company. Or maybe sign up for a Spokeo membership.

    If I were a devotee of Alex Jones, I might conclude that there is a
    conspiracy among law enforcement agencies to ALLOW such events in an
    effort to win public approval of gun confiscations in the interest
    of”… overall public safety…”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending
    upon one’s perspective), I’m not a “Jonser”. I think the Peter
    Principle can more effectively explain the inaction of local and
    federal LEOs than a “deep state” conspiracy.

    Punishing or restricting the rights of 100 million gun owners because
    you can’t punish (or punish to your satisfaction) the perpetrators of
    the high-profile crimes simply can’t be the answer. Surely, the nice
    people who mule your cocaine into the US for you will likewise be able
    to mule ammo into the country as well. It will be out there, as common
    as weed and crack for all who have the cash.

    Find another solution. For starters, start enforcing the ratings of
    violent entertainment–human beings are shameless imitators of what
    they see or hear, particularly in movies. Adults’ character and
    personality are matured, and generally unaffected by what they see on
    TV. Kids, not so much. Restrict the violent video games that some kids
    become obsessive about–many of these involve shooting zombies and
    other human figures. Immature, impressionable minds can be affected by
    exposure to such “entertainment”. Merchants and manufacturers who sell
    the stuff can be held to account through litigation, and parents
    through criminal prosecution. Stop using “entertainment” to teach
    children to shoot one another, you might see HUGE change in our

    Just one man’s opinion…

  3. Diane Dimond on September 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Facebook Friend Cliff Darnell writes:

    First thought is ridiculous….more red government intervention, infringement.. Society needs to educate and grow people up,” accountability”, “responsibility”, two words any gun toting gangster has forgotten.

    This idea missed the mark. To solve our problems we should “partner” with people doing good things… example : financial gifts to Foster care homes where you can see the results.
    Try instilling a ” Right to Parent ”
    Put more nurses in schools.
    Stop school consolidation.

  4. Diane Dimond on September 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Facebook Friend Tom Cobin writes:

    The subject of my award-winning high school essay in the Syracuse University Citizenship Conference — some 40+ years ago, in the 1970s.

  5. Diane Dimond on September 18, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Facebook Friend Steve Liddick writes:

    You can be sure the NRA will fight any effort to restrict ammo purchases.

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