In discussions on what to do about gun violence, one aspect has remained in the shadows — until a recent article in the New York Times titled, “California Tries New Tack on Gun Violence: Ammunition Control” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/us/california-gun-control-ammunition-bullets.html), which focuses on the fact that it’s not the gun or the shooter who kill people, it’s the bullets! 

The NYT article highlights what is happening in California where very strict regulations about the sale of ammunition exist or will soon take effect. As pointed out, federal law prohibits the sale of ammunition to people who are not allowed to (legally) purchase guns but this is not well enforced; nor is the sale to people under the 21-year-old minimum age allowed for bullet sales. Furthermore, there are no limits on the amount of ammunition one can purchase in stores or over the internet.

California will soon require that a log be kept of ammunition sales and a background check conducted. And new handguns need to have technology that prints a miniature signature on each shell casing so they can be traced to specific guns. Internet sales directly to buyers are already not permitted in California; neither are magazines with a greater than 10 bullet capacity. 

And of course certain types of ammunition should be entirely off limits, such as bullets that disintegrate upon impact and create monstrous injuries and high velocity ammunition intended for military use. These are common sense regulations that, if enacted around the country, would reduce gun violence for sure. Just remember that once a bullet has been fired, it is gone forever, unlike the gun from which it was fired which may be operable for perhaps 100 years if cared for well.

Of course, any ammunition regulation should include a requirement about its safe storage. As you may know, there is an advisory referendum question on the ballot in Oak Park this November asking voters if they would support legislation requiring the safe storage of firearms within homes. I propose including ammunition storage in any such legislation.

The Second Amendment does not speak to ammunition. Thus, ammunition is not constitutionally protected and can be regulated without opposition invoking the US Constitution. So let’s do it! Let’s go for strict regulation of ammunition sales and possession.

Maarten Bosland

Member of the Gun Responsibilities Advocates of Oak Park

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