Never one to let a crisis go to waste, Senator Harry Reid has introduced a new bill that would require background checks for anyone purchasing “explosive materials” or “powders” commonly used to manufacture ammunition and fireworks.
The Boston bombers utilized black powder sourced from common fireworks to manufacture the bombs that left 3 people dead and scores wounded in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11th.
Senator Frank Lautenberg, who wrote the bill, claims the incident in Boston, “shows that background checks are needed for explosive materials.”
“It defies common sense that anyone, even a terrorist, can walk into a store in America and buy explosive powders without a background check or any questions asked.”
“Requiring a background check for an explosives permit is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of our communities.”
The purchase of black powder in amounts over 50 pounds already requires a background check, but the new bill would lower the thresholds and will also include “smokeless powders,” which are used for the production of ammunition.
The move by Reid and Lautenberg, who both supported President Obama’s failed comprehensive national gun control overhaul last month, has Second Amendment advocates concerned. According to The Truth About Guns the language of the bill, which is yet to be made available, may place stringent restrictions on the purchase of certain quantities of ammunition:
Depending on the bill’s language, it would include not only loose gunpowder (such as that used by handloaders) but could also cover standard ammunition cartridges.
Lautenberg and Reid are trying to label these propellants as “explosives” in the wake of the Boston bombings and use that tragedy to limit general access to ammunition and reloading components . . .
It’s a back door way to make gun ownership more difficult and possibly put smaller local ammunition manufacturers out of business.
Because a potential terrorist could conceivably take apart ammunition and use the propellant to manufacture a bomb, ammunition purchases containing enough powder to exceed the new threshold set forth by the bill will likely require a federal background check, similar to purchasing a firearm.
Reid and Lautenberg will also give the Attorney General power to forbid the sale of explosive powders to anyone who is believed to be purchasing it for the purpose of terrorism, a term that has been broadly defined in contemporary America to include anyone who may have second amendment oriented views, reads survival literature, home schools their kids, prefers precious metals over centrally printed Federal Reserve notes, or expresses a fear of big government.
The bill may never make it past committee, but it introduces a dangerous new strategy that shifts the gun-control focus away from firearms and targets gun accessories, magazines, and ammunition.