With Ammunition Scarce Can Reloading Supplies Be Next?

by David LaPell

As the Newton tragedy tidewaters slowly recede, shooters have seen ammunition in certain popular calibers dry to a trickle in all the usual places. What you can get will cost you what you got and then some, but that doesn't concern me that much because I reload (and you should too). But with handloading in mind and ammunition as well as gun control in the news, would there, could there, ever be a ban on reloading supplies, something that truly could leave many shooters with nothing more than gun case full of expensive paperweights?

Hey, is that a single stage, Lee Press in your truck?

No matter whether you're a hunter, a run n’ gunner, a home defender or a plinker and no matter what gun you own or prefer, your weapon isn't worth a solid baseball bat without ammunition. More and more shooters are realizing the importance of a consistent supply of ammunition turning to reloading their own ammunition, but could this spurred interest in the hobby mean lawmakers will target hand-presses next?

In 2009 President Obama was in Mexico pushing for support for an International treaty that addressed firearms trafficking. This is the same treaty that the U.N. has been floating around since Clinton and Obama, within hours of his reelection, endorsed yet again. Part of that treaty, which is called the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other Related Materials, “clearly identifies ammo reloaders that are not licensed by the government as u2018Illicit Manufacturers' of ammunition.” From Article I of the Treaty:

1. “Illicit manufacturing”: the manufacture or assembly of firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related materials:

a. from components or parts illicitly trafficked; or

b. without a license from a competent governmental authority of the State Party where the manufacture or assembly takes place; or

c. without marking the firearms that require marking at the time of manufacturing.

These provisions are reinforced in Article IV, which requires u201CStates Parties that have not yet done so shall adopt the necessary legislative or other measures to establish as criminal offenses under their domestic law the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives, and other related material.u201D

If this treaty ever passes, would reloading your own ammunition become illegal? Maybe. You might be required to obtain a license to do so. It might mean that primers or powder could become very expensive, and without those, your reloading press is going to gather a lot of dust.

While the U.N. treaty may or may not pass, gun owners in California know full well the reality of living under the threat of legal restrictions on ammunition after Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger signed AB962 into law. That bill, which would have gone into effect on February 1, 2011 if it had not been ruled unconstitutional, would have required anyone buying handgun ammo to give up their driver's license, thumbprint, address, phone number and date of birth. While that is not reloading supplies it certainly shows that those looking to restrict guns are definitely looking towards our ammunition. Sooner or later, I think they will get around to primers and powder.

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