Ammo Sales Surge After Boston Bombing?

Before I seem like a completely heartless bastard, one who watches the suffering of others and says, “now I’ll never be able to buy any .22LR,” I would like to assure you that this wasn’t my first thought.

I watched the horror unfold in Boston with the mix of nausea and revulsion I feel all too often now. But as the details about the bombings came to light, and then the shootings and really incredible manhunt that followed, I did think about how Americans were going to react.

We all know what happened. Two jackasses blew up improvised explosive devices at the Boston Marathon. What started with black powder and kitchenware ended with guns and pipe bombs.

Would they ban the sale of pressure cookers? Yes. Of course they would. And Williams Sonomais the first, though only in Massachusetts, and only “out of respect.” Respect for what? The maimed victims? No. Williams Sonoma has suspended sales of pressure cookers out of respect for that grand American tradition of blaming innocuous objects for the actions of idiots. Badpressure cookers…shame on you.

But I’m less concerned about cookware than I am ammo. And there’s no way that the Boston tragedy won’t be spun into an argument against guns.

Its all about timing

Two weeks ago, I was signing a completely different tune. I’m talking about the solid thrashing delivered to the potential gun legislation. I watched the votes come in like some of my friends watch the NFL draft. As the political winds shifted, I quietly celebrated common sense’s victory.

Now? I’m not so sure. We all know that the defeat of federal firearms legislation meant that bans on various guns and ammunition are less likely, at least at the federal level. Yet there’s a new question: will the fear of domestic terrorism cause even more people to buy guns and ammo (if they can find any)?

The answer may be phrased in the form of a question: how can we tell?

Ask a politician

One way to guess is to listen to conversations coming out of the capital. Fox News reports that the Department of Homeland Security is facing scrutiny for its huge ammo stores. Like many of us, the Department of Homeland Security is legitimately concerned about domestic terrorism. So they’re doing exactly what we are doing: they’re buying ammo.

[Republican Rep. Jason] Chaffetz, who chairs one of the House oversight subcommittees holding the hearing Thursday, revealed that the department currently has more than 260 million rounds in stock. He said the department bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million that same year — among roughly 70,000 agents.

Comparing that with the small-arms purchases procured by the U.S. Army, he said the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer, while the U.S. Army goes through roughly 350 rounds per soldier.

He noted that is “roughly 1,000 rounds more per person.”

Should we be shocked that DHS agents churn through 1,600 rounds each year? Hell no. We should be appalled that that the Army shoots only 350. I consider that a travesty.

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