One American Citizen

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Ammunition Background Checks

     Washington is proposing some seriously restrictive gun laws this legislative session. Most I am 100% against, but there is one that is interesting to me. It is the background checks for ammunition purchases, but not in it's current form. This bill is currently flawed as it will basically eliminate online ammo sales to the state of Washington, but could it actually reduce gun related violence? I think it could and would reduce gun violence by a small percentage.
     I think its been pretty much conceded that criminals are going to get guns regardless of whether they legally can or not, and the same argument could be made about ammunition in most cases, but it could actually stop a few people from dying. I have been thinking about this proposal a lot and have come to the conclusion that it is worth a shot. Now, its not going to stop criminals from stealing a gun with ammunition already in it, those aren't the people that are going to be stopped by it. The people that will be stopped by it are the people who are ineligible to own firearms that are looking to do mass harm to people or commit a crime of passion. I can speak from experience that even under aged people can buy ammo. When I was 17, I could go to about any big box store and purchase ammo because they failed to ID me and I'm sure its no different now. Had there been a background check, I'm certain I would have walked out empty handed.
     Under aged buyers are not that big of a threat, but what about crimes of passion, such as domestic violence encounters? If a person is charged with domestic violence or has a restraining order filed against them, that person can no longer own a firearm, at least for the time being. A background check on ammo could prevent that person from getting a hold of a firearm and buying ammo when he intends to do harm with it. I understand that this will have limited effect, but if it could save a single life, why not save it.
     It could also prevent a student from acquiring ammo when they intend to do harm to their fellow students. It isn't going to stop an 18 year old from buy ammo but what about the 17 year old that took his dads gun and goes to Walmart to buy ammo to take to school? Those are the types of situations that this type of law could potentially have a positive effect on. It isn't a catch all and its not going to stop everyone, but if it stops one would be shooter, again why not stop them.
     I'm still skeptical, but it could even have a positive effect on gun violence committed by known criminals with stolen firearms. Right now, anyone with a valid ID can buy ammo regardless of their background. If a criminal has a gun, he can get ammo anywhere. Why would we want that? I don't, if the criminal is out of ammo, I want him to stay out of ammo or at least have some road blocks to getting more. If this law stops one more convenience store clerk from being shot, again, why not stop it.
     This bill needs to be modified for me to even approach getting on board with it. For starters, this should be exempted from online sales of ammo. I'm not sure if there is data, but I would bet money that there aren't very many incidents of gun violence where the ammo was purposely bought online to commit the act of violence. This law would be intended to stop underage buyers and crimes of passion. Those people generally buy on impulse and are not okay with waiting for the item to be shipped to them. If kids are buying ammo online and their parents don't know about it, that is a completely separate issue that needs to be dealt with in a different manner. I enjoy buying my ammo online because I can buy it in bulk for a cheaper cost than in a store. I won't support a bill that would take that away from me.
     Now, there are some things that would have to happen in order for me to get on board with this. First, and most importantly, this cannot lead to any sort of database that tracks who buys what. It is not the governments business what I buy or how many rounds I purchase. This goes for any background check for firearm related components. Next, It must be free. I don't want this to raise the price of ammunition because then it would be a de facto tax on a right and that is never okay. Third, it must be convenient to use. I cannot support a system that turns a 30 second transaction into a 30 minute ordeal. I should be able to walk up to the counter, punch in my social security number and get an instant result of whether I am eligible or not and if you have a CPL, that should be enough. If those three requirements are not met, then the idea should be completely scrapped.
     For those that completely disagree with me, rest assured. Even if this bill is passed this session, nothing will change. At this point in time, the federal government does not allow the use of it's instant background check system for ammunition purchases. The bill recognizes that and states "(2) Beginning on the date that is thirty days after the attorney general certifies that federal law has been amended to authorize the use of the national instant criminal background check system for ammunition transfers, a dealer must then initiate a check of that system before completing any ammunition transfer". This means that there is plenty of time to get this repealed because I don't see the federal government changing their rules any time soon.
   The point of all if this is that if there is a system in place that doesn't infringe on my rights and only cost me a minute or two, why not have it if it could potentially save a life. This isn't the right bill but the idea is worth looking at. In my opinion, this idea is the only "common sense" idea that has ever been proposed. Gun violence is a problem and I think it would be irresponsible of us gun owners to stand in the way of saving a life especially when it has a net zero effect on you.

-American Citizen

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