Peck: A new twist on ‘batteries not included’ | Local
Many Americans grinned from ear to ear when they found a new weapon under the tree on Christmas morning.
But with a nationwide ammunition shortage that has persisted for several years, there’s a good chance that a smaller, brightly wrapped, supplementary package of bullets wasn’t part of the best gift ever.
With the Biden-Harris team ready to take over government on January 20, there is real fear among Americans that this crew will keep their promise to take away modern sport rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47.
You can bet your last ball that this is another campaign promise that just won’t happen.
Americans LOVE their AR platforms. Data compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows that we have purchased 19.8 million “modern sports rifles” since 1990. The people at NSSF also say that 214 million new weapons were made available to American consumers from 1991 to 2019.
High capacity magazines currently in circulation are another interesting factoid of the NSSF: There are 71.2 million pistol magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and 79.2 rifle clips that can hold up to 30 rounds of ammunition in public areas.
“Americans clearly have a strong desire to buy modern sporting rifles and other firearms for legitimate purposes,” said Joe Bartozzi, CEO of the NSSF.
Statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show that there are 434 million firearms for nowowned by American citizens. With only 330 Americans, that’s a lot of guns.
A modern sporting rifle like the AR-15 retails for near $ 700 to $ 2,000. Trick your favourite A gun with high quality optics can easily add an additional $ 1,000 on the value of the weapon.
If the incoming Biden-Harris administration passes a “surrender of your guns or something” bill through Congress, it will certainly face challenges that will end in the Supreme Court.
A decision by SCOTUS on the seizure of weapons in a few years’ time is unlikely. A decision in this direction is controversial anyway. A sizable percentage of law abiding citizens instantly become outlaws, including this writer.
A firearm is not a useful tool without ammunition. Several factors have broken the ammunition supply chain in recent years.
Rick Patterson of the Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturing Institute (SAAMI) told me in a phone interview earlier this week that ammunition companies are “operating at full capacity to keep up with consumer demand.”
Patterson said bullet making was seen as an essential business that is largely exempt from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. But changing times have seen esteemed American institutions such as Marlin and Remington Arms file for bankruptcy and restrict ammunition production.
“In 2018 ammunition manufacturers produced 8.7 billion cartridges for all weapon calibers,” Patterson said. “Smaller companies like Barnes Bullets are working around the clock to keep up with demand.”
But even a gun industry insider like Patterson stands in front of a cucumber with no batteries. Rick said he got himself a very expensive Italian shotgun over / under 20 gauge for Christmas and then went to a local shooting range to warm up the baby.
“The only 20-gauge cartridges available were made by Nobel Munition, a European company,” Patterson said.
My advice for 2021? Do not listen to Wilhelm the vain and buy gold. Spend your disposable income on weapons and ammunition – especially ammunition. Durable goods are wise investments in these crazy times.
A gun with a lot of ammunition is the gift that you give again and again. Happy New Year, dear readers!
Ted Peck, a certified merchant marine captain, is an outdoor columnist for The Gazette. Email him at [email protected]