There’s an old saying: An empty vessel makes the most noise. If that is so, then most anti-gun politicians, speaking about firearms, sound like 10,000 people with clubs pounding on the sides of an empty oil tanker. In the latest example of such, 20 states are petitioning the Biden administration to cease civilian sales of Lake City Arsenal 5.56mm ammo, the standard round for AR-pattern rifles.
NY Attorney General hates the thought of everyday Americans owning firearms. She works tirelessly to attack gun owners at every turn, including trying to run the NRA out of business. As if her current civil corruption trial of Wayne LaPierre isn’t enough, on Wednesday she launched a new front in her war for civilian disarmament: surplus Lake City 5.56 ammo.
She’s partnered with 19 other state attorneys general to prod the Biden Administration to shut down civilian sales of excess Lake City 5.56×45 ammunition. While that might not sound like a big deal, that ammo represents 30% of civilian sales of that flavor of AR-food.
The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, knows rather less about firearms than a rabbit knows about nuclear fusion; her press release, which you can see in its entirety here, makes a few perfectly ridiculous statements.
“Military-grade weapons and ammunition do not belong in our homes or in our communities,” said Attorney General James. “Ammunition made at Lake City has been used to kill American civilians in devastating recent mass shootings, including the Tops Supermarket massacre in Buffalo.
Letitia James, of course, couldn’t define what makes an AR-pattern rifle a “military-grade” weapon and not, say, a Remington 742, even if you spotted her a telescoping stock and a bayonet lug. But her use of the term “military-grade… ammunition” is calculated and deliberate. It is calculated to frighten the ignorant and deliberate because of her reliance on doing exactly that. This is a common tactic among anti-Second Amendment politicians and officials: Use scary terms to baffle the rubes, to push policies that will accomplish nothing; then when those policies fail, push for ever more restrictions. We’ve seen it time and again.
But here’s the real howler:
The Buffalo mass shooter even praised Lake City ammunition as “the best barrier penetration ammo I can get.”
So, we are now expected to take the word of a mass shooter as a supposed expert on ammunition performance?
It is belaboring the obvious to point out that Letitia James doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and we can take it for granted that the other 19 Attorneys General don’t, either. There are two relevant facts here:
- The 5.56mm ammo described here is not particularly powerful. In the sporting world, the 5.56mm round, which wears civilian clothes as the .223 Remington, is considered an adequate hunting round for woodchucks, prairie dogs, and maybe coyotes. Regarding penetration, the statement presumably refers to the steel-core “penetrator” ammo. If penetration is an issue, I’d certainly give the edge to most big-game cartridges, like my favorite .338 Winchester Magnum, which will let daylight in both ends of a moose, the long way.
- AG James is depending on Lake City being an ammunition manufacturer charged with making ammo for the military for the “scare” factor. But there is no difference between Lake City ammo and 5.56mm ammo made anywhere else, performance-wise, and make no mistake, if Lake City did suspend civilian sales, within a short time, civilian manufacturers would likely pick up the slack. But there’s a national security issue at stake here as well. In peacetime, civilian sales are an effective free subsidy, allowing the Lake City plant to maintain full staff and full capacity. In the event of an actual war, the Lake City Arsenal is already at capacity, with no added cost to the taxpayer. It’s also important to note that the Lake City Arsenal is not a government-run facility; the plant is run by a private contractor, and it’s not at all clear whether the Biden administration nor any other government body can order them to cease civilian sales.
Who knows what the Biden administration may do on this issue; the Biden administration probably has no idea. But here we have another example of the same old trope: anti-gun politicians and officials, bloviating about something they know nothing about, to justify yet more government intrusion that will not affect crime or mass shooters. Bear in mind, of course, that affecting crime is not the goal. The goal is civil disarmament, pure and simple, and once you accept that, all the rest of it starts to make sense.