Forget about the guns.
There are far too many of them. Forget about gun owners, as well. There are too many of them, and most of us, me included, are not willing to disarm ourselves in an increasingly dangerous world. What’s left? What about ammo?
When I bought my Remington 870 shotgun about 30 years ago, it came equipped with what they called a “duck plug.” Its purpose was to limit the amount of ammunition that could be held in the magazine to three shotgun shells. The gun was actually designed to hold five shells in the magazine, but the manufacturer, in acquiescence to federal waterfowl hunting regulations, inserted this duck plug to keep all but the most determined duck hunter from killing too many ducks in one sitting. There was, I’m sure, a lot of grumbling when this feature was first installed. But as far as I know, duck plugs are still the law of the land.
If we cam limit the firearm magazine capacity in order to protect our beloved ducks, then maybe we should invoke similar legislation to limit all firearms’ capacities so as to protect our citizens. I believe we can limit the production, possession or use of ammunition in this country. There would be a predictable howling and gnashing of teeth, but we could a least set some limits. For example:
No more than 100 rounds of centerfire ammunition in possession.
No more than 500 rounds of rimfire ammunition in possession.
No more than 12 rounds of extra ammunition while lawfully carrying a personal handgun.
If these limits won’t work, then make up some different but meaningful limits.
I would also end the practice of reloading ammunition and make the possession of any amount of the component parts — bullets, lead ingots, powder, primers, etc. — strictly illegal. Sale of scrap lead such as tire weights for the conversion into bullets would also be prohibited. Speaking of lead, we’ve controlled the use of lead in our paint, gasoline, fish, dinnerware, and shotgun shells for some time now. Maybe it’s time to get rid of it. All of this would hurt certain industries, and some would not survive. That’s the way of the world, though. The late manufacturers of typewriters, TV tubes, flashbulbs, carbon paper, and typesetting machines were forced to bite their bullets. It’s time for the bullet manufacturers to do the same.
I know that many will disagree with my over-simplified suggestion, and I have my own little stockpile of .38 Special and .32-.20 ammo to get rid of, but I don’t think there’s a constitutional guarantee that provides for limitless ammunition. And even if there is, a person’s right to exist must surely trump another person’s right to bear arms.
Mike McLellan lives in Fairbanks.