Last month, around the same time the Senate was debating the immensely popular background check bill, Republicans took their “fear government” conspiracy theory to a new level. This conspiracy now has some believing that the government is buying large quantities of ammunition to keep it out of the hands of gun owners.
First it should be noted that the NRA estimates that 10 to 12 billion rounds of ammunition are produced and sold in the US each year with billions more being imported. Conversely the government request is for a mere 1.6 billion rounds over the next few years. This means, assuming the government was buying zero rounds previously, this new request only represents a 5% increase which seems unlikely to have much effect on the overall supply.
Second the amount of money spent on ammunition by gun owners has nearly tripled since the turn of the century. Given the massive amounts of rounds purchased by individuals perhaps the perceived shortage that gun advocates are concerned about is really just a self inflicted wound.
With that being said the idea that the government can choke the market seems like an ironic argument from Republicans given their blind faith in the free market. The reality is the free market should naturally respond to an increased demand with higher prices (which is not happening) or expanded production (which is happening and creating jobs).
Of course regardless of how irrational this arbitrary limit on ammunition purchases by the government may be and regardless of how this might negatively affect the government entity set up by Republicans to combat terrorism in the US that’s not even the worst part of this new gun paranoia. No, the most disturbing meme at work here is the idea that people need to fear our democratically elected officials and arm the rebels. Because you can guarantee the guys holding the largest weapons cache are not the one’s you want leading this country on the off change the conspiracy theorists are right.