The Biden administration has taken a new, more subtle tack toward gun control. Choke off the supply of ammunition.
And Republicans are demanding answers.
The conservative website The Federalist recently reported that the White House plans to shut down an ammo plant in northwestern Missouri.
The factory has supplied bullets to the U.S. military since 1941. It’s owned by the federal government, but operated by Winchester, according to The Federalist.
Under the gunmaker’s deal with the feds, the company can sell off any excess it makes after supplying the troops. The factory makes the M855 5.56mm/.223-caliber rounds used with the most popular rifle in America: the AR-15 and comparable models.
In the news: DHS Warns Pro-Life Groups To Prepare For “Night of Rage” When Roe Opinion Drops
Mark Oliva, spokesman for the pro-Second Amendment National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Federalist that the Biden administration’s plan would freeze more than 30 percent of the ammo supply for AR-15s.
The move, Oliva added, would also jeopardize at least 400 jobs and “risks the ammunition industry’s ability to surge production capacity for national defense.”
This week, 50 House Republicans fired off a letter to President Joe Biden, seeking answers to what is happening to the plant.
“Having the ability to produce this product for commercial sale allows the operating contractor to maintain capacity and keep the facility at a high state of readiness, at no cost to the government. This ensures the Army is ready to ramp up production in the event of a national emergency,” the letter noted.
“Not only will this decision have significant negative consequences for the workforce at the facility, but it will compromise Army readiness by further delaying the deployment of the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW).” And it would “result in the immediate termination of up to 500 highly skilled employees and undermine the facility’s ability to hire and retain the skilled workforce needed to carry out the contract with the Department of Defense.”
Moreover, the lawmakers wrote, “the decision will exacerbate an already serious shortage of ammunition in the commercial market currently facing law-abiding gun owners. Severely limiting the commercially available 5.56mm ammunition, which is most popularly used in modern sporting rifles (MSRs), is effectively a politically sanctioned semi-automatic rifle ban.”
“This blatantly infringes on the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution by limiting law-abiding gun owners’ ability to legally purchase or use lawful semi-automatic rifles.”
Finally, they argued, “Prohibiting the contractor’s ability to produce commercial ammunition would have a negative impact on both Lake City and the Army’s ammunition industrial base budget. This will ultimately result in increased costs for taxpayers at a time when inflation has hit every part of the economy, including the cost and availability of ammunition.”
“We urge you to immediately end consideration of this action, which we view as a backdoor attempt to bypass Congress and ban legal and highly popular commercial ammunition and certain semi-automatic rifles used by law-abiding Americans across the country,” the lawmakers maintained.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates denied that was the administration’s intent. In a tweet, he said the plant would remain open. “The administration is not going to restrict production/sales of excess ammunition currently available for sale to the public,” Bates added.
The key phrase, of course, is “currently available.” Nothing in that comment about the future of the plant or the commercial side of its operation.
GOP lawmakers from Florida who signed the letter included Reps. Kat Cammack of Gainesville, Bill Posey of Rockledge, John Rutherford of Jacksonville, Michael Waltz of St. Augustine, and Greg Steube of Sarasota.
Meanwhile, as The Free Press reported last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz has questioned why the IRS has purchased more than $700,000 of ammo this year.
“There is concern,” the Fort Walton Beach Republican told Breitbart News, “that this is part of a broader effort to have any entity in the federal government buy up ammo to reduce the amount of ammunition that is in supply, while at the same time, making it harder to produce ammo.”