Is ''ammunition control'' legal?

Before the Oklahoma City Bombing I recall I was an enthusiastic gardener and would go to a nearby supply store and get a large bag of ammonium nitrate cheap. Now retail ammonium nitrate is expensive and difficult to find at retail outlets.

So it occurred to me, could gun control enthusiasts get regulations making some component of ammunition expensive or otherwise difficult to obtain. I’ve no idea what is in ammunition. It is just a hunch that some country or company may control the most of some component.

There have been attempts to regulate reloading components in California, but last I checked it was challenged and not legal statewide. Individual jurisdictions may have their own regulations.

It’s stupid because the people who reload aren’t the types to be criminal. The process is involved and requires tweaking. It’s a solution looking for a problem.

Legally, I think a judicial court is more likely to see it as a “backdoor” ban.

Devil’s advocate because I don’t know gardening: is this because of potential misuse, or for economic reasons? Are there better options now?

Cases can be reused. Bullets can be cast with spare lead. Powder and primer single-use and have some limits in place, e.g. can’t usually be shipped by air. About 2 years ago they were both hard to find due to shortages but are now plentiful.

Chris Rock had a thought along these lines as well.

The idea of limiting ammunition quantities is completely backwards and pointless in regard to stopping crime. It only takes one bullet, or a handful of them to murder someone. The largest, extremely rare mass shootings might use a few hundred rounds at most. A target shooter might go through that in an afternoon. (A traditional full bullseye pistol match is 270 rounds.)

The media like to say things like “the suspect was found with an arsenal of thousands of rounds of ammunition” as if that is something sinister. A serious target shooter will shoot thousands, potentially tens of thousands of rounds a year. Ammo is cheaper when bought in bulk, and if properly stored it will last many years. I’ve shot 50-year-old ammo and it worked fine. So, regular shooters can often have very large amounts of ammo.

Limits on the amount of ammo people can buy or own would only burden recreational and competitive shooters and do nothing whatsoever to stop criminals, unless they effectively ban guns by making the ammo limit zero.

Ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil make a very nice bomb. It’s what was used for the Oklahoma City bombing, among others. So yes, although a very nice fertilizer there is also a definite misuse potential.

I’m sure it is. My question was whether its 2016 availability is due to fears of bombings, or due to a plethora of alternate, possibly simpler explanations?

Ammunition in its simplest form consists of brass for the cartridge case, lead for the bullets, gunpowder, and the primer. None of those are particularly hard to come by. The cartridge case has to be precisely shaped in order to function properly, so that would be an obstacle for an average gun owner, and the primer is volatile while it is being produced so that would also be an obstacle. Also, not all gunpowders are the same, so the basic formula won’t work uniformly without causing overpressure incidents, and when guns blow up in peoples’ hands it tends to be ugly.

All of those obstacles are able to be overcome given enough experimentation with perfectly common and legal materials. That said, do you want your neighbor experimenting with explosives in order to make his ammunition because you legislated a ban on pre-made ammunition? Even if you shrug your shoulders and say “who cares about gun nuts, at least it’s not a kid” or whatever justification you might come up with, keep in mind that sooner or later someone you do care about is going to blow their hand off with unregulated basement ammunition, or the guy next door is going to blow up his house and maybe yours.

As a practical matter, therefore, ammunition control is impossible. Which is good, because as a legal matter it would be deemed unconstitutional almost immediately. Once the individual right to guns was Incorporated ammunition was tacitly protected for the obvious reason that a gun is useless without ammunition. Certain types of ammunition can be banned or controlled (e.g., the .50 caliber ban in California), but you can’t do it across the board.

Better alternatives are not on the shelves, otherwise I don’t know. I went to Bush Alaska for a few years and when I returned and resumed gardening ammonium nitrate was noticeably less readily available.

My original question was about the legality of regulating the components of ammo. Thanks.

They do control ammunition in England, quite strictly. And they won’t sell you primers (or shouldn’t) without seeing your gun licence.

In the Heller decision that is the touchstone of modern Second Amendment law, Justice Scalia’s opinion for the court made clear that most forms of gun regulation short of an outright ban would likely be upheld. The obstacles to tighter gun control are political, not legal. My assumption is that the same is true about ammunition.

You must have got the special SCOTUS annotated copy of the Heller decision. If not the basis for your conclusions are missing.

No its not impossible, its impossible in the US due to politics. Ammunition is impossible for the average person to buy in Australia and if you were start making your own in a backyard shed I suspect you’d very quickly receive an unwelcome visit.

The United States is not Australia. I’d have thought that would have been clear by now, what with being on different continents and in different hemispheres.

Your knowledge of US law is as lacking as your knowledge of geography. It has nothing to do with politics. We have the right to keep and bear arms, and therefore we have the right to possess (and even manufacture) ammunition because a gun is useless without ammunition. In the United States it is a legal question, not a political one.

Now, if you want to argue that gun control is political, you’d be on firm ground. But ammunition is unregulated and will remain so. In fact, companies compete to sell you the equipment to reload and make your own.

To sum up the Original Question, a perceived shortage of ammonium nitrate is not part of an official government program to prevent shooters from reloading ammunition. There might be some more controls over it to prevent private citizens from using it to create ANFO explosives. But that’s not what the OT was about.

I have never lived in Australia, but a Google suggests that reloading is a possibility and indeed there are dozens of Australia-created “wildcat” calibers dating decades back which are literally impossible to purchase and can only be reloaded.

I’m replying to the post above that is inferring that no legal regulation could ever succeed in controlling sale of ammunition. Its perfectly possible and lots of countries make it very difficult to buy ammunition and control it tightly. Its impossible in the US due to your constitution and laws and politics, not because its physically or practically impossible to tightly control ammunition.

Heller does speak directly to “bans” but really the Heller standard is that laws are suspect that implicate the right to arms to the point where guns are no longer readily usable or effective for the core use of self-defense. “Regulation” has a wide effect and one can’t legitimately say that all regulation is permissible any more than one can say that no regulation is permissible.

Heller has been applied to ammunition possession bans and those laws have been struck down. In 2010 the DC Circuit said in Herrington v US:
[INDENT]“In neither Heller nor McDonald did the Supreme Court directly address restrictions on the possession of ammunition per se.  (The District’s requirement that lawfully-maintained firearms be kept unloaded was not challenged in Heller.)   Nonetheless, from the Court’s reasoning, it logically follows that the right to keep and bear arms extends to the possession of handgun ammunition in the home;  for if such possession could be banned (and not simply regulated), that would make it “impossible for citizens to use [their handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.” 22  By the same token, given the obvious connection between handgun ammunition and the right protected by the Second Amendment, we are hard-pressed to see how a flat ban on the possession of such ammunition in the home could survive heightened scrutiny of any kind.   We therefore conclude that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to possess ammunition in the home that is coextensive with the right to possess a usable handgun there.”[/INDENT]
There certainly is a 2nd Amendment enforced right to possess effective self-defense ammunition. Precisely how much “regulation” is constitutional, remains to be established but gun control proponents should remember that the purpose of “regulation” is to - adjust for proper function- not to remove all function . . .

I stopped reloading a while ago but I remember thinking that primers were the weak link. You can make almost any of the other components with the equivalent of a home meth lab and metal shop but making primers is not something you can do in your garage.

Where do you get the impression that anything short of an outright ban is ok?

Scalia’s opinion is quite clear that the Court is only ruling upon “the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,” and it mentions more than once that a wide variety of gun regulation remains permissible (while further noting specifically that the examples of permissible regulation that it cites should not be considered exhaustive).