How Ammunition Control Can Help Solve America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

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In 2018, a question that many American citizens are asking themselves is how can we solve the gun violence epidemic terrorizing our country?

Gun reform is, of course, the most obvious solution—universal background checks, gun licensing and training, higher buying age, mental health screening, banning semi-automatic weapons, storage requirements, waiting periods, and registration and insurance for all firearms.

These are all extremely important steps the United States government can take to help combat the issue of gun violence we are faced with. However, an aspect of gun reform that doesn’t tend to come up in conversation very often, but that would be a game changer of sorts, is ammunition control.

Ammunition is what truly renders firearms lethal, yet the obtainment of ammunition in America is surprisingly easy. It only costs $12 to purchase 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition, which is used in a common handgun. No background check is necessary for a purchase like this, nor an ID.

As an off-the-bat disclaimer, ammunition control is not prohibited in any way by the Second Amendment. In fact, there are even cities in America that have already adopted this practice, such as Sacramento, California, which has resulted in murder rates declining more than 30% from 2008 to 2013.

The buying of ammunition was already regulated at one point in the United States, as well. Retailers were required to log all ammunition sales as stated by the Gun Control Act of 1968. These restrictions were later lifted by former President Ronald Reagan under the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, but it has clearly done nothing to “protect” anyone.

Looking at countries such as Japan, where gun deaths have been virtually eliminated, you see not only gun control, but ammunition control as well.

“In Japan, shooting is not something you do to let off steam,” says Anna Fifield of the Washington Post after meeting Hiroshi Yanagida, 70-year-old sport shooter from Japan. “People don’t go to their local ranges in t-shirts and jeans to unload a few rounds into an Osama bin Laden target.”

Not only is the act of actually obtaining a gun in Japan incredibly difficult, but one must also upkeep a log of every single time they fire a bullet, which can be regularly inspected by law enforcement.

There are similar laws regarding ammunition control in other countries with low gun-death rates, such as Israel, Switzerland and Serbia.

In Israel, citizens are only able to own one gun, a handgun, which comes with a box of 50 bullets at the point of purchase. These 50 bullets are a lifetime supply, though shooting ranges will provide additional bullets to be used only at the range itself.

Switzerland and Serbia have more relaxed gun regulations in comparison to Israel, but purchasing ammunition still requires all of the same background checks and paperwork that purchasing an actual gun does. Along with this, ammunition can only be bought for the gun it will be used for. In Switzerland specifically, gun ammunition cannot even be stored in one’s home, but rather in city arsenals.

With such polarizing views between Americans on the solution to gun violence, a compromise will have to be made. If right-wings will not bend to stricter gun laws, perhaps they will listen to a proposition of stricter ammunition laws.

With such polarizing views between Americans on the solution to gun violence, a compromise will have to be made. If right-wings will not bend to stricter gun laws, perhaps they will listen to a proposition of stricter ammunition laws.

Regardless, the gun problem in the United States is widespread and only getting worse. Solutions must be not only thought up, but acted upon. American citizens in support of gun reform will have to be creative in their quest to make their country safe again, and perhaps ammunition control will be a building block to this hope.

Photo: DVIDSHUB via Flickr

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