Gunpowder: The Left’s New Target

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). Getty Images.

We knew it wasn’t over. President Obama told us, and for once we believed him. We knew the push to restrict our Second Amendment rights was far from over. Unfortunately, besides pushing for laws that would have done nothing to prevent Sandy Hook, they are also looking at laws that would have done nothing to prevent the Boston Marathon bombing.

Now, some on the left are pushing for more regulations on the control of the gun powder and black powder many sportsman and hobbyists use to operate their dreaded guns.

On his Senate website, Senator Frank Lautenberg – and you know what kind of a friend he is to our Second Amendment rights – vowed to introduce a bill that would restrict the sale of so-called “explosive powders”.  The press release said, “Current law allows an individual to purchase as much as 50 pounds of explosive ‘black powder’ without a background check, and also permits an individual to purchase unlimited amounts of dangerous ‘smokeless powder’ and ‘black powder substitute’ without a background check.  Sen. Lautenberg’s proposal would change that and require a background check for any purchase of these explosive powders. These powders can be used as the explosive material in assembling pipe bombs, used in the Columbine school shooting, and pressure cooker bombs, which may have been used in the recent Boston attack.”

If you can’t get the guns, go after the ammo, right?  After all, every cartridge sold in this country contains some of these “explosive powders”, so that would require a background check for even a single round (not that you can actually buy an individual bullet anywhere I’ve bought ammo).

Now, some would argue that this is the perfect solution. After all, it will also impact criminals who aren’t really buying ammo on the black market.  It will also help deal with the foreseen problem of 3D printed guns, since they can’t 3D print ammunition.

Too bad for them that it wouldn’t actually make us any safer.

First, let’s address the bomb argument. That’s the primary reason for Lautenberg’s proposal. It’s also one of the areas it will fall down first.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev is believed to have learned how to build the deadly devices due to an article run by the Islamic radical publication Inspire.  That article reportedly advises would-be bomb makers to scrape the heads of matches and mix that with sugar. Both are easily obtainable and completely unregulated. Will that be next target of regulation?

Also, was there anything in the Tsarnaev’s background that would have prevented them from purchasing so-called “explosive powders”?  Since Tamerlan Tsarnaev was free to travel to Russia and return, I’m going to guess not. The Russian government’s concerns might have been a warning to the FBI, but it was insufficient to be entered into the NCIC computer system. Basically, he would have still been able to purchase the powder.

But what about criminals?  Wouldn’t this cut down on them getting their hands on ammo?

Unfortunately, we have a model like this to look at and see how poorly background checks actually keep things out of criminals’ hands.  For example, we already mandate background checks on guns, but criminals still get them.

Instead, it will create an underground for ammunition. Straw purchasers, ammunition theft, and any number of possibilities will become a new norm for the bad guys to get their ammo. In addition, law abiding citizens will have difficulty purchasing their ammunition. Right now, law abiding citizens who have never had a brush with the law sometimes have to wait days for their background checks to come back as clear. Imagine this nightmare every time you wanted to go shooting?

As for 3D printed guns, something that barely even exists, do you really want to go there?  These are people who are quite content to make stuff themselves. Do you honestly think they can’t figure out how to make a safe smokeless powder?  At that point, you open up a whole other can of worms, because these people will share the information. Then you’re right back to square one, but now you’ve managed to infringe people’s rights in the process of accomplishing nothing.

In the wake of a terrorist attack, it’s natural for the powers that be in Washington to try and figure out how to prevent the next attack.  However, knee jerk legislation gave us things like the Transportation Safety Authority and the PATRIOT Act.  Both were supposed to keep us safe, but TSA hasn’t caught a single terrorist – and routinely fails security inspections – and the Patriot Act did such a wonderful job thwarting the Boston Marathon bombing plot, right?

Are there things that can be done to keep us safer?  Probably.  However, when you infringe on the rights of those who did nothing wrong, you’re handing a victory over to those who hate this nation due to our freedoms.  We might as well surrender to radical Islam right now if that’s how we plan on addressing terrorism.

Personally, I’d rather we address it with a bacon cheeseburger in one hand, and ice cold beer in the other while watching our favorite teams play a little pigskin and tell them to kiss us where the sun doesn’t shine.  This is the land of the free and the home of the brave after all.  I’d rather acted like it instead of regulating stuff that won’t really do anything.