Thirty-one House Democrats have proposed legislation that would prevent people from buying ammunition online, and would instead require all purchases to be made in person — a change they admit is aimed at preventing people from buying “unlimited” ammunition over the Internet.

The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, from freshman Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), would also require all ammo dealers to be licensed by the government, and require bulk ammo purchases to be reported to the government.


Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), at the podium, introduced a bill with several other Democrats to stop online sales of ammunition. Image: Watson Coleman’s Facebook page

Coleman said in a Facebook post that the bill would “better track and regulate the unlimited market for ammunition currently available on the Internet.”

One of the bill’s cosponsors, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), said in his own Facebook post that limiting ammunition is one of the best ways to curb gun violence.

“Far too many times, we have seen the shocking images of unspeakable gun violence that could have been prevented,” he wrote. “Our bill to limit the online sale of ammunition is a long-overdue common sense reform that I am hopeful will spark Congress to put aside party difference and come together to help prevent such senseless tragedies.”

“Reforming the unregulated online ammo market could prevent next gun tragedy,” he said.

The trouble for Democrats is that Republicans see attempts to limit access to ammunition as attempts to undermine the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Republicans just went through a similar fight, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a regulation that tried to ban a widely used type of ammunition used in the popular AR-15 rifle.

The ATF tried to argue the ammunition was armor piercing and therefore should not be exempt from an ammo ban, even though it had enjoyed this exemption for years. The ATF ultimately decided to pull back the ban after it received nearly 90,000 comments, most of which opposed the plan.

But Democrats didn’t give up. Soon after the ATF reversed its decision, four Democrats proposed a bill that would codify the ATF’s original plan.