The White House has denied claims made by the U.S. firearms industry that the Biden administration is considering a policy that could cut off as much as 30% of the civilian supply for popular rifle ammunition.
Winchester Ammunition, a top ammo manufacturer that supplies the U.S. armed forces, and representatives from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group, say that President Joe Biden's administration is considering a policy that would drastically reduce the availability of civilian 5.56mm/.223 caliber ammunition — rounds used by popular AR-15 rifles — and endanger U.S. national security in the process.
Larry Keane, senior vice president for government and public affairs and general counsel to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told BlazeTV host Glenn Beck Tuesday that the Biden administration is targeting a government-owned Missouri ammunition plant operated by Winchester as part of its crackdown on guns in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings.
The facility, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, produces small-caliber ammunition for the United States armed forces under a government contract with Winchester. For years, it has sold ammunition produced at the plant in excess of what the armed forces needs on the civilian market.
Last week, a blog post published on the Truth About Guns broke the news that the White House was "considering" a policy that would end the sale of excess 5.56mm/.223 ammunition on the civilian market.
Keane said he had been in contact with officials from Winchester who told him the administration had recently approached the ammo manufacturer about this plan.
"They were told that the Army is considering issuing a policy edict in which Winchester would no longer be able to sell into the commercial market excess ammunition above the needs of the military to the commercial market," Keane told Beck.
He said that excess ammunition sales currently account for 30%-40% of the market for 5.56 ammunition, which is the most popular ammo for sporting rifles, including the AR-15.
He warned that cutting off ammunition sales to the civilian market could cost Winchester as many as 500 jobs and would reduce the capacity of the plant to supply the U.S. armed forces with ammunition in an emergency war situation.
"So that's going to have a devastating effect on the commercial market for gun owners, as well [as] harm national security and military preparedness," Keane said.
Following the initial reporting on the Biden administration proposal, nearly 50 House Republicans led by Missouri Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Sam Graves called on the Biden administration to immediately end consideration of banning the commercial production at the Lake City plant.
“This is a back-door attempt by President Biden to bypass Congress and ban legal and highly popular commercial ammunition used by law-abiding Americans across the country,” Hartzler said. "The Biden administration has made their priorities clear: dismantle the Second Amendment, compromise military readiness, and push inflation to new heights. It’s time for the Biden administration to stop its attack on our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
On Tuesday afternoon, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates denied having plans to end excess ammunition sales from the Lake City plant.
"The administration is not going to restrict production/sales of excess ammunition currently available for sale to the public (including M855 and SS109) at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant," Bates said.