The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 16, 2013

Online ammunition sales drawing scrutiny

WASHINGTON — Legislation to regulate online purchases of ammunition and high-capacity magazines is bringing new attention to a growing cyberspace ammo market that’s operated with little government oversight.

Under federal law, firearms dealers must obtain federal licenses and keep records of their weapons transactions, but there’s virtually no federal regulation of ammunition suppliers or sales — though there was before 1986. Adults who want to stockpile large amounts of ammo can buy it from dozens of websites that specialize in bulk sales, often at low prices. Some sites hawk magazines that fire up to 100 rounds without reloading, which critics argue have been tied to deadly mass shootings and should be outlawed.

Some of the online sellers list no names of their owners, give only post office boxes as their addresses and ship merchandise to customers using overnight couriers. Buyers can access a special search engine to compare inventory and prices at more than 30 dealers.

Nima Samadi, who follows the $3 billion-a-year small arms industry for the market research firm IBISWorld, said online ammo sales had been gaining in popularity “due to convenience and lower prices consumers can get by buying in bulk online.”

The 1986 Firearm Owners’ Protection Act made retail interstate shipments of ammunition legal. The law allowed ammunition to be shipped to individuals through the mail and eliminated prior record-keeping requirements.

When gun control advocates proposed restricting online ammo sales last summer, the National Rifle Association noted on its website that officials of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had concluded by the 1980s that licensing ammo dealers for nearly two decades had provided “no substantial law enforcement value” in keeping bullets out of the wrong hands. Officials supported loosening regulation at that time. ATF spokesman Mike Campbell said in an interview that the agency no longer commented on pending legislation.

Some gun control advocates in Congress hope that public outrage over the massacre last month in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 elementary school children and six school employees were killed, will prompt a closer look at these businesses.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., refiled a bill from last summer that would end online and mail-order sales by requiring that ammunition transactions take place “face to face.”

The bill also would license ammo dealers and require them to report purchases of 1,000 rounds or more, which McCarthy has said would bring ammunition sales “out of the shadows and into the light, where criminals can’t hide and responsible dealers can act as a line of defense against the planning and stockpiling of a potential mass killer.”

In a separate action, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said last week that he’d push for instant background checks to prevent ammo from being sold to felons, the mentally ill and others who are prohibited from buying firearms. In a prepared statement, Blumenthal called ammunition sales “the black hole in gun violence prevention.”

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Lower-income teens don’t get enough sleep

    African-American high school students and boys in low- to middle-income families reported short, fragmented sleep, and that could play a role in their health risks, researchers reported Monday.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • Health agencies try to counter mumps outbreak

    Health agencies trying to stem a large and growing mumps outbreak are advising college, school and even day care leaders to make sure central Ohio students are immunized and to separate them from those who haven’t been vaccinated and those who are infected.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • An ocean of broken hearts

    Lee Byung-soo says he knew, when he saw his 15-year-old son’s body in the tent. It could not have been more horrifically obvious. But he wanted so much for him to be alive.

    April 22, 2014

  • Biden conferring with Ukranian leader over what to do
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday for talks with Ukraine’s embattled interim leaders as Russia’s top diplomat blamed Washington for instigating the crisis that threatens to escalate into armed conflict between the two former Soviet republics.
     

    April 22, 2014

  • Panel’s role in Cleveland police ruling questioned

    A lawyer for families of men killed in separate 2012 shootings by Cleveland police — including a 137-bullet chase under federal investigation — is questioning a grand jury’s role in a recent county prosecutor’s ruling.

    April 21, 2014

  • Gender gap under Ohio governor nearly $10 an hour

    A newspaper investigation has found the average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown to as much as almost $10 an hour, as it’s shrunk to under a dollar across the rest of state government.

    April 21, 2014

  • OBIT Rubin Carter Box_Lind.jpg Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

    Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, died Sunday. He was 76.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MAG-kramer25p-Janae-O-Neal.jpg Kramer the labradoodle soothes students, staff at middle school

    Once upon a time there was a dog that went to middle school.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ohio sees record high heroin overdose deaths

    A record number of Ohioans died from heroin-related overdoses in 2012, the state Department of Health said as it released the newest available figures for a problem that’s been called an epidemic and a public health crisis.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Ohio’s jobless rate dips to 6.1 percent in March

    Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped in March to 6.1 percent, its lowest level in six years, according to state job figures released Friday.

    April 19, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video