Original post below.
The Shooting Wire:
No Longer Just ParanoiaMr. Shepherd has nailed it this time. They are going to do everything they can to ensure that the American people are disarmed. A outright ban on weapons was too obvious. So they try back door methods. A rule requiring the destruction of surplus brass--surplus brass which is essential in keeping any kind of supply going at all--has the effect of destroying what was already a meager supply.
For months, anyone who's proffered the position that the Obama Administration was anti-gun has been dismissed as being a variety of things, from sore loser to rampant paranoid. Nonetheless, since assuming office, members of the Obama administration have steadily- and stealthily- moved against firearms and ammunition.
Their only public blunder was Attorney General Holder's saying the "assault weapons ban" needed to be reinstated. Quickly, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi - no friend of gun owners - went on record as opposing Holder's suggestion. She went as far as to parrot the words of pro-gun groups, saying the government should enforce the laws on the books today, rather than introducing new laws.
At the same time, the State Department notified Canadian authorities of plans to issue an export ban on "military caliber ammunition" to Canada. That proposed action would prevent the sales of .223, .308 and other military calibers.
When Canadian authorities protested - and notified several members of the American media, the U.S. State Department suddenly went silent. But they quietly reinstated other rules and charges firearms exports-retroactively.
While it seemed they had been headed off on one proposal, they had actually drawn attention away from other actions. If you're into incrementalism, that translates as a win.
Anything passed brings the ultimate goal that much closer.
Last Friday, the anglers and hunters were notified that the National Park Service planned to make all lands under their control totally lead-free by 2010. No lead in ammo or fishing tackle.
As we report in today's Outdoor Wire, that decision has kicked off howls of protests - and questions about the NPS trying to usurp states' rights by issuing their unilateral decision with no prior notification. It's definitely not going to be a decision without some serious discussions. That still doesn't mean the NPS will back off on their decision.
All these things are racing along on parallel tracks. Now, many observers - and not just those on the pro-gun side of the discussion - believe the country is hurtling toward a confrontation.
The catalyst might be any one of several flashpoint issues, but both groups seem to believe a reckoning is unavoidable.
For months, I've gotten reports of everything from re-tasking of military heavy assault units for domestic violence scenarios to calls for "committees of correspondence" designed to spread news the way word was spread by citizens of the then-British colonies.
In each instance, I've discounted the reports as internet hysteria that has produced breathless notices of "the real-deal on the new assault weapon ban"- or references to HR45 - a gun registration bill that is a prime example of "eyewash legislation". It's purpose has already been achieved.
Part of that discounting has been due to the fact that hot-blooded rhetoric seems to run along with firearms ownership.
To the chagrin of industry officials, there's never a shortage of people willing to go on camera, get red-faced and spout "from my cold dead hands" phrases.
Admittedly, those people concern me, but more for their reinforcement of a negative stereotype to people who have no opinion one way or the other on firearms.
Today, however, a report that has nothing to do with rhetoric, hyperbole or rumor.
A very disturbing report that points to a very real assault on ammunition supplies.
The Department of Defense has issued a directive that bans the sale of military brass to ammunition re-manufacturers.
Without that brass, a very large dent is put into civilian ammunition supplies.
New Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) requirements call for the "mutilation of shell casings". Mutilation, incidentally, is the destruction of the property "to the extent that prevents its reuse or reconstruction".
Government officials will determine what constitutes "sufficient mutilation" but it's safe to say that it will no longer be suitable for remanufacturing.
The first word of this latest decision came over the weekend when Georgia Arms' Larry Haynie released a letter notifying him of the new requirement.
For a company with an order in for 30,000 pounds of expended military brass in .223, .308 and .50 BMG, that was not a pleasant notification.
Georgia Arms was remanufacturing more than one million rounds of .223 ammunition monthly; selling that ammo on the civilian market to resellers and to government agencies all over the country.
Tomorrow, Georgia Arms will start sending cancellation notices for .223 ammunition to law enforcement agencies across the United States. Haynie says he may have to layoff half of his sixty-person workforce.
The message is simple. The implication is chilling.
A new welcome page posted on Georgia Arms' website (www.georgia-arms.com) says simply "Due to new government regulations concerning the purchase of surplus brass, we are removing sales of all 223 and all 308 until further notice."
>From there, it directs visitors to the government website for contacting elected representatives.
All of us need to start contacting our elected representatives -and telling them, quite directly, that we're not going to put up with a move that not only curtails access to ammunition (nearly all .223 and .308 manufacturing capacity is tied up to satisfy the needs of the military) for civilians - but wastes taxpayers' money turning usable surplus into scrap metal.
Reducing the ammo brass to scrap reduces the value of the metal/surplus by nearly eighty percent. It also means that recast brass - in shippable form - may be shipped to China, one of the largest markets for U.S. metals on the world market.
If this is allowed to go unchallenged, anyone who owns a modern or traditional rifle in .223 or .308 calibers will see the impact- probably sooner than later.
"Anyone" in this context means everyone from recreational shooters to law enforcement trainers.
Pulling military brass out of the consumer supply chain means that all the manufacturing capacity being dedicated to meeting the military need will effectively become unavailable to civilians - forever.
Export rulings, lead bans, and brass mutilation orders from separate areas of the federal government look coincidental - on the surface. I'm not big on conspiracy theories - partially because I doubted the new administration would have gotten its collective act together so rapidly.
Seems I've been wrong on that one - and mistakenly using the word "hoard" when talking about the nearly-insatiable demand for ammunition that continues across the country. Today, laying up of ammunition might be better described as prudent preparation for possible problems.
States are beginning to serve notice to the federal government they will not enforce laws that violate individual rights. The federal government seems intent on creating a society with increasingly higher numbers of people dependent on the government for either sustenance or employment. Average citizens are beginning to grow tired of being asked to "tote the note" for others' irresponsibility.
These are, indeed, uncertain times.
Today, it's important that every reader take time to notify Congress that we - taxpayers - oppose this latest DOD move- and all the other not-so-subtle moves against gun owners.
You can contact your elected officials in Washington by going to this webpage http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and following the links to your respective Senator or Congressman.
One key member of the United States Senate is Montana's Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Baucus could make a call to the Pentagon and let them know their budgets might be reexamined if they don't reconsider this latest directive. At that point, the directive might labeled a "misunderstanding" and rescinded.
But it is important that we keep pressure on Congress.
If that means phone calls, e-mails, and letters, let's get that done. If that doesn't produce results, we need to look beyond symbolic gestures like sending tea bags or bringing hundreds of thousands of gun owners to Washington and state capitols to protest.
These are, indeed, uncertain times. But the time for uncertain actions may be passing.
We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, maintain situational awareness.
Don't believe for a second that this was just bureaucratic stupidity. This was an intentional, calculated act of aggression by a government that is out of control, and is just going to get worse.