Forget the Guns -- Put Law Enforcement in Control of the Bullets

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The most efficient, effective way to control guns begins and ends with controlling ammunition.

World War II taught us that if you want to stop tanks from moving toward your troops, don't try to capture or destroy them -- cut off their fuel supply. Make them inoperable. The same simple logic can be applied to gun control in America.

It's unrealistic to think we can get the estimated 300 million guns off the streets and out of the hands of people who want to do mass harm. It's arguably unfair to take guns away from hunters and those responsible gun owners who feel (although I do not agree with them) that they need guns for protection. There are also those who want to skeet shoot and use guns for sport (an inane notion in my mind but to each his own, provided they do it responsibly).

Lawful gun owners, by in large, are not the ones who endanger the masses of us. The ones who use massive amounts of ammo against innocents do. Guns don't kill people, bullets do. If we used law enforcement venues (precincts, stations and offices) to regulate gun owners' access to ammunition, we would greatly limit the unstable person determined to commit mass murder. Let Wal-Mart and the hunting stores and the gun shops sell all the guns they want. Simply make it illegal for them to sell ammunition.

Require gun owners to log on to a centralized government website to order their ammo, then pick it up at their local police stations, sheriff's departments, or state trooper's offices, the only places where anyone can legally buy ammunition. Put limits on how much ammunition can be purchased at any given time, and over any given period. Keep a national "Ammo Depot" -- a database of ammunition purchased by gun owner. The government limits how much Sudafed a person can buy, why not bullets? If you're a hunter or need bullets for "protection," this provision shouldn't bother you in the least. In fact, it should make you feel even safer knowing that the bad guys can't get more ammo than you.

If you want a driver's license in the United States, you must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You also must visit the DMV to register your vehicle and get your license plates. Why not create a similar system for the sale and distribution of ammunition by law enforcement? On the surface it may seem like a huge undertaking, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

One upside of controlling access to ammunition rather than gun control is that the National Rifle Association and 2nd Amendment proponents won't have much of a leg to stand on. Ammunition regulations won't limit a person's right to bear arms whatsoever. Instead, it will greatly decrease the chances of mass murder.

We can also consider real legislation about what types of ammunition are sold. Do you want purchase bullets designed to be used in assault rifles for killing human beings? Sorry, but you can't buy those anymore, even if you just want to get your thrills by shooting them off in at a gun range. No more hollow point mass of death metal that's primary purpose is to rip the insides out of whomever it strikes.

There's also a very important revenue stream to consider. Local, state and federal governments can profit from the sale of ammunition, helping bring new money into our struggling economies. Further, we could choose to open the door to "sin" taxes, much like the ones we put on liquor and cigarettes. We're not impeding anyone's 2nd Amendment rights, after all. We're just doing what's in the masses' common good.

For "responsible" gun owners, ammunition control by law enforcement should be a welcome compromise. The argument has always been that control laws only affect responsible gun owners. The bad guys would still find a way to get their guns. The control of ammo by law enforcement will serve as a deterrent to criminals, not to the law abiding among us. We can regulate the sale of it in a way that will prevent mass murderers from executing heinous crimes while keeping responsible gun owners content if not completely happy. True, the average armed robber might be able to get enough bullets for his weapon, but the chances of an emotionally unbalanced person getting a hold of 800 rounds would be nearly if not completely impossible.

As for those who say we can't turn our police departments into retail shops for ammo, why not? We're a smart, creative nation of big thinkers. Certainly our leaders can figure out sensible ways whereby police, sheriffs and state troopers can lead the distribution of ammunition.

The safety benefits of ammunition control are priceless. Law enforcement will get to screen the ammunition applicants first hand. Officers are trained to see threats, and will be in great position to do so. And talk about a deterrent! The person who wants to use his or her gun to break a law or laws might think twice before going to the police department and standing in front of video cameras to request 300 rounds of ammo for his .45.

We can take real steps to avoid the mass murdering of innocent Americans.

The best way to control guns is not simply more gun control laws. We need to control the bullets.