Disclaimer: Not To Be Taken Seriously

Some days, I think comedy shows need disclaimers saying “this is a work of comedy, and not to be taken seriously”. Why? Because people like Nancy Giles might think such propositions are a good idea:

The comedian Chris Rock had a brilliant idea that I think both gun owners and gun control advocates could agree with (or “agree to”).
Instead of gun control, he says, “we need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost five thousand dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders.”
Sounds like a good start to me.

Really, Nancy? You think gun owners would agree to such a proposition? A 50-round box of .22LR currently costs about $2. You really think that we’d be willing to pay $250,000 for that same box? Doubtful.
Given my current budget, that single box of ammo would take a lifetime of savings for me to purchase, yet you think I’d agree that’s a good idea? I think not.
Chris Rock is a funny guy, but his idea was intended to get a laugh…not to be taken seriously.
Now, let’s play a game of what-if: What if this idea became a reality, and each cartridge cost $5,000? Like most other gun-control ideas, I’d posit that nothing good could come of it. Criminals would still be able to acquire ammunition without too much difficulty, and law abiding citizens would take the hit.
Consider this:

  • With basic equipment, one can smelt lead fishing and wheel weights into bullets. One can make higher-quality ones with a source of pure lead (like commercially-made ingots), but I can make-do with scraps.
  • Making jacketed bullets is only slightly more difficult.
  • Smokeless powder may be a bit difficult to make, but black powder can be made with sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. Sulfur is commonly available on the commercial market, charcoal can be bought anywhere, and potassium nitrate can be readily extracted from manure, guano, or urine.
  • Even if one were to sell each bullet for $1, one would still be able to recoup the startup costs quite quickly.
  • The US has thousands of miles of essentially undefended borders with Canada and Mexico, and thousands of miles of coastline. Ammunition is easily made elsewhere and smuggled in. In fact, it’d be easier than smuggling drugs, as you can’t detect lead bullets with a sniffer dog.
  • Mister_V had an disturbing thought: even if all other sources of ammo were unavailable (no making ammo at home, no importation or smuggling, etc.), then it’d be likely that the murder of police officers would increase. If criminals could overpower a police officer and steal his duty gun, extra magazines, and backup gun, they could readily net over $250,000 worth of ammunition. That’s more than most robberies bring in, so it’d look quite appealing to criminals.
  • Lots of people already have ammo, and the enactment of such a law may well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Truly, such an idea would be doomed to fail immediately. Why anyone would ever entertain such a thought for even a moment is beyond me.