On Aug. 20, the U.S. State Department announced that it would soon prohibit the importation of Russian ammunition and firearms, adding to an already dramatic ammunition supply shortage.
According to the State Department, the reason for the sudden ban is not related to some important problem with the safety of Russian firearms or ammunition; rather, the ban is part of a “second round of sanctions on the Russian Federation over its use of a ‘Novichok’ nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.”
The poisoning of Navalny, an intense critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia tightens restrictions as virus infections, deaths rise Biden should end the confusion and say America will defend Taiwan New hacking efforts show Russia undeterred by US actions MORE, was tragic and undoubtedly indicative of the tyrannical nature of the regime that continues to rule Russia. But if you believe these sanctions will hurt Russia in any meaningful way, you’re wrong.
And it’s just as absurd to think Putin will soon come crawling on his hands and knees, eager to please the State Department’s extensive demands, all to avoid relatively meager sanctions — especially in the wake of the Biden administration’s irresponsible reaction to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A much more logical (and maddening) explanation for the new sanctions is that the Biden administration wants to make it more difficult for American gun owners to buy guns and ammunition.
The timing of the new sanctions gives the game away. The United States is currently facing one of its most intense ammunition shortages in recent memory, due in large part to recent increases in gun and ammunition sales.
In 2020, firearms sales soared by more than 21 million, and an astonishing 8.4 million of those new sales were made by first-time gun owners. Perhaps watching rioters burn police stations to the ground, shoot rockets at law enforcement officers and confiscate whole city blocks for days at a time caused a lot of folks to realize that now is a good time to prioritize home safety.
With rising firearms purchases came skyrocketing ammunitions sales. As National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesperson Mark Oliva noted, “If you look at 8.4 million gun buyers and they all want to buy one box with 50 rounds, that’s going to be 420 million rounds.”
Gun and ammunition manufacturers have attempted to keep up with demand. But faced with myriad lawsuits, a shrinking class of investors willing to take heat from leftwing gun-control groups and draconian COVID-19 restrictions, U.S. manufacturers have fallen far short of meeting the needs of customers, forcing them to turn to sources overseas. As a result, ammunition imports have increased by about 225 percent since 2019.
Given the current severe ammunitions shortages, it seems like an odd time for the Biden administration to choose to ban ammunition from Russia, one of the largest foreign sources of ammunition for American gun owners — unless, of course, Biden’s goal is to make it as difficult as possible for Americans to own and operate firearms.
Biden and other liberals have long favored more restrictions on guns and ammunition.
And if it weren’t for recent Supreme Court rulings upholding the plain meaning of the Second Amendment, they likely would have succeeded during the Obama era.
In the absence of restricting gun ownership, the next best way to limit gun rights is to make firearm ownership and use prohibitively expensive and difficult. That may be the real reason for the White House’s latest round of sanctions on Russia, and it’s part of a much larger effort that extends far beyond trade regulations.
In addition to pushing for new federal gun restrictions and taxes, leftwing activists and investors have launched various other assaults aimed at gun owners, manufacturers and sellers.
For example, it’s now common practice for anti-gun groups to sue manufacturers whenever there is a highly publicized mass shooting, and then for courts to keep sellers and manufacturers bogged down in costly cases for many years.
High legal expenses and bad press that keep investors away are two of the biggest reasons Remington Arms filed for bankruptcy in 2020, despite the year’s high gun sales. At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Remington was still in the midst of fending off lawsuits first filed in the wake of the mass shooting that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
Some banks, financial institutions and investors have also been working in recent years to punish gun manufacturers and sellers. Citibank, Bank of America, PayPal and other supporters of the environmental, social and governance movement sweeping corporate and financial America are using their wealth and power to deny access to capital and other banking and financial services to some gun manufacturers and sellers. Over time, this problem is likely to get substantially worse, putting the entire industry at risk.
The left knows it doesn’t have the political power to do what it really wants – a near-complete repeal of the Second Amendment – so it has turned to every other trick in the book to accomplish the same goal, while hiding, as the Biden administration is now, its true motivation.
Justin Haskins is the director of the Stopping Socialism Project at The Heartland Institute, where he also serves as a research fellow and editorial director.