Mark Ambinder makes a good point. Certainly it works in conjunction with the statements of gun owners that they're not about firing guns, just admiring their beauty, their design, their engineering. Take a look at this chilling interview on NPR the other day with a defender of guns' "coolness."
Melissa Block, host: ...The semiautomatic AR-15 is essentially a civilian version of the military's M-16. And it is, according to the NRA, the country's best-selling firearm.
To better understand its appeal to gun owners, we turn to Malcolm Brady. He's a retired assistant director with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. And he used to carry an AR-15 in the military.
MALCOLM BRADY: It probably is the best-selling weapon and it's probably because it's a very well-made weapon. They can fashion that weapon to pretty much be whatever you want it. You know, it can come in different colors. It can come with different magazines. It can come with different stocks. And it carries a very popular round that's easy to buy and it's not that expensive. The weapon has a, shall we say, a Rambo effect, just cool to carry.
BLOCK: You said not that expensive, what would the price range be?
BRADY: You can get a real knocked down model for probably for around 500. I mean, that is really a scaled-back model. Anything with good sights and good target pooling and magazines and stocks, it's going to run near a thousand dollars or more.
BLOCK: I have to ask you, Mr. Brady, you're talking about the coolness of a weapon that was just used to mow down 20 children.
BRADY: When I say cool, it's cool because a lot of dedicated people that are entitled to carry that weapon, and carried it in the military, would like to shoot it. They see it from the aspect of reliving their days in the military. That's when I say cool.
BLOCK: Do you think, Mr. Brady, that a shooting like we've seen will tarnish the reputation of this weapon, will make gun owners less likely to want to buy it?
BRADY: I think you'll see a very large increase in the people that want to buy it. ...NPR, All Things Considered
Okay. So control ammunition, says Mark Ambinder. That would make some sense.
Go on. Get a gun to admire its (or your) "coolness." Just don't use it.
Gun owners buy ammunition frequently. The website ammunitiontogo.com, which pops up when you search for "ammunition life," features a scantily clad busty beauty holding a rifle along with a warning: "Due to the extremely high volume of orders that we are receiving at this time we are experiencing a processing delay of 6 to 7 business days. We are working very hard every day to keep the delays minimal. Your patience is greatly appreciated! Thank you for your business!."
Ammunition degrades because the gunpower inside of it does not last forever in the compressed state that it lives. The accuracy of a bullet declines slowly over time. Heat is especially bad for ammunition of all types. The more times you chamber a round, the likelier it will degrade. For most people, the decline in accuracy is mitigated somewhat by the fact that they never use their firearms for self-defense purposes. But it really can be a problem in the long-run. And that's why ammo manufacturers are even more profitable than gun manufacturers.
Because ammunition is gun food, if we can starve the guns a bit, or change the way ammunition sales are regulated and controlled, perhaps we can change the way guns are used.
Remington. Winchester. Speer. Hornady. These are the lions of the business. Let's put aside the cartridges used for hunting and sporting. Those are easily identifiable. We can exclude them from this exercise.
If we can figure out a reasonable way to limit both the number of bullets that someone can buy as well as the type of magazine that allows them to shoot an unreasonable amount of bullets in a single session, there may be a way to tame some of the value (the ease of use) that attracts criminals and, let's call them the evil opportunists — the people who need a stress to push them to use guns on innocent people.
Here's what can be done immediately: Subject ammunition purchases to the same scrutiny that goes with gun purchases. An instant background check. Slow down the process. Obviously, the more lethal a bullet is, the higher the justification to regulate. So anything that advertises itself as armor-piecing, or fragmenting, or whatever — I'm no expert — is harder for gun rights advocates to play defense with legislatively....Ambinder, The Week