28 Republican AGs Say Ending Ammo Sales At Missouri Plant Could Harm National Security

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 01, 2024 - 01:20 AM

Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Attorneys General of 28 states are demanding that President Joe Biden ignore a request to investigate the Lake City Army Ammunition plant’s policy of selling 5.56 mm rifle ammunition to civilians.

A man loads .223-caliber bullets into an AR-15 rifle magazine at FT3 tactical shooting range in Stanton, Calif., on May 3, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A Jan. 24 letter written by Attorneys General Andrew Bailey of Missouri, Brenna Bird of Iowa, and Todd Rokita of Indiana and signed by 25 other attorneys general, warns that ending sales would harm America’s military readiness and do nothing to prevent crime.

The letter derides a previous missive, dated Jan. 9 and written by New York Attorney General Letitia James and signed by 19 other Attorneys General calling for the investigation, as dangerous and uninformed.

According to the James letter, the Lake City plant in Missouri has flooded communities with “military-grade” ammunition that has been used in a number of mass shootings.

Compounding the horror, the bullets used in this violence were subsidized by American taxpayers, as the federal government has apparently invested more than $860 million to improve production,” the letter reads.

In their response, Mr. Bailey and his colleagues claim the writers of the Jan. 9 letter either don’t understand or are ignoring the facts.

“The Democrats’ letter contains a litany of errors. These errors demonstrate our colleagues’ outright ignorance of firearms and ammunition,” the Jan. 24 letter reads.

In a statement on his website, Mr. Bailey wrote that shutting down the plant would make Americans less safe, in addition to costing his state hundreds of jobs.

I will not let Joe Biden sacrifice the rights of law-abiding gun owners and manufacturers on the altar of appeasement to the Radical Left. Lake City Ammunition did nothing wrong,” Mr. Bailey wrote in a statement on his website. “I’m proud to stand in the gap with these like-minded attorneys general to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”

Mr. Rokita agreed. In a statement on the Indiana Attorney General’s website, Mr. Rokia wrote that the principle at play covers more than just military readiness.

“A tyrant’s tactic is to chip away at liberties little by little,” he wrote. “Americans cannot exercise their constitutionally protected right to use their firearms without access to ammunition. That’s why we’re taking a strong stand.”

The Jan. 24 letter points out that the Lake City ammunition sold to civilians is not the same ammunition used by the military. And even if it were, the letter states, that would not be enough reason to ban its sale to civilians.

“The primary cartridge is proprietary to the Army and may not be sold commercially. If the United States military using ammunition precluded that ammunition’s use by civilians, then other widely and commonly available ammunition, including 9mm and 12-gauge shotshells,” the letter reads. “Lake City only sells ammunition to commercial customers that is legal to manufacture. Lake City complies with all the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (“ATF”) requirements.”

They also write that the claim that taxpayers are subsidizing the sales is the opposite of what’s happening.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks to his staff in March 2023. (Courtesy of the Missouri Attorney General's Office)

“They get causality backward. The law-abiding target shooters and gun owners who buy Lake City ammunition are subsidizing national defense and military readiness,” the Jan. 24 letter reads.

The letter from Mr. Bailey and the other pro-Second Amendment attorneys general points out that Lake City began selling ammunition to civilians as a means of maintaining production levels and a trained workforce in the event of war.

The plant had been basically mothballed prior to 1990. With the early 1990s military actions in Iraq, Kuwait, and other areas, the Lake City plant found itself playing catch up, trying to get machinery running and employees trained to meet the surge in demand for ammunition.

The addition of civilian sales to its government contract means the plant continues production and maintains its equipment and trained workforce, ensuring it’s able to meet future surges.

That section in the Lake City contract was—and remains—a sound policy choice. As we confront an increasingly dangerous world with unpredictable adversaries, now is not the time to undermine our military readiness,” the Jan. 24 letter reads.

Mr. Bailey, Mr. Rokita, and Ms. Bird were joined by attorney generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina House of Representatives, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The Lake City Army Ammunition plant is located in Independence, Missouri, and has provided ammunition for every armed conflict America has been involved in since World War II. According to an information sheet, the facility covers more than 3,000 acres, has 408 buildings, and can produce 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition annually.

In addition to small arms ammunition, the plant produces pyrotechnics, primers for various cartridges, and pyrotechnic and tracer mixes.