Gun control: Officials set sights on ammunition background checks

Monday, February 4, 2013
By Paul Martin

By Peter Jamison
TampaBay.com
Friday, February 1, 2013

Without bullets, slugs or shot, a gun is no deadlier than a steel club. But the question of how to keep firearms’ lethal projectiles out of the wrong hands has historically been a low priority for regulators more concerned about the guns themselves.

That could be changing. As the nation debates competing proposals to reduce gun violence, some law enforcement leaders and elected officials argue it’s time to examine an area they say is especially devoid of common sense regulation: the buying and selling of ammunition.

They say there is an obvious inconsistency in federal and state law. While it is illegal for certain classes of potentially dangerous people — such as felons and the mentally ill — to possess bullets, nobody’s checking. Ammunition buyers don’t have to undergo the background checks required of gun purchasers.

“My view of it is that it becomes, in essence, a meaningless law,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, referring to the largely unenforced provisions of federal and Florida law that bar convicted criminals from possessing ammunition. “It’s a law without any teeth.”

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