Police Can’t Get Ammo Because of War!
WaPo fronts an obviously dubious story claiming that, “The U.S. military’s soaring demand for small-arms ammunition, fueled by two wars abroad, has left domestic police agencies less able to quickly replenish their supplies, leading some to conserve rounds by cutting back on weapons training, police officials said.” Because, you know, the military uses so much 9mm pistol ammo in Iraq. And cops use a lot of 5.56 and 7.62 ammo in their training with their assault rifles and machine guns.
This story was first reported by the Associated Press on the 17th and debunked by Bob Owens on the 20th. He interviewed several ammunition manufacturers and discovered that, not only do the police and military generally not use the same rounds, they rely on different factories. And, in any case, none of the manufacturers are turning away orders unfilled. Remington, for one, would love to have more business.
Since the story obviously didn’t stay debunked, however, Bob re-debunks it again today.
What’s bizarre is that the story simply doesn’t pass the smell test.
Yes, police departments are buying more assault rifles, mostly AR-15s (a civilian M16 clone), as part of the unfortunate paramilitarization of law enforcement. The WaPo variation of the story notes that some departments are stockpiling ammunition for it “just in case” there is a mass crisis situation such as New Orleans experienced after Katrina. But the quotes in the story are almost entirely about fears of running out of ammunition — or the fact that prices are going up because of increased demand for the constituent metals in the developing world — not actual shortages. Only one plant in the story is characterized as operating at “full capacity.”
The idea that ammunition manufacturers wouldn’t be able to step up production to meet increased demand is silly. Perhaps not quite as silly, though, as the suggestion that war policy should be made on the basis of the impact of domestic supply of 5.56 cartridges.