Monday, December 17, 2012

Are There Any Legitimate Reasons To Stockpile Ammunition?

People who do not shoot often wonder why it is that people who do shoot often seem to have the habit of caching what is or seems like a very large amount of ammunition. Many unfamiliar with guns and ammo often jump to the conclusion, that if one has a large quantity of ammo, it is for nefarious purposes. That usually happens when their thought processes are ruled by emotion such as in the aftermath of a terrible shooting event. Even some people within the world of firearms sometimes wonder why other shooters stockpile ammunition when they instead have what amounts to few rounds ever at hand. These would likely be hunters who utilize firearms for hunting and not for any other purposes and who only hunt maybe one or two days per year. They have little need for ammunition except those related to hunting, like a possible annual trip to the range to assure the gun is sighted in before going afield to hunt. They fire a few rounds at the range and if lucky, fire one shot to kill a game animal while hunting; that is the total they shot in the span of a year. That type of firearms owner may have no need for more ammunition and sometimes cannot see why others do. Note that other hunters hunt much more frequently and also enjoy, and participate in, all of the other aspects of firearms use and ammunition storage I am about to mention and thus fully understand the need for possessing and storing a larger amount of ammunition.
 
Some people have tens or hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their ammo locker while others may have thousands and some tens to hundreds of thousands. What is it that could drive a person to buy and store so much ammunition to any legitimate and legal ends. Truth be told, whether you agree with them or not, there are quite a few valid reasons that shooting enthusiasts stockpile ammunition and none of them even hint at wrongdoing ever being an outcome.
 
While one may think that there is a correlation between the amount of guns owned and the quantity of ammunition one owns, equating to the more guns owned then the more ammo possessed, that is not always the case. Gun owners may own one or two guns or many guns, the amount of firearms does not necessarily calculate in to how many rounds of ammunition they have available to themselves at any given time, the amount of guns is more likely to calculate into them having different caliber ammunition because as the amount of guns one owns increases so too does the likelihood that said person has acquired firearms in different calibers.
 
Those ammo cans held ammo for a shoot
 in which my son and I participated just
this past summer. Total time shooting,
 maybe an hour and fifteen minutes to an
hour and a half. Total ammo expended,
1,300 to 1,700 rounds by only the two of us.
A more likely reason that one has a lot of ammunition is that one likes to shoot frequently. The shooter, who goes to the range often to train, to practice or for fun could easily shoot a few hundred to several hundred rounds within an hour or so. If that person goes to the firing range once per week or even just once per month, the amount of expended ammunition adds up quickly. For instance, if I were to go to the range as often as I liked, which for me ideally would be at least once per week, and if I shot the average amount of ammunition that I have shot at each of my recent range sessions, I would wind up shooting at least about 26,000 rounds of ammunition per year. Some people would shoot much more than that. So having ammunition on hand, ahead of time, is fairly common. Such shooters often have thousands of rounds of ammunition in their stocks at any given time. Some buy it as they go along assuring they always have more than enough. Others stockpile it, shoot most of it, then begin to replenish nearly depleted stores of it. Either way, there is nothing wrong with doing so.
 
Another reason that people who enjoy shooting or shoot to maintain a certain skill level often have large amounts of ammunition on hand is because they buy it as they can afford it and then store it for future use. Over the past few years, ammunition prices have gone up more than double, in some instances more than three to four times what it had been previously within recent memory. There are various reasons for the price increases: shortage of raw materials because of the two wars, higher fuel prices causing higher shipping for manufacturers and that being passed on to the consumer I higher en product prices, hoard buying because of ammunition and gun restriction fears fueled by the political situation, more and more people prepping for what they believe may be in store for us in the future such as food shortages, financial failure of our economy, violent civil unrest because of those other two factors and the like. Whether or not those fears will be founded, they have caused some to prep for the worst case scenario and that in part has led ammunition supplies to dwindle and caused prices to rise. Firearms enthusiasts who predicted those rising prices often bought and continue to buy ammunition well in advance of future price increases. Since the price of ammunition has kept rising, over the past few to several years, people have kept buying it as a hedge against the day when it may become cost prohibitive for them to obtain it and many have stockpiled some of it while also using some of it to maintain their skill levels or for their enjoyment of other legitimate shooting pursuits such as putting food on the table.
 
Maybe a six months' to a year's supply
of ammunition for totally law abiding
yet ardent shooter or a decent amount
 in storage for possible emergencies.
Yet another reason that people stockpile ammunition, and this one is regardless of price, is one I just mentioned above. They buy it and store it now so as to have it for emergency use in the future. While some people who store a large amount of ammo and give reasons for ammo hording as the impending Apocalypse as in the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), the end of the Mayan calendar, alien invasions from space or zombies rising from the dead all that is just fantasy and  kidding around. Well almost all of it, I am pretty sure some people believe the world is about to end and who knows. Yet, people who stockpile ammunition have many  concerns that in part or whole cause them hoard ammunition. Whether that emergency use be for defense of self and family and even neighbors against rioters, looters after a natural disaster, or if it is intended for use against an illegitimate tyrannical government, or if meant to make the person able to assist in the repelling of an invasion force in event of war on our soil – all those reasons are innocent and well intentioned even if you think them farfetched or not. Bear in mind that not many thought there would ever be tyrants the like Chavez, Castro, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin or Hitler who would totally disregard their rights, eliminate their liberties, and crush their freedoms. At least 4 of the mentioned rulers each killed millions of people, if not tens of millions, all killed to gain and remain in power, and all were/are tyrants who severely restricted the right of the people in their countries to possess firearms and ammunition. Have you ever wondered why one of their top priorities was to arm government forces and disarm the civilian populace!
 
The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor
by Nathaniel Currier.
Another reason that people buy and hoard ammunition is because they believe there may soon come a day when, because of government interference, it will be either impossible to acquire or next to impossible to acquire. For example, many fear that ammunition will be taxed at such a high rate as to make it unobtainable for any but the extremely rich. Do you think that a farfetched idea. It was only a few years ago, when Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (DNY), with the full support of still current Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), suggested and pushed for a 10,000% tax on ammunition. Not 10% not 100% not 1000% but 10,000%. Imagine if that had passed into law, it would mean that a box on ammunition costing $30.00 today would cost $3,000.00 with that tax added to the cost.
 
Then there are also the attempts to outright ban certain types of ammunition such as hollow point bullets. Have you ever stopped, even for a few minutes, to give serious thought to why it is that many police departments, law enforcement agencies, politicians, and the military are against the use of hollow point bullets for civilian ammunition yet all use it for their own applications and when they use it, they use it against people who are usually citizens of, or possibly immigrants in, our country. (Yes, despite the Geneva convention there are military uses of HP ammo.) So, in other words, it is okay for them to use it with the possibility they may shoot one of us (accidentally or purposefully in the hail of bullets that is too frequently unleashed by authorities during their shootings) but it is not okay for us to use the same to defend ourselves. The military and law enforcement also use armor piercing ammunition. Yet again, they frown heavily on civilian use of that type of ammunition. Think about why it is okay for their own protection but not okay for your own protection. Then consider the assault weapons ban (now sunsetted federally but still in effect in New York state) and tell me: why is it okay for the government to possess those weapons and not for the general populace to do so. Is the government afraid of the people being armed suitably enough to be able to control the government – and remember they are our servants not we theirs’.
 
Bear in mind, while excuses to stock up on ammo, like conspiracy theories regarding possible government abuses of power and tyranny may seem like so much bunk to some, the threat is also plausible to many intelligent people. Give some long serious thought to: what I just mentioned about the government’s attempts to tax and ban ammunition, the assault weapons ban, high capacity magazine bans (both still in effect in NY) the recent purchases of huge amounts of ammunition by the federal government, its admitted planned spying on its own people by way of airborne drones and the recent laws passed giving the federal government the ability to arrest and indefinitely detain citizens without probable cause, the more recent policy on compiling and storing dossiers on U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens who never have been even hinted at being criminals let alone of being suspected of criminal activity, the continuation of the Patriot Act, the categorizing U.S. Military personnel as a potential terrorist threat, the abuses committed by the Transportation Security Agency, surveillance cameras being set up in virtually every public place imaginable. Then tell me, even if you do not believe it part of a plan to overthrow the Constitution and our current form of government, that it is difficult for you to see and understand, that even if not actually planned, the government has given itself the power to turn itself into an unbending and all powerful tyranny just as did the past tyrants I mentioned above. Is it really that farfetched to fear the same might be happening again and in that light is it reasonable to prepare for a revolution against tyranny. It may never come but if it dos would you be better prepared or unprepared. One can think back just a month and a half to tropical storm Sandy to see how the unprepared fared as to the well prepared. Were you foolish or nutty to have prepared for such a storm in NY well ahead of time; I think not. I remind you too, Winston Churchill was viewed as being a loony when he warned about Nazi Germany’s rise to power. He was proven more than correct but  look at the consequences that an unprepared Europe faced. Most had thought his predictions impossible and they ignored the threat and thus were unprepared to deal with it and suffered greatly. Thus another reason, whether you agree with it or not, that many people stockpile ammunition. 
 
One final reason to acquire a lot of ammunition is with the hopes of later being able to resell it for a profit or to be able to trade it for something of value. People collect all sorts of things with the hopes they will go up in value. Had I been able to purchase several thousands of rounds of certain types of ammunition about 7 to 8 years ago, I could be making a very nice profit on it today had I stored it for all those years.
 
As you can see, there are various honestly justifiable reasons as to why law abiding people store ammunition. While some of it may somehow wind up in the wrong hands and eventually be used criminally, just as anything can be misused, in the great majority of cases that ammunition is legally and reasonably possessed and will be, or is planned to be, used for totally appropriate purposes such as: hunting, defense of self and family, defense of property (where permissabe by law), as collectibles, to make a profit, to acquire and maintain shooting skills and even in defense of our Constitution and great nation.
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Preventing Extreme Violence By Proper Adjustment To, And Use Of, Milder Forms Of It

I think one of the major problems in society, within the United States, is the almost absolute aversion to violence, of any kind, with regards to children. Sometime, probably about the mid 1970s to early 1980s, it seems that the educational system in the U.S. started to prevent all forms of violent behavior among school children. Look at most schools where many if not all forms of even potentially violent behaviors have been banned, including contact sports or sports in which a child might be injured such as dodge ball. Not long afterwards, police (in general) started to arrest children for truly minor infractions that involved violence at schools. I am not talking about violence that had ever been considered a crime before. I am talking about the violent acts that come with the natural aggression seen in pre-teens and teens that goes toward them establishing a pecking order among themselves. Children were arrested for acts as minor as pulling on another's clothing, a minor schoolyard fight between two children, and normal bullying.
 
This cessation of even minor violent behavior, pushing, slapping, bullying, sports, and the like, I believe, has led to children not having an outlet for the anger they experience as a normal part of their development - it does not prevent anger and probably does not truly prevent violent at a higher level. Most certainly, acts of extreme violence perpetrated by youthful offenders, has been on the increase over the years since any type of violent behavior by youths has been shunned and strictly eliminated in our schools and in our society in general. I hypothesize that this total attempt at elimination of violent behavior among youths has led us to a society in which we have a disproportionate number of children and young adults who do not know how to handle certain types of frustration and anger through at least one of the most effective means of deflating those emotions - mildly to moderately violent behavior. We also have a large number of children who when confronted with mild forms of violence such as shoving, minor fighting, taunting or bullying or even mandatory violent sports participation who do not know how to react to it and then ultimately inappropriately react and sometimes overreact.
 
I believe that anger and frustration then have no outlet, that they are internalized and are held within, without an outlet, over the years that the children are developing and thus lead to the child becoming an adult who does not know how to cope with frustrations and anger invoking life incidents as well as would a child who was allowed to act out with minor violence throughout development. Of course, there are other ways to out frustration and anger - talking about feelings for instance; however the communication skills of children are in development, just as are aggressive skills, and talking is often if not always not enough.
 
Thus, by the time many children have reached their mid-teens or passed on to young adulthood they are ill equipped to deal with their emotions and are also not able to interact with other people as well as had they been allowed mildly to moderate behavior, at times, during their development. In addition, the propensity of many children to play extremely violent games, where the only successful way to win the game is to utilize extreme violence may add to their inability to understand how to deal with their emotions and with social interactions that anger them. 
 
Thus, a youth who has never learned how to control anger and frustration through the utilization of minor violence may also be otherwise unable to cope, possibly due to minor mental disorder, drug use, buildup of family and or personal problems  may be more likely to reach a point where he or she inappropriately resorts to extreme violence to deal with their problems. Why extreme violence – because they have been repeatedly admonished if they have ever resorted to minor or moderate violence and have been prevented as much as possible from ever resorting to such and because they have seen examples of extreme violence being used as a problem solver with great success in video games, theatrical entertainment, and on the news (such as war coverage). Therefore, extreme violence is often the only violence that children and teens have been taught about as a tenable option to solve problems no matter how appropriate or inappropriate for any given situation. Had these young people been taught the proper and natural outlet for their angers and frustrations, by way of minor violence in some instances, it is unlikely that so many would resort to the only type of violence that they have ever witnessed as being successful – extreme violence.
 
You will not, I did not mention firearms as a problem above. I also did not mention automobiles, gasoline and matches or knives or clubs or any other thing that could be used by someone as a means toward violet behavior. Those things are not the problem, they are inanimate objects that are not dangerous in and of themselves. A loaded gun will not go off if left alone, if no one picks it up to fire it. An object that could be used as a weapon is not dangerous without someone to operate it. Millions of Americans own firearms and never have or will use them for inappropriate violent behavior or illegally. We would be better off addressing the real problem of why people resort to inappropriate use of extreme violence for problems that would have been so much easier to address if they were aware of and familiar with other means to solve them. Ban guns, sure you can do that and then a youngster could resort to using matches and gasoline, Molotov cocktails, poisonous substances (easy to obtain or create with things found in the supermarket) or even explosives (also pretty easy to make at home). 
 
In addition we need to address our mental health care system and reconsider allowing people who are mentally ill, who have the high potential to act out with extreme violence, to remain unfettered in our society. Maybe it is time to restrain them to protect society as had been past practice. 
 
Bear in mind, that behavior resulting in school shootings and other mass murders, within the United States were virtually unheard of up though the 1970s. Certainly there were some but not nearly as many as there have been  within the past two or three decades. It was only after the implementation of the anti-violence campaign, relative to children and teens, in our schools and society in general that it seems our youths began to resort to extreme acts of violence as a means to cope with their problems. Violence may have been said to beget violence but sometimes, I would hypotesize, appropriate use of milder and moderate levels of it almost surely is a way to adjust one to its appropriate use and thus prevent further inappropriate use of heightened forms of it.
 
All the best,
Glenn B
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