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State AGs Want to Stop Civilian Sales of Ammo from This Production Giant

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Rob Bonta and Letitia James are among 20 state attorneys general who want an investigation into the sale of ammunition to civilians. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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A coalition of 20 state attorneys general, led by New York’s Letitia James, called on President Joe Biden to halt sales of ammunition to civilians from a manufacturing giant.

James said 5.56/.223 rounds from the federally funded Lake City Army Ammunition Plant have been used in mass shootings.

“Military-grade weapons and ammunition do not belong in our homes or in our communities, said James.

“Ammunition made at Lake City has been used to kill American civilians in devastating recent mass shootings, including the Tops Supermarket massacre in Buffalo. The continued sale of this ammunition on the private market puts everyone at risk.”

Lake City Ammo Used at Multiple Mass Shootings

Bloomberg News claims Lake City ammunition makes up about a third of market share for 5.56/.223 ammunition, the rounds used in AR-15 style rifles.

Run by the U.S. Department of Defense, Lake City is the largest small arms manufacturer run by the federal government, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Gun giant Winchester Arms — under their parent company Olin — has had the contract there since 1985.

The federal government has invested $860 million to improve production at the Independence, Missouri plant, according to James.

The attorneys general referenced an article written by the New York Times. The Times investigation found rounds stamped with the plant’s initials, “LC,” had been used in shootings in Aurora, Colorado; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Parkland, Florida; and Uvalde, Texas.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta also signed onto the letter. He called on an investigation into the civilian sales from the plant.

“The ammunition produced by Lake City is specifically intended for military purposes and does not have a place within our communities,” Bonta said in a news release. “We hope this investigation sets a precedent and ensures that the U.S. government will no longer subsidize the sale of military-grade weapons and ammunition to civilians.”

Ammunition at Lake City Similar to Other Manufacturers’

Lake City produces more than 1 billion rounds a year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Ammo production at the plant started in 1941, supplying the U.S. military during World War II.

A U.S. Army official told the Times that the sale of ammunition generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the government.

Questions about the difference between ammunition made at Lake City and that from other manufacturers went unanswered.

The rounds produced at the plant are no different than those made at other plants, said Todd Cotta, owner of Kings County Gun Center in Hanford.

Cotta said stopping the civilian sale of ammunition at Lake City could potentially double the price of ammunition.

“They make a pretty good percentage of the ammunition that is sold in America right now, and if you stop that, then all of a sudden there’s all kinds of supply chain issues for Americans to legally purchase what they have a constitutional right to carry or purchase,” Cotta said.

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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