Guns and dollars

Billions of bullets: Cheap and unregulated

Kai Ryssdal Feb 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Guns and dollars

Billions of bullets: Cheap and unregulated

Kai Ryssdal Feb 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As Congress and the White House try to figure out gun control legislation, there’s some support for limiting high-capacity magazines. That, in turn, has turned at least part of the debate about guns to a debate about bullets.

Joanna Pearlstein is a senior editor at Wired magazine and her latest piece looks at the business of bullets.

“There’s about 10 billion bullets manufactured in the United States every year,” said Pearlstein.

Federal regulations mostly restrict buying bullets based on who you are, said Pearlstein. For example,there are limits and restrictions for those are who are not in the country legally, those who are dishonorably discharged from the military, those who have certain felony convictions or for those under the age of 18.

“That said,” she continued, “there’s not a lot of background checks that are being done. So the onus is on you as the purchaser to basically be honest when you go into a store and buy ammunition.”

Comedian Chris Rock once famously stated in a stand-up routine that instead of gun control, “all bullets should cost $5,000.”

Pearlstein said you can really see why a bullet tax might be a good idea. “As cigarette taxes have increased over the years, consumption of cigarettes has declined; the tobacco industry has been up in arms about this for years,” she said. “It stands to reason that if you can buy a box of 50 bullets for $20, maybe if that box cost $40 or $80 or $10,000, maybe we’d be buying fewer of them.”

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Raise a glass to Marketplace!

Just $7/month gets you a limited edition KaiPA pint glass. Plus bragging rights that you support independent journalism.
Donate today to get yours!