Biden Looks to Cut Consumer 5.56 Ammo Supply (while Sending 50 Million Rounds to Ukraine)
Reports surfaced this week that the White House is leaning on the contractor operating the only government-owned small arms ammo plant to halt sales of surplus 5.56 rounds to the public.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the American firearms industry, explained to Guns.com Thursday they have been in contact with officials at Olin-Winchester Ammunition regarding the Biden administration’s consideration of halting sales of excess 5.56 NATO ammunition produced for the military.
As previously reported, besides its own plants, Winchester in 2019 won a $28 million 10-year contract to run the U.S. Army’s historic Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. In conjunction with the contract, Winchester can sell off some of the surplus ammo produced by the plant, primarily M855/SS109 cartridges, on the consumer market.
Well, that deal may be altered.
"Winchester was informed that the government is considering restricting the manufacturing and commercial sale of legal ammunition produced at the Lake City, Mo., facility," explained Mark Oliva, NSSF's public affairs director. "This restrictive action would immediately jeopardize 400-500 jobs, significantly reduce the availability of ammunition in the marketplace, and put the nation’s warfighting readiness at risk. Both NSSF and Winchester strongly oppose this action."
Oliva said NSSF is working broadly with Senators and Members of Congress to apprise them of these developments and turn back the counterproductive policy. Winchester officials are also actively engaged with government leaders in Washington, D.C., to ensure their full understanding of the negative implications related to this type of sudden and reactive action.
"This policy of ceasing the sale of excess ammunition is ill-timed and jeopardizes the fragile negotiations of the framework deal that was agreed to by the bipartisan group of Senators," said Oliva. "Senators specifically requested The White House allow the Senate to negotiate in good faith and without interference to arrive at their agreement. This policy to deny the sale of excess ammunition not only would freeze over 30 percent of the 5.56 mm/.223 caliber ammunition used by law-abiding gun owners, it risks the ammunition industry’s ability to surge production capacity for national defense if the costs to maintain the present workforce isn’t recouped through sales to the civilian market."
Oliva pointed out that this is just the latest threat of restricting ammunition sales as part of political agendas interfering with lawful commerce of law-abiding gun owners.
The Obama administration in 2015 attempted a similar halt to sales of “green tip” _ ammunition through regulations proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That maneuver tanked after gun owners, 2A groups, and Congress cried foul on the regulatory overreach and the agency's director left government work for the private sector soon after.
Meanwhile, Stocks depleted for Ukraine
On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced an additional $1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine to assist in that country's fight with Russia. That figure includes authorization from President Biden for a further $350 million drawdown from Department of Defense inventories-- at least the 12th such drawdown of equipment from American war stocks since August 2021.
Set to be pulled from U.S. arsenals will be 18 155mm howitzers and 36,000 shells for the guns in addition to HIMARS rockets for systems already in the country. Since 2014, the U.S. has committed more than $8.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine with the vast majority, $6.3 billion of that, coming from the Biden Administration.
U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine besides the above articles includes:
• Over 50,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
• Over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems.
• Over 6,500 Javelin anti-armor systems.
• Over 20,000 other anti-armor systems.
• Over 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems.
• 108 155mm Howitzers and over 220,000 155mm artillery rounds.
• 90 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers.
• 15 Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment.
• High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and ammunition.
• 20 Mi-17 helicopters.
• Hundreds of Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.
• 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers.
• Over 7,000 small arms.
• 75,000 sets of body armor and helmets.
• 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems.
• Laser-guided rocket systems.
• Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems.
• Unmanned Coastal Defense Vessels.
• 22 counter-artillery radars.
• Four counter-mortar radars.
• Four air surveillance radars.
• M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions.
• C-4 explosives and demolition equipment for obstacle clearing.
• Tactical secure communications systems.
• Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, optics, and laser rangefinders.
• Commercial satellite imagery services.
• Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear.
• Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear protective equipment.
• Medical supplies to include first aid kits.
• Electronic jamming equipment.
• Field equipment and spare parts.