A bulletin jointly issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI calls upon law enforcement to be on the lookout for people with “large amounts” of weapons or ammunition. It seems that stockpiling “unusual amounts” of such material may indicate criminal or terrorist activity!
So what does “unusual amounts” mean, anyway? The phrase is very ill defined.
I’m a self defense instructor, and own 12 handguns in order to give my students as broad a sample as possible. Is that unusual? I once heard that the average handgun owner possesses five firearms of that type. So I own an “unusual amount”, right?
I buy ammunition in bulk to keep the costs down. I start to look around to restock when my supply gets down to the 10,000 round mark, knowing that it might be some time before the best deals appear on the market and I don’t want to be caught short. It seems to me that 10K could be considered an unusual amount.
The author of the missive does take a stab at defining the amounts by saying that law enforcement should focus only on stockpiles which would arouse suspicion in a “reasonable person”. The problem is that I’ve never encountered anyone in favor of gun control who thought their views were anything less than reasonable, even the woman who advocated forced castration of gun owners. What one person considers to be the height of well considered and rational policy is nothing more than craziness incarnate to another.
Of course, the examples used in the bulletin discuss how someone in possession of tons of material would be considered suspicious. My supply falls far short of that. And the bulletin is careful to instruct law enforcement to avoid reporting “Constitutional activities”, which is as it should be.
But, even still, it is sobering to think that I could be considered a potential terrorist. And all because I have the tools needed to instruct the most vulnerable members of our society on how to defend themselves.
“reasonable person” . . . I realise I am indulging in stereotyping here, so apologies to anyone offended, but:
“Hello FBI, can I help you?”
“Look I feel a bit awkward about this . . .”
“Please carry on, sir.”
“Look in Texas we figure a fellows business is his own business, but . . . ”
“Sir, your information may help stop a major terrorist incident.”
“Okay, it’s my neighbour he’s really bothering me, he’s only got forty-seven rifles, ninety-six handguns and half-million rounds for them. A man with those few guns . . . well, there’s gotta be something wrong with him!”
Meanwhile, keep up the good work James.
You have a good point there. Since stocking loads of ammunition helps a lot in letting gun owners save money, security officers should be more specific in defining what “unusual amount” really means and what this bulletin covers.