In a letter James wrote that was signed by 19 other Democrat AGs on January 9, they accused the ammo-manufacturing and sales plant of flooding communities with "military-grade" ammunition that they claimed has been used in various mass shootings. "Compounding the horror, the bullets used in this violence were subsidized by American taxpayers, as the federal government has apparently invested more than $860 million to improve production," the letter said.
On January 24, AGs from 28 other states including Andrew Bailey of Missouri, Brenna Bird of Iowa and Todd Rokita of Indiana and others derided the previous missive, arguing that President Joe Biden should ignore James' request to investigate. According to them, ending the sales of the shells would harm America's military readiness and do nothing to prevent crime. For them, James and her colleagues either don't understand or are ignoring the facts. "The Democrats' letter contains a litany of errors. These errors demonstrate our colleagues’ outright ignorance of firearms and ammunition," the GOP AGs' letter read.
Bailey also pointed out that closing down the factory would make Americans less safe, in addition to costing his state hundreds of jobs. "I will not let Joe Biden sacrifice the rights of law-abiding gun owners and manufacturers on the altar of appeasement to the radical left. Lake City Ammunition did nothing wrong," he said in a statement on his website. "I'm proud to stand in the gap with these like-minded attorneys general to protect Americans' Second Amendment rights."
Rokita mirrored the sentiment, saying that the principle at play covers more than just military readiness. He said that a tyrant's tactic is to chip away at liberties little by little. "Americans cannot exercise their constitutionally protected right to use their firearms without access to ammunition. That's why we're taking a strong stand," he added.
The Republican state legal officers also argued that ammunition sold to civilians by the Missouri plant is not the same ammunition used by the military. And even if it were, that would not be enough reason to ban its sale to civilians, they pointed out. Also, they noted the fact that taxpayers are subsidizing the sales is the opposite of what is really happening. "They get causality backward. The law-abiding target shooters and gun owners who buy Lake City ammunition are subsidizing national defense and military readiness," the Jan. 24 correspondence included.
Lastly, the pro-Constitution AGs emphasized that Lake City began selling ammunition to civilians as a means of maintaining production levels and a trained workforce in the event of war. "That section in the Lake City contract was and remains a sound policy choice. As we confront an increasingly dangerous world with unpredictable adversaries, now is not the time to undermine our military readiness," the letter further stated. (Related: NRA warns of ATF’s gun control proposal, which unjustly criminalizes those selling firearms to family members or friends.)
Meanwhile, the fight for liberty is also strong at the state level. Indiana's Rokita has been defending Hoosiers’ Second Amendment rights in a legal opinion requested by the Indiana State Police regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) misunderstanding of Indiana law. "In Indiana, we believe expungement restores civil rights, including the Second Amendment rights," Rokita said. "America values justice and liberty for all, and this includes reinstating the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror and purchase a firearm."
This was in line with the FBI denying the right of the state natives who have successfully had specific categories of felony convictions expunged in Indiana courts to purchase or possess firearms. According to experts, each state has its list of criminal records that can be expunged and what can be deleted depends on the state and not the FBI. "Our legislators are voted in by regular, everyday Hoosiers," Rokita said. "They take on issues important to the public while ensuring they follow the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. Any limitations on owning or purchasing a firearm must be very narrow and clearly justified to avoid the violation of our Second Amendment rights."
Lawyer and certified firearms instructor Guy Relford supported Rokita's opinion. "Bureaucrats in Washington have repeatedly attempted to thwart the clear intention of the Indiana General Assembly to restore the right to possess a firearm of persons who have earned the opportunity to expunge their felony convictions," he said. "In that process, I believe that the FBI and the federal Department of Justice have intentionally mischaracterized and misinterpreted our expungement statute to wrongfully deny the Second Amendment rights of Hoosiers. Official Opinion 2024-1, issued today by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, clarifies our expungement statute and demonstrates Indiana's continued fight to protect the Second Amendment rights of Indiana residents against the constant onslaught on those rights by the federal government."
Rokita's office released the Gun Owners’ Bill of Rights in 2022 to ensure law-abiding locals fully understand their Second Amendment rights, including the right to purchase and own firearms in cases of expungement.
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