On October 9, TIME’s Joe Klein published a column lumping Breitbart News reports in with “conspiracy theories” surrounding federal agency ammunition purchases and suggesting those reports are causal in confusing voters as the 2014 mid-term elections approach.
To push this template, Klein had to miss an April 8, 2013, Breitbart News column showing that government ammunition purchases were a component in the creation of a “politically-induced buying panic” that left store shelves barren of ammo. In turn, the scarcity of ammunition–combined with the frenzied demand for it–drove prices through the roof.
When the April 8, 2013 column ran, the U.S. Senate was nine days away from a vote on Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) gun control bill. The attack on Sandy Hook Elementary had taken place just four months earlier, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was still pushing for an “assault weapons ban” that would eliminate approximately 150 different guns–among which were shotguns and numerous other weapons that had nothing to do with Sandy Hook.
The American people felt angst as the Democrats targeted Second Amendment rights.
This angst, combined with news of massive government ammunition purchases, led to what Hornady ammunition described as a “politically-induced buying panic.” Ammo could not be found–gun owners faced a perfect storm.
This run on ammo forced producers like Hornady, Black Hills, and Remington, among others, to run at “full capacity”–which meant keeping production lines running 24/7 in some instances.
Hornady tried to calm the panic by telling consumers that the government purchases weren’t directly causing the ammunition shortage, but their words fell on deaf ears as consumers saw news of government purchases for huge quantities of ammunition or read about the DHS’s 156 million round stockpile.
It didn’t matter why these huge purchases were happening or why DHS had 156 million rounds. What mattered is that it was happening at a time when Democrats were also trying their best to take guns out of Americans’ hands; a time when gun owners watched the delivery truck fill a Wal-Mart shelf with ammunition at 7 a.m. on a given Tuesday and then saw that shelf emptied by 7:30 a.m that same morning.
These points aren’t part of “conspiracy theories” Mr. Klein, they are part of reality.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.