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“Hey, got any .22 ammo?”

It’s a question every gun owner, every recreational shooter, every prepared citizen has trained himself to ask, every time he walks into one of the stores that used to carry the ammunition he needs for his sporting hobbies.

He has been trained to ask this by the sibilant Barack Obama and that grinning idiot, Joe Biden. He has been trained because Obama and Biden don’t want you to own guns. Thanks to the actions of this administration, ammo supplies have dried up. This shortage is felt by everyone who owns a gun and actively trains with it – so much so that we’re now desperately scrambling to find ways to train with guns without actually using any ammunition. (Google “dirt cheap gun training” or “cheap firearms training drills.”)

Once seen as a cheap training alternative, the .22 Long Rifle is the common denominator cartridge among shooters. For most of them, it is the round they used to learn to shoot. It was, at one time, the cheapest and most plentiful ammunition available. It is quiet, has almost no recoil and is pleasant to shoot. Many a firearms enthusiast has spent an afternoon working his way through a 500-round “brick” of .22 ammo. This is an activity called “plinking,” for you non-shooters out there. Plinking is the most fun you can have with a firearm. It is nothing more or less than the joy of making holes in things, or knocking things over, from far away.

(Phil Elmore photo)

Punching .22-caliber holes in cans or milk jugs or paper is a soothing activity. It is the means through which shooters of every stripe, no matter what their area of focus, simply enjoy the sport and recreation of firearms. Not so long ago, you could buy .22 ammunition practically anywhere. You could buy it in vast quantities. You could buy it loose in large boxes, or in packs of 50, ten to the brick.

You could buy it, period.

If you’re one of those gun owners who hasn’t done any major shooting in the last couple of years, or who hasn’t needed to purchase ammo in bulk, there is some bad news you’ve got to hear: You won’t be buying ammunition in bulk. At all. Time will tell if we must append the words “ever again” to that statement, but in a few months, behind enemy lines here in New York state, there’s another stipulation all New Yorkers will have to add.

You’ll have to pass a background check just to buy ammunition.

That may not sound so horrible to some of you. After all, if you’re not a criminal, the imposition is no greater than that now in place when law-abiding citizens purchase firearms. A quick phone call is placed to the National Instant Check System. If you’re like countless thousands of citizens throughout this land, in liberal gulags or in free states where there are actually conservative or Republican officials in government, it takes only moments to hear the word you want: Proceed.

The problem is that the ammunition background check isn’t just verification that you’re less likely to run amok with your cartridges. It adds cost to the process, and there is no doubt that these costs will be passed on to the customer. This is governmental hostility to gun ownership in action. It is government adding layers of cost and harassment to what is already becoming a marginalized sport, pastime and lifestyle in these politically correct United States.

When there was still .22 Long Rifle ammunition on the shelves, just before conditions rapidly worsened (thanks to the confluence of the Obama administration’s continued hostility to gun owners and the gun culture reacting to this with prolonged panic-buying), bricks of .22 selling for 20 to 30 dollars were, a day later, selling for 40 dollars and more. Now, if you walk into a Gander Mountain or a similar store in this part of the country, you’ll be told that the store has no .22 Long Rifle ammunition at all.

Ask for .22 Magnum. Go ahead; I dare you. Be prepared to get laughed at. If you manage to ask on one of the days that “the truck” has been by recently, you might see a meager supply of .22 now held jealously behind the counter – or it might be completely out of sight. When you ask to buy it, you’ll be told the limit is three each. That’s not three bricks; that’s three boxes of 50. That means you can buy .22, on those rare days when you can buy it, in quantities of 150 rounds or less.

Dedicated shooters return to the store as many times as the employees will tolerate, attempting to amass something like bricks of ammo over the course of several days. Desperate shooters go online and order ammunition by mail, paying exorbitant prices. A recent listing of “match” grade ammo, which was actually available through an online retailer, was priced at $16 per box of 50 cartridges. Imagine that: A brick of .22 Long Rifle for a staggering $160.

People will gladly pay such prices when the alternative is no ammo at all. This is the outcome the Obama administration wants; this is the outcome that panic among gun owners is creating. The .22 Long Rifle shortage is only a symptom of the greater problem, for you’ll have just as much trouble trying to buy 9 millimeter. Actually, finding 7.62 x 39 on the shelves will make you wonder if you’re seeing a mirage. Asking in a chain store for .223 or 5.56 is akin to masochism these days in New York, where the weapons that fire this cartridge are now “assault weapons” that must be registered and which no New York store may now sell.

The shortage is a sign of a much bigger problem. We’re all aware of it. We just don’t want to face it. The gun culture is dying, slowly but surely. It is dying by design. This death is not natural.

It is murder, and the murderer is Barack Hussein Obama.

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