About an hour ago, the scene at the end of the Boston Marathon was shattered by two explosions that appear to have come from small packages that were left unattended. We aren’t “The Truth About Explosives” so we aren’t covering this as in-depth as gun related incidents (other than to say our thoughts and prayers are with the victims), but this incident does raise the specter of increased gun control legislation specifically aimed at ammunition and those who reload their own ammo.
Black powder and smokeless powder are propellants commonly used in ammunition, the life blood of our firearms ownership. Without them, all of our guns would be nothing more than intricate clubs. While most people buy their ammunition in pre-manufactured cartridges, there is a large number of gun owners that either use black powder firearms or load their own ammunition in the comfort of their own home. For those people, access to loose gunpowder is essential to keep their guns running.
Black powder firearms do not use pre-made cartridges. Every single time the gun is fired, the shooter needs to load the gunpowder into the barrel and seat the projectile on top. Solid pellets of black powder propellant have become popular in recent years, but loose gunpowder is still the preferred method of loading those firearms.
For the most accurate shooters (such as competition shooters), and for those looking to save money on ammunition, loading your own ammo at home is a cheap and effective way to cut costs while still cranking out quality ammunition. For those who load their own ammo, getting their hands on loose gunpowder is essential to keeping their operations running. Many have invested multiple thousands of dollars in reloading equipment and components.
However, while these products are used by the truckload every day by thousands of law abiding citizens, some people have abused this access and used the propellants for evil. Pipe bombs can be constructed using nothing more than some loose gunpowder and a few components from the hardware store, a device which has been used to deadly effect in the past. And while each time such a bombing has occurred Congress has steered clear of regulating gunpowder for citizens, in the current post-Newtown haze and with this recent tragedy fresh in people’s minds it isn’t a big leap to think that Congress might look to “do something” about these components as well.
Gun owners are the new favorite class of citizen to pick on for all of society’s ills. It makes sense that, even if we eventually learn that gunpowder had nothing to do with this latest attack, millions of gun owners might yet see some negative fallout from the actions of yet another deranged attacker.