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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 09/22/2018 in Ammunition

Detroit Bullet Bill

Detroit Bullet Bill

Gun lobby takes hint from California 

A lawmaker in Wayne County, MI, county seat Detroit, is taking a page from California and is trying to regulate the purchase of ammunition and make it a federal law. 

County Commissioner Reggie Davis' "Detroit Bullet Bill" is based on California initiatives. He said so in a press conference Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Wayne County. Mr. Davis represents northwest Detroit on the County Commission. His murdered brother is interred at the cemetery. 

Commissioner Davis is proposing a county ordinance that will: 

  • Require a "mental illness background check." He said, "One, to require law enforcement agencies to perform a background check that includes mental health data on the purchaser using the Federal Bureau of Investigation's national criminal background check system prior to any sale of firearms ammunition to screen out any individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others." 

His proposal does not address whether or not the Detroit-area law enforcement agencies have the time or the resources to do mental health background checks on people just looking to buy a brick of .22 long rifle for an afternoon of plinking. 

Background checks for buying guns are done by federal firearms license (FFL) holders, not law enforcement. When applying for carry permit or a weapons purchase permit in states that require such, this background check is conducted by local law enforcement through the FBI's criminal database. 

  • Require mental health care professionals to submit records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The FBI uses NICS to screen gun purchasers. This mental health check is permitted under federal regulations. About half the states require this type of reporting. Michigan requires this reporting already. 
  • Require ammo be bought only from a law enforcement agency. "I say that you can't purchase a bullet unless you go to the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff's Office or the Michigan State Police. Any law enforcement. That is the only time you can purchase a bullet," he said. To compromise, he said he is willing to let people buy from a retail shop provided they have the appropriate a mental health check and background check, he said. 
  • Limit the amount of ammo that can be purchased. He did not say what the limit should be. 
  • Raises taxes on ammo. Money from the Detroit Bullet Bill will go toward shooting education and victim relief funds. He did not say how much the tax would be. He did say when his brother was killed he wanted a "1,000 taxation on bullets." He did not say if that was money, a percentage or a flat fee. 

The commissioner also said California is considering serial numbers on ammo and that should be part of future legislation. 

He said he expects a "tough legal battle" if this ordinance is approved. He said "we are prepared to fight all the way" and "we plan for the bullet bill to become federal law." The "we" he refers to appears to be himself and supporters as the County Commission has not addressed this ordinance. 


Before the press conference, he said, "It’s not the gun that’s doing the killing, it’s the bullets. We have no laws that restrict the purchasing of ammunition for the majority of handguns." 

Not so. Federal law says a person must be at least 21 years old to buy ammunition for handguns. 

Considering how many millions of rounds of ammo are sold in the US each year, putting serial numbers on this is a daunting task. Microstamping is seen as a solution, but this does not take into account the pressures generated by firing a bullet. Micro stamps and even engraving can be eliminated by the distortion the case and primer go through. 


Mr. Davis describes himself as a former gun owner. "I had sniper rifles, double barrel sawed-offs, Glocks," he said. Owning a "sawed-off" shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches requires a federal National Firearms Act tax stamp

He changed after a younger brother, Vito, was killed by an attacker an armed robbery gone wrong. The younger Mr. Davis was the victim. 

Watch the entire press conference about the Detroit Bullet Bill at WWJ News Radio.

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