Yesterday, in another illustration of his magical thinking about gun violence, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced a bill that would ban online sales of ammunition. "If someone wants to purchase deadly ammunition," Lautenberg declared, "they should have to come face to face with the seller. It's one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition." Lautenberg's bill, the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, would require ammunition sellers to have a firearms dealer's license, ask buyers for a photo ID, keep a record of sales, and report purchases of more than 1,000 rounds within five consecutive business days "to law enforcement." Why? Because James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, reportedly used the Internet to buy 6,000 rounds.
Let's think about the logic underlying this legislation for a few moments. (It does not deserve more than that.) Did Holmes have a photo ID? Was he ambulatory? Could someone who planned a mass shooting for months have broken up his ammunition purchases to avoid police attention (assuming that law enforcement agencies actually would be investigating all mass buyers, almost all of whom would turn out to be hunters or target shooters)? Yes on all three counts. Lautenberg's bill makes about as much sense as banning orange hair dye.