Maryland argues federal ammo contractor should be investigated in relation to mass shootings

12 January 2024- Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has joined a multistate coalition of 20 Attorneys General calling on the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to investigate recent reports that a federally funded contractor has produced military-grade ammunition for sale to civilians, including to perpetrators of horrific recent mass shootings. The coalition sent a letter asking the Office to investigate how a facility overseen by the U.S. Army, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Lake City), produced billions of rounds of ammunition that were sold on the civilian market, and asked the Office to ensure that future military production contracts prohibit the sale of military-subsidized weapons and ammunition to civilians. 

“Innocent lives are taken from us every day due to unnecessary and very preventable gun violence,” said Attorney General Brown. “Facilities tasked by our government with producing military-grade ammunition for our armed forces, in defense of this nation, should not also be supplying civilians who are committing tragic mass shootings in our communities.”

Lake City is a manufacturing facility operated by a private contractor and overseen by the U.S. Army. It is one of the country’s largest manufacturers of military ammunition, able to produce some 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition per year, much of it for use in AR-15-style rifles. Its commercial operations have sold billions of rounds onto the civilian market, and recent reporting has shown its products have been used in mass shootings and other crimes.  

The coalition notes that Lake City rounds have become the “ammunition of choice” for use in mass shootings, citing shootings at Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, as recent examples where Lake City rounds were used. The Buffalo mass shooter even praised Lake City ammunition as “the best barrier penetration ammo I can get.”   

The federal government has invested over $860 million to improve production at Lake City, meaning taxpayer funds are subsidizing production of these dangerous rounds sold to civilians. The coalition is calling on the White House of Gun Violence Prevention to: 

  • Investigate the contracting and manufacturing practices that led to military-grade rounds being sold to civilians;
  • Issue a public report with recommendations about how to keep military ammunition out of civilian hands; and
  • Take steps over the long term to ensure that future production contracts prohibit the sale of military weapons and ammunition to civilians.