Nessel calls for federal probe: Why was military-grade ammo used in mass shootings?

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks at a rally in Ann Arbor on Oct. 3, 2022. (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

By Kyle Kaminski

January 18, 2024

A coalition of attorneys general is calling on the White House to investigate recent reports of a federally funded contractor producing ammunition that was used in mass shootings. 

MICHIGAN—Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of attorneys general in calling on the Biden administration to investigate recent reports that a federally funded contractor has been selling military-grade ammunition to civilians across the country—including to perpetrators of recent mass shootings.

“Ammunition manufactured for military combat cannot be diverted to fuel terror in our communities,” Nessel said in a statement released on Thursday. “The people of this nation, especially those whose lives have been shattered by mass shootings, should not be subsidizing with their tax dollars the ammunition used against them in acts of domestic terror.”

Recent reports in the New York Times show that military-subsidized ammunition that was manufactured in a facility overseen by the US Army has been sold on the open market—including the bullets that were used to kill hundreds of innocent people during shootings at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg; and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. 

The coalition of attorneys general said the rounds produced by the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri are the “ammunition of choice” for mass shootings. In recent years, the plant has grown to become one of the country’s largest manufacturers of military ammunition—capable of producing 1.6 billion rounds per year, much of it for AR-15 rifles.

Payton Gendren, the shooter who killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo in 2022, even once praised Lake City ammunition as “the best barrier penetration ammo I can get.”

To date, the federal government has invested over $860 million to improve production at the Lake City facility. And according to the attorneys general, that means taxpayer funds are directly subsidizing the production of dangerous ammunition that has been used in mass shootings.

In the letter, Nessel and other officials called for the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to investigate the contracting process that led to military-subsidized ammo finding its way to the civilian market, as well as ensure that military contracts prohibit future public sales.

The attorneys general have also asked for Biden’s administration to issue a public report with specific recommendations for how to keep military-grade ammunition out of civilian hands. 

READ MORE: Nessel opposes GOP effort to halt Clean Water Act rules

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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