Federally Funded Factory Produced Ammunition Used at Tops Supermarket Shooting in Buffalo and Other Recent Mass Shootings
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James led 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. Attorney General James and 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.
“Military-grade weapons and ammunition do not belong in our homes or in our communities,” said Attorney General James. “Ammunition made at Lake City has been used to kill American civilians in devastating recent mass shootings, including the Tops Supermarket massacre in Buffalo. The continued sale of this ammunition on the private market puts everyone at risk. I’m proud to join with my fellow attorneys general to raise this important issue and help ensure that weapons of war don’t make their way onto our streets.”
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 from the New York Times has shown its products have been used in mass shootings and other crimes.
The coalition of attorneys general 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 led by Attorney General James 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.
Joining Attorney General James in sending the letter to the White House are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Attorney General James has consistently taken action to stop gun violence and protect communities by limiting the spread of dangerous weapons. Earlier in December, Attorney General James led a multistate coalition of attorneys general supporting a new ATF rule to limit unlicensed gun sales. In November, Attorney General James successfully defended against Second Amendment challenges in six cases in the New York State Court of Appeals involving gun possession charges. In May, Attorney General James sued a gun accessory manufacturer that aided the Buffalo mass shooter. In April, Attorney General James took action to remove more than 3,000 guns off New York’s streets in a single day through the first-ever statewide gun buyback program. In March, Attorney General James and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force took down a firearm and drug trafficking operation that illegally sold guns, including ghost guns and assault weapons, in New York City. Also in March, Attorney General James secured a court order banning 10 gun distributors from selling and shipping ghost gun parts into New York. In June 2022, Attorney General James sued 10 national gun distributors for bringing ghost gun parts into New York.