Two Republican state lawmakers in Texas propose establishing a Texas Ammunition Manufacturing Facility as an office within the state’s Department of Public Safety.
Noting a shortage in the supply of ammunition and soaring prices amid growing crime, state Sen. Pete Flores sponsored a bill in the Texas Senate (SB 1851) and state Rep. Ellen Troxclair sponsored a companion bill in the Texas House (HB 3539).
“Law enforcement has found it difficult in recent years to find sufficient supplies of ammunition or afford what is available,” Troxclair said in a prepared statement. “This adversely affects their ability to train and adequately respond to public safety needs, including mass shootings.”
Under the legislation, the Texas Department of Public Safety would authorize a public-private partnership for the construction and operation of an ammunition manufacturing facility. No taxpayer funds would be spent, the legislation specifies.
Flores and Troxclair, the sponsors, contend that the facility would be able to manufacture lower-cost, quality ammunition for use by law enforcement and the public.
Sales tax revenue from the sale of ammunition would be dedicated to law enforcement training, school safety, and facility operations, according to the bill.
The facility would be authorized to sell ammunition directly to law enforcement without charging sales tax. It also would sell ammo to distributors and retailers with no sales tax exemption, but would not sell directly to consumers.
Most U.S. ammunition is manufactured by two companies—Winchester and Remington—under various brand names, according to an information sheet covering “frequently asked questions” on the bill.
The FAQ sheet responds to a question about government involvement by answering: “When it comes to ammunition, the free market has failed us.”
It adds: “Winchester currently has a 10-year contract to operate a federal ammunition plant in Missouri. There have been many other examples over the years.”
The two sponsors also contend that their bill would minimize the impact on the private sector by prohibiting sales directly to consumers.