Attorney General Bonta Calls for Investigation into Federal Funding of Ammunition Plant Selling Military Grade Ammunition to the Public

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, as part of a coalition of 20 attorneys general, submitted a letter to the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention calling for a federal investigation after recent reports that billions of rounds of military-grade ammunition manufactured at the federally-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri were sold on the civilian commercial market, and used in many of the most tragic mass shootings in recent history.

“Disturbing reports show that American taxpayers have been unintentionally and unknowingly subsidizing the production of military-grade ammunition that was used in tragic acts of gun violence,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The ammunition produced by Lake City is specifically intended for military purposes and does not have a place within our communities. We hope this investigation sets a precedent and ensures that that the U.S. government will no longer subsidize the sale of military-grade weapons and ammunition to civilians.”

The U.S. Department of Defense provides subsidies and has allegedly invested more than $860 million to the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant so that it can be kept ready to meet large-scale production needs during times of war. Yet according to recent news reports, Lake City rounds have been sold on the civilian market and have become the ammunition of choice for use in mass shootings, including:

  • The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, in which 17 children and adults were murdered and 17 children and adults were wounded.
  •  The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA, in which 11 people were murdered as they gathered for Shabbat morning service and Torah study, and an additional six were wounded.
  •  The Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, in which 19 elementary school students and two of their teachers were murdered, and an additional 17 people were wounded.
  • The massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, in which 10 people were murdered and three were wounded.

In the letter, the states recognize the critical importance of military readiness, and of making sure that the military has adequate supplies and reserve production capacity to meet its needs. However, the attorneys general assert that the federal government can and must do more to ensure that military-grade weapons remain out of civilian hands and that tax dollars are not used to subsidize crime and gun violence. The letter urges the Office to investigate the contracting processes that led to these sale practices, to take action to ensure that military-grade and military-subsidized ammunition stays out of civilian hands, and to issue a public report with recommendations about how to end the diversion of military ammunition available for public purchase. 

The California Department of Justice has worked hand in hand with the federal government and President Biden to bolster the national fight against gun violence in America by:

Attorney General Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue tackling the issue of gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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