Bill would pull plug on reloading

By Coni Marie Sheridan

Reloading ammunition in Pennsylvania may become a thing of the past if a bill currently in state legislature is passed.

According to the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “in the last year, so-called “encoded” or “serialized” ammunition bills have been introduced in 13 states — Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington.”

The bills, if passed, would require all bullets and cartridge cases to be marked with a code and registered to the owners in a computerized database, therefore, reloading would be outlawed.

“It (the bill) would eliminate reloading because there would be no way to serial it (the ammunition),” Rollin Anderson of Anderson’s Gun Shop in Watsontown said. “A lot of guys that hand load (reload) are not happy about it.”

Anderson sells a lot of materials for ammunition reloading or hand loading, which is when you reuse the cartridges to make your own ammunition.

“It would hurt a lot of industries,” he explained. There are so many components involved with reloading that would no longer be needed if the bill is passed, he said.

“Reloading is cost effective and is more accurate,” he added. “It (the bullet) holds a better pattern.”

Ammunition you already own could also be at risk as many of the bills state that people would be required to forfeit all personally owned “non-encoded” ammunition after a certain date. Therefore, reloading would actually be deemed illegal.

“I think it’s ridiculous!” commented State Rep. Merle Phillips. “They’d take away reloading which a lot of gun owners do to save money. It makes no sense.”

Along with encoding and registering ammunition, there would also be a five cent tax on each bullet sold, therefore, a minimum $2.50 increase per box would be enforced.

“People would still buy the loaded ammo, but it’s a lot more expensive (than reloading),” Anderson said.

According to the Ammunition Accountability Web site, the legislation was prompted by a “newly forming group” that includes “gun crime victims, industry representatives, law enforcement, public officials, public policy experts and more.”

However, Angus McClellan of the NRA-ILA Grassroots said, “this is a proposal by a commercial enterprise that has a patent on technology to imprint the codes. They are trying to create a demand for their product by making it mandatory. The owner of the company admitted on NRA News that his lobbying firm put up the whole thing.”

Sample legislation obtained from the Ammunition Accountability Web site states, “Bullet coding is a new and effective way for law enforcement to quickly identify persons on interest in gun crime investigations.”

State Rep. Merle Phillips disagrees.

“Criminals can still steal guns and ammunition,” he said.

Trooper Matt Burrows of the state police agrees with Phillips and said, “It (the encoding) would help, but I don’t know to what degree or how it would be implemented.”

According to McClellan, the NRA-ILA has been successfully fighting the passage of this legislation so far.

He said, “These bills are pending and will likely die at the end of the sessions, however, they will likely be reintroduced next session and sessions thereafter and will certainly pose significant threats.”

For more information on the Ammunition Accountability Act, visit You can also visit for additional information and to find out what you can do to prevent this bill from being passed.

Coni Marie Sheridan: