…it could happen in your state.
Sometimes a minor incident turns out to be the “canary in the mine shaft” in that it serves as a warning of a much bigger problem for gun owners. That is exactly how I saw the recent insanity that unfolded in San Antonio. The NEWS4 headline said it all:
“75 rounds of ammunition found underneath house, nearby homes evacuated”
The story included images of ambulances, fire trucks, and multiple police cars. Even more astonishing is that the bomb squad was called to the scene. All because someone found some old ammunition. Are you kidding me?
According to the report, “Family members said a veteran who served for more than 30 years lived at the house until he passed away recently.” Wow, big surprise that a veteran might have some ammunition from his military days. Why he put it under the house is anybody’s guess. Maybe he had grandchildren who visited, or perhaps he just wanted it “out of the way”—who knows?
When I first saw this story, I thought that it must be just another example of the media getting the facts wrong. After all, I thought, you don’t bring in the bomb squad for nothing more than some old rifle or handgun cartridges. Surely it had to be something much more serious, like 40mm grenade rounds.
But no, an entire neighborhood was brought to a virtual standstill. People were forced to leave their homes. All over nothing more than a couple of boxes of cartridges. I still have trouble wrapping my head around that.
Interestingly, this was not the first time that law enforcement authorities had visited the home. Just a week before, according to the story, “the bomb squad spent about half an hour disposing of shotgun shells found there.” Excuse me, but half an hour “disposing” of some shotgun shells? Seriously? Thirty minutes to pick up a box of shells and carry it to the squad car? And you need the bomb squad for that?
The larger problem is that this kind of overreaction is becoming increasingly common. We see school “lockdowns” because someone reports that they thought they “saw someone with a gun” or that they “heard gunshots”—not at or near the school, mind you, but a mile away. Naturally, if you dare to point out that there never was any threat to the school, you will be attacked as “not caring about the safety of our children.”
This attitude stems from the growing sentiment that no reaction is too excessive, too outlandish, or too silly. And when it comes to guns, it’s even worse. No official wants to take the chance of being called negligent, so they end up treating even the most minor incident like a “nuclear” threat.
This case was over a measly 75 rounds. As a firearms instructor, I often have nearly 1000 rounds of ammunition in my car. Many of you do, too. What happens if we get rear-ended in a traffic accident, and the arriving police see that? One friend quipped, “What next? A SWAT team raid because someone saw me cleaning my guns on my backyard deck?”
I wish I had an answer to this insanity. But I am fearful that this sort of nonsense is only going to increase. Innocent people have already been shot in such situations, and “systemic” overreaction drastically increases the likelihood of more bad outcomes.