Friday, September 4, 2009

Blind Alleys on the Internet

During World War II, soldiers stuck on troopships or remote bases would often start rumors, just for the sake of seeing how fast a tall tale would get back to them. The Internet is a wonderful tool for gun owners. You can go online and order hundreds of thousands of gun parts and accessories, look up gun manufacturers catalogs, and download reloading data and ballistics tables from your favorite bullet or powder makers. The same goes for range information, hunting tips, firearm history and everything else you can imagine in the world of guns. But there's a price to pay for all this. Part of that price is that misinformation travels just as fast as the truth. A good example is S.B. 2099, a bill that would supposedly require you to report all your guns on your income tax return every April 15. Like many rumors, there's only a small grain of truth in this one. It turns out someone's recycling an old alert that wasn't even accurate when it was new. There actually was a bill called S.2099 that would have taxed handguns - nine ears ago. It disappeared without any action by the Senate.

And now for the ammunition shortage. We all know that ammunition's been getting more expensive, and lately some calibers can be hard to find at any price. Naturally, according to the Internet buzz, there must be a conspiracy. Fortunately, this time fiction is stranger than truth. Ammunition is scarce because - Suprise! - people are buying a lot of it. Far from cutting back, manufacturers are running three shifts a day to keep up with demand. Eventually, things may get back to normal. But in the meantime, the only place busier than the ammo factories is the rumor mill.