No one knows how Douglas Haig felt when he learned the identity of the shooter in the October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. For Haig, circumstances are different. It will be a moment he’ll never forget. Kind of like the “Where were you when JFK was killed,” moment for older Americans.
Haig is the man who sold ammunition to the shooter, Stephen Paddock. Haig, arrested on Friday for manufacturing and peddling armor-piercing bullets without a license, has been making ammo for years.
Federal agents were diverted to Haig’s home in Mesa, Arizona on October 29 when they found his fingerprints on a pair of unfired rounds in the shooter’s Mandalay Bay hotel room. The two projectiles also had tool marks which later would be linked to Haig’s workshop.
Paddock and Haig first met each other in Phoenix in early September. Paddock went, at Haig’s invitation, to Haig’s home, to buy over 700 rounds of tracer ammunition. When Paddock asked for a box to tote the rounds to his vehicle, Haig gave him a used container which included Haig’s name and address.
“I didn’t contribute to what Paddock did,” Haig told reporters. “I couldn’t see into his mind, and the product I sold had nothing to do with what he did.”
Marc Victor, Haig’s lawyer, insists Haig has nothing to hide and told reporters his client chose to speak with the press to “protect his reputation.”
Are Armor Piercing Bullets Legal?
Yes. It is legal to make, sell and buy so-called armor piercing ammo as long as a person has the correct licensing.
The federal definition includes all components of ammunition and is detailed in 18 USC 921(a)(17). Four are:
The projectile fired from the weapon — not the entire cartridge.
The item which ignites the powder when struck by the firing pin.
The substance which burns and forms gas pressure to propel the bullet through the barrel.
The component which holds it all together. Ordinarily metallic, and made of brass, other metals such as aluminum, steel or polymer, can be used.
Haig’s mistake was his failure to get a Federal Firearms License (FFL). If Haig had been making ammo for himself, no license would be required.
An FFL is easy to get and don’t cost much. Costs, for the first three years, range from $30 to $200. And $90 for each three-year period after.
The SHARE Act
America’s gun control debate went into overdrive following the Las Vegas mass shooting. While the shooter was in his sniper’s next, a pro-gun bill which would make armor-piercing ammunition illegal, was lingering in Congress.
HR 3668, The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), included several clauses to support recreational hunters and shooters. One of which would make it easier to sell and purchase armor-piercing bullets.
The bill, supported by the National Rifle Association and the Trump White House, is opposed by law enforcement authorities. Ironically, early hearings around the SHARE Act were delayed when Congressman Steve Scalise, and aides, were shot during a Capitol Hill baseball game in June 2017.