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Joe Biden Is Banning the Import of Russian Bullets: Will Ammo Prices Spike?

9mm Ammo
9mm Ammo Up Close.

There are things lawmakers can do to help Americans during tough times. For example, when gas prices are high the president can release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), while farm subsidies actually help to protect the nation’s food supply. Now Americans are facing the greatest ammunition shortage possibly ever, and the Biden administration addressed the problem by imposing sanctions that banned the importation of Russian ammunition.

Last week, the White House announced that it would stop approving new permits to import Russian-made firearms as well as ammunition. The ban, which is part of a new round of sanctions against the Russian government over its alleged poisoning and imprisoning of dissident Aleksey Navalny, is set to go into effect on Sept. 7, 2021.

“Pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (the CBW Act), the United States will impose a second round of sanctions on the Russian Federation over its use of a ‘Novichok’ nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny,” that U.S. Department of State explained in a fact sheet.

Guns and Ammo Ban

This might seem very much like a “first world problem” as it largely impacts sportsmen and women including hunters and target shooters, but the truth is that it is also affecting competitive shooters and even some rural police departments that often buy their ammunition off the shelf like the rest of us.

In other words, this is pure politics and gun control via other means.

As the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported, this policy prohibits the importation of both firearms and ammunition, but Russian firearms were already heavily restricted under past executive policies, so this action by the Biden Administration is really just about a ban on Russian made ammunition.

It is likely to impact American shooters, as well as those who count on their firearms for personal defense, while doing very little to actually punish Russia.

“Ammunition exports to the United States are only a small percentage of the GDP of the Russian Federation, but Russian origin ammo makes up a large part of the American ammunition supply,” the NRA-ILA explained. “American gun owners were already suffering from a market where demand was exceeding available supply. This new move by the Biden Administration will severely worsen the present supply problems.”

Even as the law only goes into effect next month, importers will likely only be able to continue to import ammunition that was previously approved prior to the publication of the notice in the Federal Register. This is because any new orders made now could take weeks to get approved and that approval wouldn’t come until after September 7.

It could be months before the supplies of Russian-made ammunition dry up, but it is likely to just extend the great ammo shortage even longer.

“All of this is of course by design for the Biden Administration,” the NRA-ILA added. While the White House botched the withdrawal of U.S. forces and civilians from Afghanistan, it seems like it has managed to dry up the supply of Russian ammunition with relative ease.

Ammo Prices are Rising.

Image: Creative Commons.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.