Why Did Ted Cruz Challenge Sanctions on Russian Ammo?

May 31, 2022 Topic: Congress Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Ted CruzSanctionsAmmunitionGun ControlCongress

Why Did Ted Cruz Challenge Sanctions on Russian Ammo?

In a September letter, Cruz and several members of the House endorsed the idea of sanctions on Russia—but not those related to ammunition.

In the wake of the horrific shooting in Texas last week, a great deal of criticism has fallen upon the shoulders of Ted Cruz, the Republican U.S. senator from Texas. Cruz, among other incidents, was confronted over the holiday weekend while dining in a Texas restaurant.

Another recent story involving guns and Cruz is an indication of just how fast stories can change when it comes to politicians taking specific positions.

The Washington Post reported last week, in a story that was mostly about Cruz and other politicians attending the NRA’s convention just days after the shooting, that Cruz and some other officials had sent a letter last fall opposing sanctions on Russian ammunition.

Last August, the Biden administration had announced that it was imposing “additional costs on Russia” in response to the Russian regime’s poisoning of opposition politician Aleksey Navalny.

“New and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial,” the announcement said.

The announcement, which came months before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, also came amid an ammunition shortage, which many feared at the time would be exacerbated by the sanctions. Others even alleged conspiracy theories about the Biden administration wanting to make the shortage worse or perhaps using the sanctions as an attempt at backdoor gun control. Russia, the previous year, had been the largest supplier of foreign ammunition to the United States; Moscow was known for supplying cheap ammo.

In the September letter, addressed to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellow, Cruz and several members of the House endorsed the idea of sanctions on Russia—but not those related to ammunition—and called for that decision to be reversed by the Biden administration.

“Wholesalers, retailers, small businesses, gun owners, and shooting sportsmen rely on ammunition imported from Russia and are rightfully concerned that this is an attempt at gun control. We strongly urge your Administration to reverse this ban,” the Cruz letter said.

“While we hope that American ammunition manufacturers will produce more ammunition to stabilize the current market, your attempt at circumventing Congress and enacting gun control will not go unchecked. We ask that you immediately vacate this new ban on the import of Russian ammunition and look forward to receiving your prompt response.”

The Post described the revelation of this letter as a “scoop,” but it was publicly released at the time. But perhaps needless to say, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine leading to even more sanctions, there is likely no longer any chance of those Russian ammo sanctions being lifted anytime soon.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.