Illinois Attorney General Logo

Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Logo


January 11, 2024

CHICAGO – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with 19 attorneys general, called on the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to investigate recent reports that a federally funded contractor has produced military-grade ammunition for sale to civilians, including to perpetrators of horrific recent mass shootings.

 In their letter, Raoul and the coalition are calling on the White House office to investigate how a facility overseen by the U.S. Army – the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Lake City) – produced billions of rounds of ammunition that were sold on the civilian market. Raoul and the coalition are also asking the office to ensure that future military production contracts prohibit the sale of military-subsidized weapons and ammunition to civilians.

“Military-grade weapons and ammunition have no place in our communities,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate for commonsense gun safety measures to prevent the kind of horrific mass shooting events that have become all too common throughout our nation.”

Lake City is a manufacturing facility operated by a private contractor and overseen by the U.S. Army. It is one of the country’s largest manufacturers of military ammunition, able to produce 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition per year, much of it for use in AR-15-style rifles. Its commercial operations have sold billions of rounds on the civilian market, and recent reporting by the New York Times has shown its products have been used in mass shootings and other crimes.

Raoul and the coalition highlight that Lake City rounds have become the “ammunition of choice” for use in mass shootings, citing shootings at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The Buffalo mass shooter even praised Lake City ammunition as “the best barrier penetration ammo I can get.” 

The federal government has invested over $860 million to improve production at Lake City, meaning taxpayer funds are subsidizing production of these dangerous rounds sold to civilians. Raoul and the coalition are calling on the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to investigate the contracting and manufacturing practices that led to military-grade rounds being sold to civilians, issue a public report with recommendations about how to keep military ammunition out of civilian hands, and take long-term steps to ensure that future production contracts prohibit the sale of military weapons and ammunition to civilians.

Today’s letter is Attorney General Raoul’s most recent action to address gun violence throughout Illinois and across the nation. The Attorney General’s office works with state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to increase awareness of Illinois’ red flag law and to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system.

Raoul successfully filed and resolved a lawsuit to revoke the federal firearm license of an unscrupulous arms manufacturer. Raoul also proposed the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act in Illinois to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law in August 2023.

Nationally, Attorney General Raoul led coalitions of attorneys general in filing briefs supporting state laws in New Jersey and New York that similarly hold gun industry members accountable for their own, unlawful actions. Raoul has also led coalitions of attorneys general supporting state and federal firearm restrictions for people under the age of 21 and in support of bans on carrying firearms in sensitive areas such as in schools, on public transit and in places of worship.

In addition to supporting law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office supports victims service providers around Illinois that offer trauma-informed services for crime victims and their families. Raoul’s Crime Victims Services Division administers a host of programs and services to assist survivors of violent crime. More information is available on the Attorney General’s website.

Joining Raoul in sending the letter are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.