Act Now to Oppose BATFE's Expansion of Federal "Armor Piercing" Ammo Ban

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posted on February 25, 2015
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Having failed to enact a federal ban on the AR-15—America’s most popular rifle—President Obama is using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to ban the 5.56mm M855 ball ammunition used in that popular firearm as “armor piercing ammunition.”

The BATFE’s announcement on Feb. 13 marked another example of Obama’s use of executive authority to bypass Congress and impose gun control, starting with suppressing the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223-caliber general-purpose rifles. Until now, M855 ball ammunition was protected under BATFE’s “framework” as being “Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes.” BATFE’s expansion of the “armor piercing” ban would eliminate its exemption and make future exemptions nearly impossible.

BATFE is accepting comments on its indefensible action until Mar. 16, 2015. Rest assured NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is currently examining the framework and its implications and will be submitting detailed comments to oppose it. In the meantime, gun owners, hunters and shooters must act now to ensure BATFE does not get away with its latest attempt to undercut the Second Amendment.

Contact your lawmakers (202-224-3121) and the BATFE to express opposition to this proposal and to highlight the framework’s errors. Following is a list of suggested talking points from NRA-ILA:

• M855 ammunition should not be categorized as “armor piercing” in the first place as lead is the primary material beneath its copper jacket.

• Rather than clarify the “sporting purposes” exemption, BATFE’s framework simply interprets it into irrelevance.

• The framework overturns nearly 30 years of settled law and the good faith expectations of gun owners and industry members.

• The framework is at odds with the law’s intent, which is to ensure that restrictions on armor-piercing handgun ammunition do not unduly restrict common rifle ammunition, most of which is capable of penetrating police body armor when used in a rifle as intended.

• BATFE incorrectly insists that it is required to establish an “objective” standard based on handgun design, yet it fails even to do that with the very broad “discretion” it retains to deny the exemption to projectiles that meet its “objective” test.

• The framework will suppress the development of non-lead rifle projectiles that offer increased performance for hunters, decreased lead exposure, and solutions for hunters in states that restrict the use of lead in hunting.

• The framework will likewise deter handgun development, as new designs could trigger bans.

• Coupled with increasing attempts to ban lead projectiles, the framework could drastically reduce the availability of lawful ammunition for sporting and other legitimate purposes.

• M855 ammunition in AR pistols is not a common threat faced by law enforcement officers.

Submit comments to the BATFE via email at [email protected]; fax to 202-648-9741; or write: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20226—ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

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