Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

S. 397 Update

Monday, August 8, 2005

As we reported last week, thanks to your great efforts, the U.S. Senate passed S. 397--the  "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act"--by a strong bipartisan vote of 65-31!  This action represents a MAJOR first step toward ending the anti-gun lobby's extreme and immoderate attempts to bankrupt the firearm industry through reckless, predatory lawsuits, and was a ground breaking step forward for law-abiding firearm manufacturers, retailers and owners in this country.

There has been some discussion this week concerning two amendments to S. 397.  The first, by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), requires federally licensed dealers to provide a "secure gun storage or safety device" with the sale/transfer of every handgun (it does not apply to long guns).  The measure, which passed by a vote of 70-30, does not require gun owners to use the device, does not apply to private transfers, and does not create any new civil liability for gun owners who choose not to use these storage devices. Virtually all new handguns today are sold with some type of secure storage or safety device.  The amendment has no significant impact on current law.

The other amendment, by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), passed by a margin of 87-11, and was offered this year (as it was in 2004) in a successful attempt to defeat Sen. Edward Kennedy's "armor piercing" ammunition amendment that would have banned all centerfire rifle ammunition.  By providing an alternative to Sen. Kennedy's amendment, pro-gun senators were able to marshal the votes to defeat the Kennedy amendment.

Here's what this amendment does:

* The amendment (section 6 of the bill) restates the existing prohibition (in 18 USC Sec. 922(a)) on manufacture, or on sale by manufacturers, of "armor piercing ammunition," except for government use, for export, or for use in testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.  This law has been in effect for nearly two decades.

* It increases the mandatory minimum sentence for the use of "armor piercing ammunition" in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime.  Use of armor piercing ammunition in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime is already a federal offense punishable by 5 years in prison; the amendment increases the penalty to 15 years, and authorizes the death penalty if the ammunition is used in a murder.

* It directs the Attorney General to conduct a study "to determine whether a uniform standard for the testing of projectiles against Body Armor is feasible."  In fact, we know such a standard is "feasible" because the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has been testing projectiles against body armor since the early 1970s, and has regularly written and updated the standards for testing projectiles against armor.  NIJ's research has saved lives by improving the design and manufacture of body armor.  (NIJ standards and background information are available online at http://www.justnet.org/testing/bodyarmor.html.)

Here's what this amendment does not do:

* The amendment does not give the Attorney General (or anyone else) any new authority to ban ammunition.

* The amendment does not change the definition of "armor piercing ammunition."  Under current law (18 USC Sec. 921(a)(17)(B)), ammunition is only "armor piercing" if it has a bullet that "may be used in a handgun" and that is made entirely from certain hard metals such as tungsten, steel, bronze or depleted uranium; or if the bullet is "designed and intended for use in a handgun" and has a jacket that weighs more than 25% of the weight of the projectile.  The current definition has been in place for more than 12 years.

* The amendment does not create any kind of new ammunition ban.  The only ammunition that is banned as "armor piercing" is ammunition that fits the current definition, and neither the amendment nor the study would change the definition.

As you know, the fight now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, so it is critical that you once again contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to pass S. 397!

Members should also express their gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and bill sponsors Sens. Larry Craig and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for their leadership and stewardship on S. 397.

(For a list of roll call votes on these amendments and final passage of S. 397, please go to www.NRAILA.org.  Take note of how your Senators voted, and please thank those who voted in support of gun owners and let those who voted against our rights know that you will keep their votes in mind when they are up for re-election.  BE SURE TO ALSO ATTEND ANY OF YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE'S TOWN HALL MEETINGS DURING THE "SUMMER DISTRICT WORK PERIOD" [Aug. 1-Sept. 5] and encourage him/her to bring up and pass S. 397 as soon as possible.)

TRENDING NOW
Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Friday, January 19, 2018

Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Substitute House Bill 1122 out of committee on a 7-6 vote.  This bill, which would require gun owners to lock up their firearms or potentially face criminal charges, will ...

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Earlier today, the Washington state Senate Law & Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 5992 out of committee with a 4-3 vote. As drafted, this legislation has overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made to ...

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

Gun control groups are fond of describing preemption as a doctrine whereby a state has stripped local governments of their power to regulate guns.

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

The sorry state of gun politics in Australia was put into stark relief recently, after Liberal National Party (LNP) Queensland Legislative Assembly MP Anthony Perrett took a principled stand in favor of his constituents’ gun rights.

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their front-group “Arizonans for Wildlife” are currently gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would ban the hunting and trapping of mountain lions and bobcats in ...

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

On Friday, January 12, several amicus briefs were filed in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit challenging California’s restrictions against magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The lawsuit, titled Duncan v. Becerra, challenges California’s ...

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

On Thursday, January 25th at 1:30PM, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear several sweeping gun control bills.  NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly encouraged to attend the committee hearing to voice your opposition ...

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Today, Senator Karl Rhoads (D-13) introduced legislation that would ban modifications commonly made to firearms by law-abiding citizens.  SB 2046 is currently pending a committee referral.  Please contact your Senator today and urge them to OPPOSE this ...

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

On Thursday, January 18th, Senate Bill 20 passed the Indiana state Senate by a vote of 47-2 and will now move to the House.  

New Jersey:  2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Jersey: 2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

A new Governor took the reins from Gov. Chris Christie this week, and a new Legislature has been sworn into office. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.