Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Your Action Urgently Needed to Prevent BATFE from Banning Common Rifle Ammunition!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Your Action Urgently Needed to Prevent BATFE from Banning Common Rifle Ammunition!

Oppose BATFE's Expansion of the Federal "Armor Piercing" Ammo Ban and Tell Congress to Act

President Obama insisted that if Congress would not enact his gun control agenda, he would do so on his own, through executive action. Whatever else can be said of the president’s track record, he is doing his utmost to keep that promise. Having failed to enact a federal ban on the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle, he’s now using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to do the next best thing. BATFE is now proposing to ban a whole class of common rifle ammunition used in that overwhelmingly popular firearm. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning of BATFE’s latest move.

On Friday, we reported on breaking news that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) had issued a “framework” for when bullets which would otherwise be classified as “armor piercing” ammunition under federal law qualify for the law’s exemption for projectiles “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” 

Stop ATF's Ammo Ban: Urge Your U.S. Rep to Sign the Letter to ATF !

In an effort to thwart BATFE's attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers' opposition to the proposed Framework.

Write Your U.S. Representative

BATFE's framework is the product of an effort that dates back to at least 2012. As we reported in December 2012, BATFE had met with a wide variety of stakeholders, including your NRA, to gather input on this topic. We had expressed concern that BATFE was misreading the law and encouraged interested parties to file comments to help guide the process in a positive direction.

The issue arises from the federal Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (LEOPA), intended to ban "armor piercing" handgun ammunition ("AP" ammo) to protect police from being shot through their body armor in surprise attacks with handguns. In relevant part, LEOPA bans various sorts of non-lead projectiles (or projectile "cores") that “may be” used in handguns. 

As the authors of LEOPA realized, however, most common rifle ammunition created for legitimate purposes can penetrate soft body armor, and some rifle bullets can be loaded into ammunition for handguns. Congress therefore incorporated a “sporting purposes” exemption into the "AP" ammo ban to protect ordinary rifle ammunition from being swept up in the ban. Since LEOPA’s enactment in 1986, that scheme has generally worked as intended. 

We saw disturbing signs that was changing last year, however, when BATFE abruptly declared that popular 7N6 rifle ammunition was subject to the AP ammo ban.  At the time, questions arose as to why 7N6 was considered "AP" ammo, when the equally popular M855 rifle cartridge had long been subject to a "sporting purposes" exemption. Many wondered if BATFE would ever explain its approach to determining what projectiles are, in its opinion, "primarily suitable for sporting purposes." 

BATFE’s framework now does so. The bottom line is that BATFE has virtually interpreted the "sporting purposes" exemption out of the law. Simply put, this will result in disaster. 

The bottom line is that BATFE has virtually interpreted the "sporting purposes" exemption out of the law. Simply put, this will result in disaster.  

While the most visible and immediate effect of the framework is BATFE's revocation of the "sporting purposes" exemption for M855 ammunition, its long-term consequences could be even more severe. Once an "AP" projectile designed and intended by the manufacturer to be used in a rifle (for hunting, for example) "may be" shot from any commercially available multi-shot handgun, it could never be exempt under the framework (unless loaded in a .22 caliber rimfire cartridge). Basically, this means the virtual banning of non-lead centerfire rifle bullets, even as gun control activists and states are targeting lead bullets for separate bans. This collision of bans on both lead and non-lead bullets could eventually lead to a drastic reduction in lawfully-available ammunition offerings.

The NRA is continuing its examination of the framework and its implications and will be submitting detailed comments in opposition to it. As before, gun owners and other affected members of the public must act now to ensure BATFE does not get away with this. While emotions are running high in response to this latest attempt by BATFE to undercut the Second Amendment by administrative fiat, submissions should refrain from inappropriate language and calmly explain the framework’s errors. The following are just a few suggested points that can be addressed in comments to the proposed framework. This list is merely a sampling of the many points that could be raised against it. 

  • M855 ammunition should not even be categorized as "armor piercing" in the first place, given that lead is the primary material beneath its copper jacket.

  • BATFE's framework does not clarify the "sporting purposes" exemption; it 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 totally at odds with the intent of the law 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.
     

Comments will only be considered by BATFE if received by March 16, 2015. They may be submitted in any of three ways:

Write Your Lawmakers and BATFE

BATFE is proposing to ban common rifle ammunition used by millions of gun owners. If their proposal is approved, it will result in a ban on the sale of commonly sold rifle ammunition used by gun owners for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Write the BATFE and your members of Congress and express your opposition to this proposal. You may call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121.

WRITE YOUR LAWMAKERS AND BATFE

  1. Via email at APAComments@atf.gov (follow the instructions at the link for submitting comments).

  2. Via fax at (202) 648-9741.

  3. Via mail to Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

Finally, please contact your U.S. Senators and Member of Congress. Urge them to oppose BATFE's attempt to ban M855 handgun ammunition and other rifle cartridges that are overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for self-defense, sport shooting and other legitimate purposes as "armor piercing." Use the "Write Your Lawmakers" feature on our website or call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

TRENDING NOW
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald, many of the lower U.S. courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s outrageous opinion by ...

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hawaii: Anti-Gun Legislation Passes Committee

SB 898, sponsored by state Senator Ronald Kouchi (D-8), would permanently strip an individual of their Second Amendment rights, not based on a criminal conviction or mental adjudication, but based on a quasi-criminal proceeding.  The ...

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Today, Senator Robin Webb (D-18) offered a strike and insert amendment to constitutional/permitless carry legislation, Senate Bill 7.

New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

Measure Effective Immediately. Today was a great victory for gun owners in New Hampshire when Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law, allowing law-abiding New Hampshirites to carry their firearms in the manner that ...

West Virginia: Pro-Carry Legislation Introduced

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

West Virginia: Pro-Carry Legislation Introduced

Multiple pro-gun bills were introduced this week in the West Virginia Legislature that seek to provide protections to West Virginians who choose to carry a firearm for self-defense. 

South Dakota: Bill Attempting to Silence NRA Passed by House Committee

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

South Dakota: Bill Attempting to Silence NRA Passed by House Committee

Today, the House Judiciary Committee heard and passed House Bill 1200 by a 9-3 vote. 

Washington: Anti-Gun Legislation Could be Heard on the Floor Next Week

Friday, February 24, 2017

Washington: Anti-Gun Legislation Could be Heard on the Floor Next Week

As early as next week, the Washington House of Representatives could hear and vote on House Bill 1122 and House Bill 1483.

Iowa: Pro-Gun Bill Passes Subcommittee

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Iowa: Pro-Gun Bill Passes Subcommittee

Today, House Study Bill 133, the omnibus bill which would make many pro-gun reforms for Iowa gun owners, passed its subcommittee hearing.  HSB 133 will now go to the full House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  ...

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Petition for Supreme Court Review in Peruta Right-to-Carry Case

Friday, February 24, 2017

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Petition for Supreme Court Review in Peruta Right-to-Carry Case

In January, California Rifle & Pistol Association attorneys filed a petitionwith the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review the NRA-supported case of Peruta v. California, which seeks to confirm that the Second ...

A Fourth Circuit Trifecta: New Rulings Confirm Need for Judges who Respect Second Amendment

News  

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Fourth Circuit Trifecta: New Rulings Confirm Need for Judges who Respect Second Amendment

Anyone still unconvinced about the importance of the courts and the need for justices who support Second Amendment rights had plenty of food for thought this month, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ...

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.