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Since the 1960s, gun control supporters have tried to get one or another variety of ammunition banned, severely restricted, prohibitively taxed or excessively regulated, to discourage the acquisition of guns and undermine their use.

For example, though the Gun Control Act of 1968 preamble stated that the law was not intended “to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms,” the law required purchasers of handgun-caliber ammunition and rifle-caliber ammunition that could be used in a handgun to sign ledgers documenting their purchases. Because the requirement resulted in a massive amount of paperwork that served no law enforcement purpose, Congress in 1982 rescinded it as it applied to .22 rimfire ammunition and in 1986, as part of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, rescinded it as it applied to center-fire ammunition.

In the 1980s, gun control supporters claimed they wanted to restrict new handgun bullets made of metals harder than lead, which had been invented to enable law enforcement officers shoot through walls and doors, but they instead pushed legislation that would have banned traditional ammunition manufactured with bullets made of lead, commonly used for self-defense, hunting and sports. The Departments of Justice and the Treasury, and the NRA, opposed the legislation and the NRA helped write the “armor piercing ammunition” law that Congress instead adopted in 1986.

In the 1990s, gun control supporters again proposed banning traditional ammunition, a move rejected by the Treasury Department. Separately, they also sought a 1,000 percent tax on 9mm, .25, and .32 caliber ammunition, a 50 percent tax on all handgun ammunition, a ban on mail-order ammunition sales, a requirement for a background check to purchase ammunition, and a limit on the amount of ammunition a person could own without an “arsenal license.” 

In February 2015, two years after failing to get Congress to ban the AR-15 and other general-purpose rifles, the Obama administration attempted to bypass Congress to ban the second most common ammunition used in the rifle. It withdrew the proposed ammunition ban after a majority in each house of Congress and over 80,000 Americans opposed the ban in letters and emails to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Congress threatened to reduce the chronically problematic agency’s budget.

Gun control supporters quickly took advantage of the situation to again call for a ban on traditional ammunition, like the bans that Congress rejected in 1986, and the Treasury Department rejected in 1997. Meanwhile, gun control supporters are trying to get traditional ammunition banned on environmental grounds as well.


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Issue Articles

Appeal Democrat  

Monday, November 21, 2016

California: Gun store owners uncertain after passage of ammunition proposition

Gun store owners and hunters are bracing for the uncertainty of how Proposition 63 will be implemented and the impact it will have.


Friday, November 18, 2016

N.J. should require photo I.D., electronic tracking for ammo sales, commission says

The commission acknowledged that tightening New Jersey's laws "will not unilaterally solve what is a complex interstate problem," ...

Illinois: House Committee to Hear Ammunition Serialization Legislation Tomorrow

Monday, November 14, 2016

Illinois: House Committee to Hear Ammunition Serialization Legislation Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear House Bill 6615, legislation that seeks to create a ...

Sacramento Bee  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Opponents fight California gun measure, count on Trump

California voters' approval of even tougher gun restrictions leaves opponents trying to contain the damage within the most ...

San Francisco Chronicle  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

California: Ammo buyers will be facing tougher rules

A sweeping state gun-control initiative designed to clamp down more on ammunition than rifles or pistols themselves was ...

Visalia Times-Delta  

Monday, November 7, 2016

California: Up in arms over Prop. 63

A proposition aimed at reducing the amount of ammunition that ends up in the hands of people who ...

Orange County Register  

Monday, November 7, 2016

California: Vote no on Proposition 63

Proposition 63 on California’s November ballot is a political ruse. Supporters, like Gavin Newsom, have dubbed it the ...

Seattle PI  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Seattle won't release its gun tax revenue; here's why

Mike Coombs, owner of Sodo's Outdoor Emporium, says he has laid off three employees and taken a $2 ...

Associated Press  

Monday, October 31, 2016

4 states to weigh tougher gun control in Nov. 8 election

The last time voters in Maine were asked about gun rights, they easily passed a constitutional amendment creating ...

Daily Press  

Friday, October 28, 2016

California: Vote no on Proposition 63

California already has the strictest gun laws in the nation, and has for several years.In order to buy ...


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.