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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the requirement resulted in a massive amount of paperwork that served no law enforcement purpose, Congress in 1982 rescinded it as it applied to .22 rimfire ammunition and in 1986, as part of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, rescinded it as it applied to center-fire ammunition.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

Orange County Register  

Monday, October 17, 2016

California: No on Proposition 63

California has the strictest gun laws in the nation, but that hasn’t quelled our state politicians’ need to ...

Sacramento Bee  

Friday, October 14, 2016

New California law restricting ammunition sales sparks buying frenzy

Gun shows are frequent events and usually laid back, but the one staged on Aug. 20 at the ...

Ventura County Star  

Friday, October 14, 2016

California: Vote no on Proposition 63

Proposition 63 is an effort led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to tighten firearms laws in California, particularly ...


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hacked emails show Clinton camp avoided full embrace of SAFE Act

Advisers to Hillary Clinton carefully calibrated laudatory remarks she made about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control law, the ...

Fresno Bee  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Proposition 63 won’t keep Californians any safer from gun violence

Now, on the Nov. 8 ballot, Proposition 63 – the “Safety for All Act” developed by Lt. Gov. ...

Associated Press  

Monday, October 10, 2016

California voters consider even tougher gun control laws

With the anniversary of last year's terrorist shootings in San Bernardino approaching, California voters are considering expanding some ...

Sacramento Bee  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Barbra Streisand endorses California gun control initiative

Barbra Streisand is hoping California voters will soon make gun violence the way we were.In a fundraising email ...

Sacramento Bee  

Friday, September 30, 2016

California: Gavin Newsom duels with Olympic shooter over gun control initiative

After winning a sixth Olympic medal at the Rio Games this summer, skeet shooter Kim Rhode is taking ...

Legislation Introduced to Protect American Gunsmiths From Reckless State Department “Guidance”


Friday, September 30, 2016

Legislation Introduced to Protect American Gunsmiths From Reckless State Department “Guidance”

On Wednesday, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the Export Control Reform ...

Los Angeles Times  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

California: Olympic medalist featured in new ads against gun control initiative Proposition 63

Six-time Olympic shooting medalist Kim Rhode is featured in a second wave of video ads by the campaign ...


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.