5.56 ammo ban update

On February 13, the ATF announced that it was seeking comments on its proposal to removed the “sporting purposes” exemption of M855 and SS109 ammunition, meaning that it would ban production and sale of these popular 5.56mm loads. The same day the proposal was released, on a Friday of a three day holiday weekend, ATF opened up a shortened 30-day period for the public to submit comments about the new regulation. Further, anyone having M855 projectiles would commit a felony by handloading them (the ban applies, not to “manufacturers” which the gun statutes narrowly define; instead it makes it illegal for “any person to manufacture” such ammo).

ATF publishes, approximately every 10 years, Regulation Guide of “published ordinances” relating to guns, for guidance of firearm dealers. The 2005 Guide included an exemption for AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition, which means it exempted from the definition of “armor piercing” and therefore is legal on the federal level. But the 2014 Guide, reportedly released in January 2015, has already deleted the exemption for M855 ammunition! The decision was made, and published, BEFORE the agency sought comment on it! Possibly long before, since releasing a book in January requires editing it well before then, and getting it to the Government Printing Office so they can print it. Also, the Office of Management and Budget must review and approve ATF Regulation Guides, which can take months and changes to Regulation Guides are not easily or often made.

The ATF, of course, says it was just a clerical oversight (Riiiight…. it was just an oversight that they REMOVED critical old text from the document.), and has corrected the pdf version.


(And that bullet-riddled door that disappeared from ATF’s evidence in Waco is still missing, by the way.)

Another good write-up on the ATF’s power grab.

Then, on March 10, the ATF issued a statement in which it backed off from its illicit proposed ammo ban, saying “Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith [false] interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen [false], the vast majority of the [80,000+] comments received to date are critical of the framework [true], and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework.” The recension pretty much proves ATF was lying about the ammo meeting its own “armor piercing” criteria in the first place, though ATF still says it is AP ammo.

Two points: (1) “At this time” is the operative phrase. They/it WILL be back. (2) The Second Amendment has no “sporting purposes” limitation.

Why ATF backed off.

Thank you for your efforts. Comments will still be accepted up to March 16, 2015 and if you have not yet, it’s still a good idea to submit comments. It’s also a good idea to thank Senators and Representatives who signed letters opposing the ban.

Did I say they will be back? It’s already happening. In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing March 12, ATF Director B. Todd Jones said all types of the 5.56 military-style ammo used by shooters pose a threat to police as more people buy the AR-15-style pistols.

“ANY 5.56 round” is “a challenge for officer safety,” he said. Jones asked lawmakers to help in a review of the 1986 bill written ostensibly to protect police from so-called “cop killer” (sic) rounds that largely exempted rifle ammo like the 5.56 because it has been used for sport. We are unaware of any AP or “cop killer” bullet ever being used to kill a cop by penetrating his body armor.

If they’re concerned about “ANY 5.56 round,” they just want to ban ammo, period, and want to start with deer rifle ammo.

The Mississippi House has also passed a committee-amended Senate Bill 2619 bill to address the proposed ATF ammunition ban by removing the state law ban on “armor piercing ammunition as defined in federal law” from Section 97-37-31, Mississippi Code of 1972.


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