Law Shield wants our members to know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced last week that it intends to ban commonplace M855 5.56mm NATO ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.”
BATFE has released a “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”, which would eliminate M855’s exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition.
A federal law passed in 1986 prohibits the manufacture, importation, and sale by licensed manufacturers or importers, but not possession, of “a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely . . . from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.”
Because there are handguns capable of firing M855, it “may be used in a handgun.” It does not, however, have a core made of the metals listed in the law; rather, it has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, and therefore should never have been considered “armor piercing.”
Nonetheless, BATFE previously declared M855 to be “armor piercing ammunition,” but granted it an exemption as a projectile “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” That exemption is gone now for M855.
Earlier this year, BATFE made a major change to what activities constitute regulated “manufacturing” of firearms. Next, BATFE reversed a less-than-year-old position on firing a shouldered “pistol.”
Do you think it’s legal for the president to use his executive authority to impose gun-control restrictions like this ammunition ban? Let us hear your opinions.
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