NRA-ILA: ‘BATFE To Ban Common AR-15 Ammo’

The following is an alert from the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015:

In a move clearly intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced today that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress.

It isn’t even the third week of February, and the BATFE has already taken three major executive actions on gun control. First, it was 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.” Now, 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 and make future exemptions nearly impossible.

By way of background, federal law imposed 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.”

Now, however, BATFE says that it will henceforth grant the “sporting purposes” exception to only two categories of projectiles:

Category I: .22 Caliber Projectiles

A .22 caliber projectile that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) will be considered to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile weighs 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.

Category II: All Other Caliber Projectiles

Except as provided in Category I (.22 caliber rimfire), projectiles that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition will be presumed to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile is loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun. ATF nevertheless retains the discretion to deny any application for a “sporting purposes” exemption if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for such purposes.

BATFE is accepting comments until March 16, 2015 on this indefensible attempt to disrupt ammunition for the most popular rifle in America. Check back early next week for a more in-depth analysis of this “framework” and details on how you can submit comments.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Cobra December 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Boy…that Obozo is one hell of a Gun and ammo Salesman,I’ll bet he alone has sold more ammo&guns than any person on the face of this earth,has to be on some ones payroll…All I care to say to the guy with the big ears that wears “Mom Jeans” Is keep up the good work” Sweetness” Soon every person in the USA will have 20 guns each(Every man woman&child) and and more ammo than they will ever use in the next 50 y\ears,not worry it wont go bad….

  • Gordon November 7, 2015, 3:16 pm

    Hey Guys did y’all notice the dates on this (Feb 2015)

  • Richard Dorsey February 17, 2015, 2:27 pm

    To the idiot who asked why the military can classify M855 as armor piercing but civilians can’t, I say this: The military does not classify M855 as armor piercing. The steel insert in the front of the round does nothing to facilitate the penetration of armor. It is their to stabilize the bullet in flight. The SS109 round as designed by FNH in the ’80’s for the prototype forerunner of the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon System needed the added weight in the front to maintain stable flight when fired at the high cyclic rate of the SAW. M855 is designated by a green tip. All armor piercing ammo is designated by a black tip. This is merely a ploy of your boy Obama to limit our freedoms.

    USAF Combat Arms Veteran

  • looney tunes February 17, 2015, 1:15 pm

    well there goes my order for a S&W MP 15. I give up. I suppose .308 will be the next round to get the ax.

  • Jay February 17, 2015, 7:03 am

    One step at a time until the slime of the obama administration have what they want! One and all under thier control and no way to fight back! If you’ll remember the obama administration in 2013 set up such stringent EPA regulations on lead smelters that we no longer have any active in the USA and lead has to be shipped in now! Just look at history and baby steps to make the big haul has always worked and most just go about their daily life until one day when they wake up those freedoms are Gone! If we read between the lines of the ruling wouldn’t making solid copper bullets which many manufactures do now be illegal too? Just a thought!

  • Ringo Lapua February 16, 2015, 9:37 pm

    People must fully realize that President Obama thinks like a ghetto black thug and because of that he fully realizes how dangerous guns are to the black community, primarily low income blacks who live in places like Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Cleveland, New York City, Baltimore, Atlanta, St. Louis, Miami etc.. The vast majority of gun crimes (about 80%) are perpetrated by black men been the ages of 15 and 50 years old and these people comprise less than 5% of the overall population. President Obama also realizes that his fellow black thugs are in danger of being shot (such as Michael Brown) when then attempt to rape, rob and loot. Therefore it makes perfect sense to disarm the law abiding self defense minded American public in order to PROTECT BLACK CRIMINALS FROM BEING KILLED. Keep in mind that I am not singling out all black people, just those who commit violent crimes.

  • Ringo Lapua February 16, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Good golly gee whiz….. I’m sure glad that I recently purchased 5000 rounds more of 5.56 ball ammo. Got to build up my supplies for the coming revolution. Gonna need lots more of 5.56, .308, 45 Long Colt, 9mm, 45 ACP, 40 S&W, 357 mag. & sig, 44 magnum, 45-70, 338 Lapua Magnum, .17 WSM, 22 Magnum, 22 LR., 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 54, etc. etc. etc. Hunting squirrels is really gonna get expensive.

  • My Info February 16, 2015, 8:44 pm

    It may be a good thing to get that junk off the shelf. That stuff is more like shooting a shot gun than a rifle. Who wears body armor on their face anyway?

  • Dave February 16, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Anybody stop to figure out the Aguila .22 rimfire Sniper SubSonic is now armor piercing since it weighs more than 40 grains?

  • Deteeeee February 16, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Well crap, I just spent all my money on stocking up on the guns that I feel will be banned and come to find out they are going after the ammo ahead of schedule, I knew it was eventual but not this fast! I need more money… Otherwise I now have a nice collection of defensive/sporting clubs….

  • Richard February 16, 2015, 2:19 pm

    Yes already i’ve check a number of site’s and just about all of the green tip is bought up. the shelf is empty.
    i myself just pickup 2000 rds of .233 that i wouldn’t of done normally. Obama must have stock in the ammunition.
    if he would just leave things alone we wouldn’t panic every time he tries to do something he thinks will cut down on
    the killing of the public, it backfires, and “We The People” panic and go buy more Ammo and Guns that we don’t need
    but we have to encase he is able to stop the sale of guns and ammo to protect us. Now i have over 30 weapons i haven’t
    bought any for over fifteen years cause i don’t need anymore there is a few i would like but living in Calif. can’t have here.
    and i don’t need all i have but i like to shoot , plinking mostly I don’t hunt. Nothing wrong with hunting as long as they do it
    for food and not just so they can claim they kill a Bear or Deer….etc. I don’t have the answer’s i have a few thoughts but don’t know if it would solve the problem or not. But taking guns and ammo away from the people is not the answer……

  • all7741 February 16, 2015, 1:45 pm

    Obama is a marxist.

  • mrsmith74 February 16, 2015, 1:27 pm

    I watched a video clip, I don’t know which Senator, but he called out his colleagues for betraying their oath of office to defend the constitution and the bill of rights. It was an excellent speach, he told them if they wanted to attack gun owners then man up and make the 28th constututuonal amendment and try and convince their voters to ban guns. He ended his speach saying the 2nd amendment is to protect the citizens from “us”. He nailed it and our founding fathers knew that day will eventually come again.

  • Warner February 16, 2015, 11:38 am

    Your comment letter to BATFE should be short, and no rhetoric. It should say simply, “Regarding your proposed ban on M855-type ammunition, it is not based on fact. The far greatest proportion of M-855 is sold specifically for sporting purposes. I oppose the ban as an unreasonable burden on sport shooters like me.”

    • J Miller February 16, 2015, 3:15 pm

      Short and to the point. Well stated Warner. Thank You.

  • Bruce February 16, 2015, 11:33 am

    Think about this… By banning sales of any ammunition , the federal government and state government loses tax revenue from the sale of ammunition. But then all Obama has to do to make the loss is to , create a new tax.

  • Bruce February 16, 2015, 11:29 am

    Just a couple of days ago , Obama ordered police officiers NOT to arrest drunk drivers in one southwestern state. So Obama’s policy is to let criminals go , and push those of us who abide by the law. Obama is turning this country into a sewer.

  • John L February 16, 2015, 9:30 am

    Let the panic buying begin. Calm down people. This is going nowhere. I do get a laugh out of the fact that Obama and other antis have been responsible for record AR and ammunition sales. Oh the irony. They just don’t get it.

  • Bee February 16, 2015, 8:50 am

    Excellent illustration of a minority group using bureaucratic government regulation to attack the majority. With unintended stretching of the well intended regulations. Just goes to show, never is government regulation or assistance a good thing.

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 8:33 am

    Here’s another opportunity where Republicans will show the only difference between them and Democrats is in their rhetoric. It’s time to repeal the entire concept of ‘sporting purposes’.

    Won’t happen, because only a handful of Republicans are actually pro-gun.

    • Bill February 16, 2015, 10:29 am

      At least there is a chance with a Republican. With a Democrat you know you are screwed.

      • Warner February 16, 2015, 11:25 am

        The only party actually dedicated to firearms rights is Libertarian. The other two shape their position to local constituencies. A Dem from a rural area is probably more likely a gun rights supporter than a Rep from urban district.

        • Jim M February 16, 2015, 2:33 pm

          Excellent point Joe. Suggest everyone write or contact via the web their local state and federal reps on this issue and ask their opinion and express your own opinion in a civil manner to them. Sounds like anyone owning copper jacketed 223 Rem/5.56 ammo may be a criminal in near future for just owning the ammo and that is outrageous. In my case I have no idea what is inside my copper jacketed bullets made by numerous companies. We all need to stay informed rather then just assume our Representatives is pro gun/hunting/shooting.

  • David W, Stephenson February 16, 2015, 8:01 am

    I’m buying bullets everyday of all soets and of every weapon that I own

  • John February 16, 2015, 7:52 am

    Some retailers seem to already have reacted to the BATF’s “intention” to ban this ammo. Sportsmans Guide has none available currently available on line. Check it out.

    • r david maruska February 16, 2015, 10:56 am

      Not to call b.s., but a check of Sportsmans Guide 5 mins ago shows at least 50 selections of .223 on its site. Get it while you can.

  • Dan February 16, 2015, 7:32 am

    Dear BATFE,

    I request that you do NOT ban my .223 ammunition. I just bought the gun for plinking, hunting, & self defense. Now rumor has it that you are wanting to ban the ammunition. I have been a law-abiding gun owner, hunter, and sporting shooter pretty much all my life and I have never broken the law with a firearm and never intend to! Why not go get the bad guys who will have this ammo no matter if you ban it or not. Hardened criminals should never be allowed to have an advantage over law abiding citizens! This still is America isn’t it? Where the good guys prevail and the bad guys loose! Let’s hope so.

  • Marine1 February 16, 2015, 7:12 am

    Such a small projectile, yes there are AP versions, as well as tracers, FMJ-Full Metal Jacket (Ball Ammo),
    OTM-Open Tip Match, HP-Hollow Point, SP-Soft Point, BT-Ballistic Tip.
    Why do we need AP anyway, just to shoot at paper? IF you are actually hunting with
    these rounds, AP is not your only choice. Hoping this will not pass, in the mean time,
    STOCK UP NOW!!! Gun shows are a good bet to acquire mass amounts.

    • Winston February 16, 2015, 8:07 am

      Too late. All bought up and 5.56mm/ .223 prices are alarmingly jacked up as of FEB. 16th on some retailer websites.

    • Willy B Jarhead February 16, 2015, 11:59 am

      Marine1…….It’s another ‘nail in the coffin, Marine. The Second Amendment says ‘nada’ about ‘hunting’, and in fact has NOTHING to do with hunting. When the M193 round was upgraded to meet NATO specs we got the M855. The barrel twist had to be changed as well and I believe that’s where the mil. 7 twist came about. Civilian mfgrs developed the 8 & 9 twist barrels as a compromise to handle both the M193 and M855, and to keep barrels from burning out so fast- (7 twist). M855 has (HAD) provided inexpensive shooting for civilians, but that went out the window about 5 or 6 years ago (see OBAMA). Now, Marine, isn’t ammo expensive and difficult enough for us shooters to find today? Seems to me this has been the thrust of the ‘anti’s’ for some time now. Other than that, you are 100% accurate about using the M855 as a hunting round. Remember, too, that military/civilian match rounds (hollow pts) are not recommended for hunting, so you get the drift? OORAH

  • copper622 February 16, 2015, 7:07 am

    ok NRA, where are you on this. Get working fast, that’s what I pay my dues for.

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 6:11 am

    Looks like their is going to be another run on penetrator type ammo.

  • Not Willing February 16, 2015, 4:58 am

    Clearly the civilian population is an enemy in the eyes of the illegal Obama administration who is carrying out all gun control activity to the unconstitutional aims of the UN anti-gun agenda for the new world order.

  • troop emonds February 16, 2015, 4:28 am

    So if one cuts off the tip of a full jacked copper bullet does that make it legal?

    • Lonnie Berry February 16, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Interesting. I wonder how the ballistic would change. If the tip were removed and hollowed out a bit that would certainly change it’s designation.

  • John February 16, 2015, 4:01 am

    Obama, along with all his cohorts, belong behind bars.

  • ROGER ATLAS February 15, 2015, 2:04 am


    • EV GREER February 16, 2015, 3:47 pm


      • Gary Redeker March 14, 2015, 4:59 pm

        When our representatives (Congress & House of Rep.) make it to Washington they are given an “introduction” by their party leader (our case Republican.) During this meeting they are told that “if they go against the majority of the party there will be consequences.” Such consequences could be not being selected for committees, having their proposed litigation tossed out before anyone sees it, etc. So these ‘neophytes’ are challenged with the moral dilemma of ‘to do or not to do.’ If they step outside the lines so to say they are going to have a short career, if they go with the flow life will be a lot less stressful for them. So until we can get rid of the Rhinos that like to spend & cohort with the liberals we are going to see this patter continue. Now I say this out of complete speculation, but I would be willing to bet money on it & I am not a gambling man.
        Vote, Mail (paper & email) your rep’s (and others that will listen to you if you live in a commy state like CA), call & make your voice heard. That is the only peaceful way to push back the Democratic machine. Stay up to date on your Washington DC new via web, AM radio, smart phone apps (my favorite is KSFO-AM which streams live morning show 5-9PST), newspapers, etc.

  • Joe February 14, 2015, 7:54 pm

    How is it that it is not considered armor piercing buy military standards but can be by civilian?

  • casey February 14, 2015, 1:13 pm

    This is total bs. Enough is enough. Cant get the gun so go after the bullets. This will seperate the politicians, as if there really is a difference.

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