NSSF Action Alert! ‘Contact ATF: Oppose 5.56 M855 Ball Ammunition Ban ‘

Why does the ATF want to ban popular ammo?  (Photo: Guns.com)

Why does the ATF want to ban popular ammo? (Photo: Guns.com)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, like the NRA and other gun-rights organizations, is urging gun owners to contact the ATF as soon as possible to express their disdain for and opposition to a proposed ban on widely popular and commonly owned ammo: 5.56 M855 ball ammunition.

Below, in the NSSF’s Action Alert, you’ll find all the info you’ll need to contact the ATF (emphasis added):

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has announced it is seeking to ban commonplace 5.56 M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” ATF is seeking public comment on the proposal, so all industry employees, target shooters and gun owners should contact ATF to oppose this unnecessary ban, which is truly a solution in search of a problem and that raises serious questions about executive agency attitude and overreach. Stopped cold on Capitol Hill, this action appears to be the Obama administration’s attempt to pursue gun control by other means.

Commonly available steel-core, “green tip” M855 and SS109 rifle ammunition that is primarily intended and regularly used for “sporting purposes,” like target shooting, has been exempt from federal law banning armor piercing ammunition for decades. There is no question that the 5.56 ball ammo has been in wide use by law abiding American citizens for sporting purposes.

It is with the increasing prevalence of handgun versions of rifle platforms, that ATF now apparently sees an opening to now ban the widely used M855 and SS109 ammunition.

It would be legally permissible to continue to possess and use so-defined “armor piercing” ammunition currently possessed. However, rescinding the decades-old exemption will have a major impact. It will become illegal to manufacture, import, distribute or sell at retail this very popular rifle target ammunition.

ATF’s proposed “framework” for applying the “sporting purpose” exemption test rewrites the law passed by Congress to disregard the manufacturer’s intention that a projectile or cartridge is “primarily intended for a supporting purpose.” ATF inappropriately places the focus on how criminals might misuse sporting ammunition in a handgun.

Just as disturbing, language used by ATF in its long white paper refers to criminals as a “consumer group.” The implication that the industry purposely sells firearms and ammunition to criminals is misleading and echoes the shopworn charges of the gun control lobby.

Manufacturers will face serious limitations in their ability to develop and market alternative ammunition in other popular hunting rounds, such as .308 rifle hunting ammunition, if ATF’s so-called “framework” is adopted. This will have a detrimental effect on hunting nationwide, especially in California where a total ban on traditional ammunition for hunting is being phased in now.

ATF is soliciting comments on how it can best implement withdrawal of this exemption while “minimizing disruption to the ammunition and firearm industry and maximizing officer safety”. Under the proposed framework, 30-06 M2AP cartridges would continue to be exempt because there are no multi-shot handguns generally available that accept such ammunition.

The proposal is useless since standard lead-only 5.56 ammunition is “armor piercing” simply due to the round’s velocity. Rifles in this caliber, or any caliber for that matter, are rarely used in crimes.

ATF will accept comments on this proposal until March 16, 2015. Email or write ATF today and tell them you oppose this unnecessary, misguided and damaging ban on commonly used ammunition for America’s most popular sporting rifles.

Email: APAComments@atf.gov

Fax: (202) 648-9741.

Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

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

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Cantxsailor February 24, 2015, 5:12 pm

    And we, in our quest for the coolest looking (if generally useless IMHO) firearms, play right into the hands of our enemy yet again. Can you guess the next caliber they will go after now that a so called pistol has been chambered for it. You got it .308 and since they are working on it anyway we might as well get rid of 7.62×39. None of these calibers were widely used in multi shot pistols (as opposed to long guns) but are now going to be used to beat up the many for the wants of a few. As always just because something is doable doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea.
    The rule about AP ammo in pistols is a lame excuse that is now going to cost us our rights by proxy. If they can’t get the guns they’ll get the ammo. They’ve been talking about it for years yet once again we played right into their hands by wanting pistols in those calibers.
    I agree if I’m a law abiding citizen what I choose to own shouldn’t be anyone’s business but my own. Having said that, were we so blind as to not see the next move of the anti firearms crowd. Sometimes we have to self regulate. Not to appease the antis but just to occasionally beat them at their own game.
    I guess while I’m ranting I may as well thank the guys who like to wander through Walmart with their ARs strapped on for putting another big dent in the chances for constitional carry. If you continue to frighten the sheep you may get trampled in the stampede. M.

  • stevriot February 18, 2015, 9:47 pm

    I see the price gouging has started

  • Adam February 18, 2015, 11:35 am
  • listentothis February 18, 2015, 5:36 am

    DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS. 2 senators want to eliminate the BATF and with good reasons. There are enough angry progun owners to do it if we do not give up. Anything else is futile because there are no checks and balances for the batf. Calling senators should be every pro gun owners number 1 agenda. Ask congress to defund them for now as well. Start making shirts for sell at the gunshows instructing people to do this with links, etc. We have to get organized and make those thoughts spread like a virus, it is the only way.

    • Dashiell Solberg-Bell February 18, 2015, 5:30 pm

      That’s a very good idea but to attract a wider audience the shirts should be free. Or at least complementary with the purchase of an item. Nothing gets peoples attention quite like free.

  • John S. Maloney February 16, 2015, 9:38 pm

    The BATF is awakening a sleeping giant.
    Jaw-dropping STUPIDITY.

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