Obama and ATF Move to Ban .223 Rifle Ammunition

It’s been all over the news yesterday, hyped by Rush Limbaugh and is a growing story today. That’s right – why ban guns when it is so much easier to ban ammunition? It’s difficult to argue with the logic. So the President is abusing his Executive Authority by moving to ban .223 ammunition that is used in the AR-15 rifle.

Let’s get to the facts:

First, the way they are going about this is to claim the M855 ball ammunition, a .223 (or 5.56 mm) rifle bullet that has been used by American citizens for decades, is an “armor piercing” round. Armor piercing ammunition was been banned to the general public in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) Federal law was passed by Congress. Frank Miniter at Forbes.com elaborates:

“The definition for what constitutes “armor piercing” reads: “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.

Now, to be as nitpicky as the law, the M855 ball ammunition the ATF wants to ban as “armor piercing” doesn’t have a core made of the metals listed in what legally makes a bullet “armor piercing.” The M855 actually has a lead core with a steel tip. Also, the M855 is traditionally a rifle cartridge and the ban only covers handgun ammunition. The DOJ argues this doesn’t stop them because the law stipulates they can ban a bullet that “may be used in a handgun.” And, after all, any cartridge may be used in a handgun.

Still, the definition has another condition. According to law, when ammo is made for “sporting purposes” (hunting, recreation shooting and so on) it is exempt from this ban. According to the DOJ the “GCA exempts ammunition that would otherwise be considered armor piercing if the Attorney General determines that the specific ammunition at issue is ‘primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.'” So, according to the DOJ, they simply get to decide on this condition.

The “sporting purposes” caveat is an important exemption, as every bullet designed to ethically kill a deer or other big-game animal (whether from a pistol, rifle or shotgun) will also shoot through a bulletproof vest. If all bullets that could potentially shoot through a cop’s bulletproof vest were banned, then hunting—at least ethical hunting with firearms—would cease. Also, shooting competitions and more would effectively be terminated. (For a behind-the-scenes expose of where gun rights and gun design is headed see my book The Future of the Gun.)

Now, the ATF isn’t saying they want to do all that, but this regulatory move would certainly take us in that direction. Also, you can’t blame people for questioning the politics behind this move when the attorney general behind this proposed ban has said his failure to further restrict Second Amendment rights is his greatest failure.”

American hunters, sportsmen and defenders of freedom won’t stand for this. The .223 will be produced, even if banned. It will create a black market that many in law enforcement won’t bother to enforce. Obama hates the 2nd Amendment and the rights of gun owners. He hates the population being able to defend itself. If you’re a person who clings to your Bible and your guns, you’re the picture of what he thinks is wrong with this country.

Rise up and let your voice be heard. Be part of the millions who band together to defeat him. The ATF has opened a public-comment period until March 16. Email APAComments@atf.gov to give your opinion. Write your congressmen and senators. Stand up now or your freedom will be diminished by this absurd proposed rule.

Bill English

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