From the NRA-ILA:
"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."
"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.” "
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“Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”,The M855 is the current standard, all-purpose load for the Army M4 carbines. Many cartridges have become surplus, and have a broad civilian acceptance for plinking and target shooting. Millions of the M885 round are in civilian hands. The round utilizes a 62gn bullet with a steel tip. According to independent authorities, it is not armor piercing, as it does not have a core of penetrating metal - just lead. Obama's ATF decided completely arbitrarily that just the tip makes it armor piercing. This is a blatant violation of physics, common definition, and the law.
This proposed regulation is extremely worrisome as it shows the administration's willingness to artificially restrict the definition of 'sporting purposes". We have seen the Sporting Purposes definition abused in the past by much more ethical administrations. The proposed regulation perverts the law's definition of armor piercing ammunition. The regulation bans the M855 because they determine it to be a pistol round, even though AR Pistols are a relatively rare firearm.
The BATFE is accepting comments until March 16th, 2015 -- only a month. The NRA-ILA link above contains a method for contacting the BATFE. I know what my comments will be.
As always: write your Congressional represntatives, join the NRA, donate to the NRA-ILA, support all of the other worthy gun-rights organizations, and make you voice heard!