Saturday, February 14, 2015

ATF: Doubling Down on Stupid

So today I get pinged by a few people on the BATFE taking steps to ban SS109 and M855 5.56mm ammunition because of its armor piercing properties.  I gave the official position a read and have thus determined that the ATF has hit rock bottom on the potato scale and, finding the bottom not low enough, are requesting a shovel to go deeper. Because the individual writing the ATF white paper now found on the ATF site probably got their start writing dramatic romance thrillers, the paper opens as such.
To protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers from the threat posed by
ammunition capable of penetrating a protective vest when fired from a handgun, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, prohibits the import, manufacture, and distribution of “armor piercing ammunition” as defined by the statute.
Never mind that most common ammunition available for rifles in the .223/5.56mm family will burn through IIIA body armor like Eric Holder through incriminating memos, the ATF continues;

 The GCA, however, allows for the exemption of 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.”
Now, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck (never actually been on one) so I'm pretty familiar with the text of the Second Amendment and nowhere in it does it say anything about hunting or sporting.  The "Hunting and Sporting" clause was added in the rambling text of the 1968 Gun Control Act, a law prompted by the assassination of JFK, signed in by Lyndon B. Johnson and endorsed by then NRA Executive Vice President, Franklin Orth, who was quoted as saying "the measure as a whole appears to be one that the sportsmen of America can live with."  NRA feelings aside, the hunting or sporting purpose has become a catch-all piece of the legislation that the ATF continues to use to address gun control, ammunition and the war against our rights to own so-called "Assault rifles."  Never mind that such rifles are used in as much as 2% of crimes .

Now, the GCA addresses "armor piercing" ammunition in Section 17:
 (B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
So...handguns then?  Well due to the new popularity of AR pistols, they are going after some of the most common (and sometimes most affordable) 5.56mm ammunition because, as they put it;

More specifically the characteristics of the handgun or handguns in which a specific armor piercing projectile may be used will generally determine that projectile’s “likely use” in the general community. When the only readily available handgun that can accept a cartridge containing the projectile is objectively and primarily sporting, it may reasonably be inferred that the likely use of that projectile will also be objectively and primarily sporting. Conversely, when a handgun’s objective design is not limited to primarily sporting purposes, such as handguns designed to be carried and concealed, it may be reasonably inferred that ammunition capable of use in such handguns is unlikely to be used primarily for sporting purposes. 
Meanwhile, at
As you can plainly see, the ATF is playing it loose and making clairvoyant assumptions with the "intent" of "pistols" that can chamber the SS109 or M855 round.  By defining "sport" and "hunting" they are effectively pretending that "self-defense" doesn't exist; which is strange considering the number of rounds marketed (and designed) specifically for those purposes.  Since the ATF is going the handgun route with their attempt at an ammunition ban, the irony lies in the fact that there are hundreds of handgun rounds designed to do maximum damage for the purposes of self-defense, though they aren't of rifle caliber so they will not penetrate common LE body armor.  Why there has not been more of a fight against the "hunting and sporting" nonsense is beyond me; though I would actually be fine with the guidelines if they read "hunting, sporting or self-defense purposes."  Perhaps its time to start a petition for amending the 1968 GCA and any other nonsensical federal law or regulation that contains that draconian and ignorant phrase.  I cant say for certain, but it appears the ATF has taken a very focused interest in the AR pistol market and are going after the low hanging fruit first, which is both ammo and the Sig Brace.

The NRA is speaking on this, well, they posted a short informational about the pending amendment but didn't comment on what they would be doing to help prevent it and/or fight its implementation.   If you want to get involved (and you should), you can contact the ATF and make comments.

ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):

ATF email:

1 comment:

  1. The M855 bullet does not meet the letter of this law for being an AP round due to the bullet not being made with a core "entirely" of steel, yet the ATF wants to ban sales anyway. Clearly the ATF is once again playing fast and loose with the law and their interpretations of it.