ATF proposed ban on 5.56 caliber, SS109 and M855 Ammunition
As most everyone knows now, the ATF has proposed a ban on what they consider to be armor piercing ammunition in 5.56, SS109 and M855 that were previously not considered part of the “armor piercing” ammo ban.
There is a tremendous amount of confusion, misinformation and outright lies about the proposal and I hope to clear some of that up today.
Should we be freaking out? YES! This sporting purposes clause is the root of this new attack on our rights and it is strictly an anti-gun measure. As part of the Gun Control Act of 1968 the sporting purposes clause was made into law, largely with the support of domestic firearms manufacturers to reduce cheaper overseas ammo from being imported. This in a nutshell said that only sporting guns could be imported and that “sporting” capability was determined by a points system that was completely arbitrary, at best.
We have numerous instances of case law that state emphatically that the 2nd is NOT about sporting or hunting. In fact US v Miller states very clearly that the ONLY weapons protected by the 2nd are the ones readily suitable by use for the organized and unorganized militia. But the sporting purposes clause is just one more piece of unconstitutional law passed by the Congress and signed into law by LBJ.
Now those saying we should arrest Obama for this because he did this unconstitutional act by executive order. Sigh. He has NOTHING to do with this. Thank LBJ who signed it into law. There is plenty that Obama HAS done, but this is not on him. And as for the Constitutionality of the ruling, it is in fact constitutional. Try looking here.
CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES RELATED TO THE USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTIONS
Delegation of Legislative Power
You can thank Congress for giving ALL regulatory agencies the power they have with no legislative oversight. These agencies can in fact make legal rulings that comply with the law, and the GCA 1968 is in fact law. They have used that law to restrict many things, ammo is the easiest target.
Now this came about because many in the gun community thought we were being clever. I have a friend in government that warned me over a year ago that they were going after the ammo. He is also the one that told me about the arm brace before the ATF ruled on it and it became mainstream. His words to me then were (after sitting in a conference in DC where ATF was there and they said very clearly their intent to do so through ways that were not overtly public and they would be pursuing every avenue available to them). They approved the arm brace and worded the Tech Branch letter KNOWING that the American public would see this as a way around the NFA and paying for an SBR’s tax stamp. Low and behold, they were right. So the AR pistols flooded the market making them mainstream.
Now it is important to remember a few precedents about rifle caliber pistols. Olympic Arms screwed us royally by making an AR pistol in 7.62X39 in the early 90’s. The result was the banning of steel core AK ammo that could be had for $75 per 1,000 delivered. It also left tens of millions of rounds of ammo sitting in customs warehouses that could not be sold, bankrupting some of the biggest importers. Last year the ATF ruled that the AK pistols in 5.45X39 were readily available so they banned the cheaper and more deadly 7N6 round from importation. Now, thanks to the popularity of the arm brace they have found the cause they need under the sporting purposes clause to ban the SS109 and M855. And worst of all, I am told that is EXACTLY what their intent was the whole time. And I believe it. They killed the unrestricted use of the arm brace and made pistol ARs pistols again, and had the tools they needed to move forward with the ammo ban.
What this does is ban the importation or sale of what they consider AP ammo to civilians. What you have is legal, but you can’t buy anymore. This is the most common surplus round out there for the 5.56. The goal is twofold. Raise ammo prices, and keep “dangerous” ammo out of civilian hands. For the safety of the police of course. And the children. We must do it for them and if you don’t agree you are a bad person (Insert violent barfing here, but we know that is their party line). That is another absurdity that we must not allow ourselves to be drug into a debate on since it is meant to distract us from the real issue.
We need to get this insane legislation overturned because the legislation is unconstitutional. They way they are using it unfortunately is completely legal. In order to see what defines their AP ammo, you have to look closely at the wording. Most if it has to do with the composition of the core, and the weight of the jacket vs the total weight of the round. That alone is a determining factor of the danger of the ammo, not actual real world ballistics. In the 70’s many companies had to import their snub nosed revolvers and put the 4” barrel on them so they could leave the customs warehouse, only to take them off and put short ones back on because it did not pass the sporting purposes test. Here is a letter from renowned NFA attorney Mark Barnes.
The sporting purposes test is law, and a very bad one at that. While it is in direct opposition to the intent of the Constitution, it is the law of the land that we need to attack. We need the entire GCA 68 and FOPA of 86 repealed. We need legislative oversight on all regulatory agencies. Until we get those things, the ATF and other agencies have a million and one ways to screw over the people under badly written laws. We can blame a lot of people for these laws, but the fact is they need to be changed. That should be the biggest focus of any citizen. So write the letters to the ATF and Congress. Be polite, concise, and factual. It does make a small difference; we kept Saiga 12ga shotguns from being made into DDs by doing this.
The ATF has said that they “will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015” at this email address:
Consider using the following template:
Subject line: Proposed Ammo Ban
To Whom It May Concern;
I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed administrative ban of lawful ammunition, namely M855 or SS109 commonly known as “green tip.” This ammunition uses a 62 grain projectile that has a steel core component. This ammunition was designed in the cold war era to penetrate eastern bloc helmets and body armor. It is ineffective against the modern body armor available to, and commonly used by law enforcement and the military. It has no armor piercing properties. This ammunition has become an inexpensive sporting round used by many in AR15 and other modern sporting rifles.
This administrative ban by BATFE regulation is another affront to the liberty and rights of the citizens of the United States. We have suffered continuous bureaucratic regulation and arbitrary rule changes that impose an undue burden upon the law abiding citizen. Such regulation is put in place without legislative endorsement or judicial oversight. This proposed regulation will not serve to enhance public safety or deter criminals. It will simply create yet another hardship on citizens using it for lawful purposes, and ammunition manufacturers.
Your Name here
We CAN beat this and then we need to go after our elected representatives and get the sporting purposes clause gone from our law books. It is our biggest enemy, and can be interpreted as they see fit since they can change the rules as they go along.
About the Author:
James is a former armorer for the US Army Special Forces and has been an SOT holder (NFA Manufacturer) for nearly twenty years. He is finishing his Bachelors Degree in Paralegal studies this quarter and will finish his Bachelors in Criminal Justice in March of 2016.
Edit: To learn about the definition and components of the ammo in question read the “Performance” section of this wikipedia link.