Focusing on M855 Is Missing the ATF’s Ultimate Intent


Reader SAS 2008 writes:

While I agree that M855 should not be classified as armor piercing because its core is not “entirely” composed of the restricted materials, I am concerned that everyone is focusing on M855 and missing the point of the ATF proposal. The title of the document is: ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE “PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES” WITHIN THE MEANING OF 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C), So while it may be useful to comment on M855 and U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B)(i) we had better also comment on the problems with the proposal’s definition of what is primarily intended for sporting purposes . . .

On page 10 of the proposal they make the statement:

 …the Court explained that an objective analysis of whether an item is “primarily intended” for a specified use must focus on the “likely use” of that item in the general community, not the subjective intent of any user or discrete group.

Immediately following on the next page they say:

Determining the “likely use” in the general community of any type of ammunition necessarily involves examination of the cartridges in which the armor piercing projectiles can be loaded, and the handguns that are readily available to accept those cartridges. 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.

They are making a major logic error here and it will come back to bite us. The problem is that they are focusing on the likely use of the ammo only in handguns even through U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C) does not mention the use of the ammo in handguns only. If you include the likely use of the ammo in both rifles and pistols, the likely use may be entirely different.

If you consider the use of M855 in all AR pistols and rifles then I would contend that the most likely use of that ammo is for target shooting because that is what most people in the “general community” do with their AR rifles which vastly outnumber AR pistols. By focusing only on the handgun use, are they drastically increasing the likelihood that they would be able to ban a particular type of ammo? Perhaps that this their intent.

If they are successful in defining the likely use of ammo this way then they could say that it doesn’t matter if a cartridge was originally designed for a rifle and it doesn’t matter that it is mostly used in rifles. Once there is a pistol made to shoot that cartridge they can say that its most likely use is not sporting because pistols are mostly used for self defense. This is a terrible precedent to set.


  1. avatar MIKE CROGNALE says:

    Glad you caught that. I agree.

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    The idea that people here seem to think the ATF cares even the slightest bit what we think is… well its naive at best.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      I would think this classifies as keeping a vigilant watch on a corrupt and lawless organization rather then thinking that the ATF actually care what we think.

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        But what good does it do? What does watching them cart our rights away piece by piece accomplish?

        1. avatar Bill in Texas says:

          Do you remember proposal 41p. There was such a crap storm kicked up over it, they have moved the decision date three times. Im not saying that they might not just drop it in us at anytime, but I do think that when the people stand up to them they back down (much like the bullies they are). So we need to keep standing up to them, let’s be that kid on the playground that got tired of taking crap and stood up for themselves, not the kid that kept getting wedgies and their lunch money stolen because “what good does it do”. With that attitude please leave my country and go someplace where they don’t care what happens to them. I am a CITIZEN and refuse to be made a Subject!

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @Bill in Texas: The context was about what good does watching alone do. If I understood Vhyrus, he was stating that watching without action accomplishes little to nothing.

        3. avatar Anonymous says:

          So new plan? Civil disobedience.

          It gets banned. We all pack our stuff and stand together at a factory continuing to produce and distribute it. Place that location in say … Texas, where it has plenty of supporters. We get a group of several thousand people there and Molon Labe it.

        4. avatar John in Ohio says:

          There are lots of things to do, Anonymous. Occupy the non-restricted places at BATFE offices comes to the top of my mind.

    2. avatar Accur81 says:


      I’ll tell you what good it does. When you stand up and oppose the ATF by your vote, your phone calls, your emails, your support to the NRA/Calguns/FPC/SAF, etc., you are setting a precedent. You are doing your due diligence in making every reasonable attempt to roll back this expansive and oppressive government peacefully. I pray that we do not as patriots ever need to forcibly advocate for our rights, but that time may indeed come. I simply cannot respect a government that cannot respect my rights.

      Our Founding Fathers did things along a similar vein – beseeching the government at the time for legitimate treatment. History is quite clear that those demands were consistently denied. Hence the legitimacy of the American Revolution.

      So there, I said it. My name is probably now even higher than it was on some list. At any rate, the NSA already knows how I feel about snooping on my emails and such.

      1. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

        Most excellent. I can’t agree more.

      2. avatar Forrestt C. says:

        As I read this, I felt the distinct need to stand and applaud. You highlight the struggle we as American gun owners face on a daily basis and what we can, as citizens, do about it. Thank you for the clarity of thought, and reminding me why a frequent this site. Kudos to you sir!

    3. avatar Sian says:

      The ATF does what its handlers tell it to do, with little care or understanding.

      This issue comes from above.

  3. avatar Omer Baker says:

    “Once there is a pistol made to shoot that cartridge they can say that its most likely use is not sporting because pistols are mostly used for self defense.”

    I would disagree with your logic here. Pistols AND rifle can both be used for self defense, yes, but I would say that they are both used in sporting more than self defense. How many rounds are shot in self defense compared to the number of rounds shot in hunting and practice. I do not know the numbers but I would be quite surprised if the defense shooting comes ANYWHERE NEAR the the number of rounds shot in sporting activities, and I would include range time as a sporting activity.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “… and I would include range time as a sporting activity.”

      This is the key question — what does “sporting activity” really mean?. If target practice is a “sporting activity”, then the overwhelming use of M855 ammunition is for “sporting purposes” because no one uses it for hunting and almost never uses it for self-defense.

      1. avatar Gary McClenny says:

        Can someone please show me in the constitution the words, “sporting purpose” shall not be infringed?

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I disagree with the whole premise. I originally took up pistols because it was too darn easy to hit what I was aiming at with a rifle, I sought the challenge of target shooting with a pistol. I eventually took up the concept of self-defense because I already had several handguns and could shoot them well.

  4. avatar Neminem says:

    Since the “core right of self defense” underlies the Second Amendment, the “sporting purposes” test of 921(a)(17)(C)( and the related import ban authority) is a direct infringement of the right. Banning sale of ammunition useful for self defense for firearms in common use cannot possibly pass the test of Heller.

    1. avatar Paul G says:

      Exactly. The 2A has nothing to do with sporting purposes, so banning ammo conducive to 2A purposes would seem unconstitutional.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          So we all agree. When does someone else, like NRA, CCA, SAF, or whatever start doing something about it?

  5. avatar Eric says:

    Why is the AR being so excoriated in this? The T/C Encore and Contender have been around for a lot longer than AR pistols. Those can shoot all sorts of “rifle” rounds in their handgun platform. Nobody has ever brought this up as a disaster waiting to happen before. Why now?

    1. avatar chotto says:

      I believe this was the reason that those aforementioned rounds were excluded. Just like the “Pocket AR” mentioned above is not a repeating pistol. It’s a deringer. The contenders were the deringers big brother and shot a big round. But it was just one round. Regardless, it’s finally starting to get some attention on the hill so here’s to hoping that some of the peple that were elected to lead can stop this and all the comments that are still flooding in might actually reverse the ATFs decision.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        “…people that were elected to lead…”

        A small, but important correction: in a republican government, we do not elect representatives to lead us, but to follow our wishes. We would do well to remember that, and remind our politicians of it at every opportunity.

        1. avatar Paul G says:

          Amen to that.

      2. avatar DJ9 says:

        I’m just amazed that there aren’t more rifle hunters up in arms over this, and this is why:

        There has always been an exemption for single-shot pistols, so break-open and most bolt-action hunting pistols couldn’t be used as a basis to ban rifle-caliber ammunition. However, BATFE’s new “sporting purposes ammo test” (SPAT) clearly states exemptions will only be applied for rifle calibers for which there exists only single-shot handguns. If a repeating handgun for any rifle-caliber ammunition is available through normal commercial channels, then any/all ammo in that caliber will be run through the new SPAT test. Many, if not most shooters are assuming there aren’t that many calibers of magazine-fed rifle-caliber repeating handguns. They are wrong.

        A quick browse through a handful of my Guns Illustrated and Gun Digest catalog sections for the last 30 years or so (since handgun silhouette and handgun hunting became increasingly popular) shows magazine-fed/repeating handguns in the following calibers:

        .22 Hornet
        .250 Savage
        .260 Rem
        6mm BR
        7mm BR
        .30 Carbine (Ruger Blackhawk)
        .350 Rem
        .350 Rem Mag
        .375 Win
        .444 Marlin

        And a notation by some manufacturers that they offer or can build bolt-action repeating pistols in “any standard caliber” and “most silhouette calibers and others on request.”

        California hunters will be hit first with this problem. With the new CA lead-based ammo ban for hunting in certain areas, many manufacturers have begun making certified “lead free” rifle ammo, usually using a solid metal bullet (often some copper alloy), which will almost certainly run afoul of the new definition of Armor Piercing handgun bullets/ammo.

        Spread the word, folks. We’re at the top of a steep, slippery slope, and the BATFE is busy applying lubricant…

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          “… and the BATFE is busy applying lubricant…”

          You do realize that this has an additional — and equally important — quality to it, right?

    2. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      the media has been demonizing the AR for a while, might as well take a swing at it while the iron is hot.

    3. avatar TTACer says:

      D in the White House. While I think both parties can go hang, on this issue the Rs are generally a little better.

      1. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

        Its one of the reasons I still vote Republican. No Republican has ever told me that I can’t own firearms, how much meat I can eat, or that I need to stop driving my car, for instance. Yeah, the Rs have problems, but they don’t intrude in my personal life the way the Ds love to do.

    4. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

      SHHHHHut up!
      [casts nervous eyes around the room]

    5. avatar Sian says:

      They never cared about single-shot platforms or bolt action repeating ‘pistols’.

    6. avatar Dan C says:

      Maybe the ATF is PO’d because of the short barrel AR platform that skirts the $300 license tag required for short barrel rifles. By calling that AR platform a “pistol” no license fee is required.

  6. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Do they understand millions of people have died from ball ammo? Duh…

    1. avatar Omer Baker says:

      I have no idea of the number who have died from ball ammo, but I know tens of millions have died from totalitarian socialist governments.

  7. avatar DaveL says:

    The problem is the statute giving bureaucrats the authority to decide what’s lawful or not based on their arbitrary opinion of whether something is sufficiently “sporty.”

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Under the wording of the NFA, the only thing that currently distinguishes a 12-gauge shotgun from an artillery piece is the Attorney General’s opinion.

  8. avatar Chris_From_NY says:

    5.56 AR pistols exist either for target shooters that want the same mags and ammo for rifle and (heavy) pistol, or for people that add a Flaming Pig flash-enhancing anti-silencer and use the phrase “Hold my beer and watch this!”

    I’ll admit, it’d be cool to do, just once.

    1. avatar DownrangeFuture says:

      5.56 AR pistols exist to sidestep stupid SBR laws that somehow claim a rifle with a 15.5in barrel is somehow more dangerous than a 16in barrel, and so you must register them.

      And people put “loudeners” on their guns for the same reason people cut their mufflers off their cars/motorcycles. They think it “sounds cool”. I think it sounds like noise, but to each his own.

  9. avatar John says:

    Is there any secret reasoning that I missed to why the ATF is trying ban this particular bullet.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Yes, because guns.

    2. avatar philthegardner says:

      If the atf succeeds in banning a very popular rifle round because it can be used in a pistol, it will be a short step from banning more and more rifle ammo that can be used in pistols. As previously mentioned above, a quick glance at pistol makers shows many different calibers from .22 hornet to 47-50 being offered in pistols. If you ban the ammo, you effectively have de-facto gun bans.

  10. avatar Gs650g says:

    This is similar to the law NJ passed about art guns. All that would be needed is to produce something that used a certain bullet and that takes them off our hands. Confiscation of ammo in civilian hands may be next.

  11. avatar Bob108 says:

    I just left Cabela’s. The buying frenzy seams to be on again. This is getting so old.

  12. avatar Lance says:

    I agree. I never a fan of AR pistols anyway. Seems the arms brace issue may have given Obama the chance he wants to try to enact a ban. Please call or email your Senators and congressmen. Wee need Capital hill to stop this ban. If the GOP has to stand up and fight the Obama dictatorship this is the issue to do this.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      “My” senators are Boxer and Feinstein, who are happier than hogs in a mud hole that this is happening. Fortunately, my representative is a solid when it comes to gun rights.

  13. avatar Buffalo Bob says:

    In regards to this, I have not seen or heard any mention of the fact that 556/223 is capable regardless of the steel core or not, of penetrating a police officers body armor due to its velocity. Im sure if they bring this to the ‘Ass to Face agents attention they will then attempt to ban anything that is not sub sonic. I propose that instead of banning law abiding citizens from ammo that criminals will still obtain/smuggle/manufacture/ect, that cops/agents should wear the Armys IOTV with sapi plates, shoulder DAPS, neck guard, and dickflap.. this way they can look the part, and be all they can be when they are playing “shpecial forshes” and while they taze an old man, beat a minority, or raid your home with no warrant or real probable cause, due to a random phone call they failed to investigate further before firing up the MRAP, drones, and hand held radar device that watchs you poop, shoot your dog, scare your kids, assault your wife, ect. And when they realize there is no real threat they take it upon them selves to go ahead and confiscate your firearms just because they dont like the answers to the questions about your ammo stockpile, and veteran status.. all in a days work!

    1. avatar Jon says:

      Your an Idiot!!!!

      1. avatar Buffalo Bob says:

        OH GAWWWD my feelings are hurt!!!

        Suck it Jonathan!

      2. avatar BlueBronco says:

        They have actually pulled this on people in NY under auspices of the NY unSafe Act.

    2. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

      Look, there are some jerk cops out there, no doubt. And some even bigger jerk police chiefs, most of whom are political appointees. But this BS is coming from the BATFE, not from some Joe Patrolman. And the BATFE are notorious for raiding the wrong house, etc. I’ll be honest, I fear the BATFE for the same reason I fear gang members…but I have zero respect for them. Some regular cops are actually trying to catch real bad guys.

      1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

        Hell, I fear the ATF MORE than I fear a group of gang bangers. Gang members can be legally punished for breaking the law. The ATF? Not so much….

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        I guess you missed the part about the BATF doing this to *protect* the police. From us.

        1. avatar Butch says:

          The police didn’t ask for this.

  14. avatar John says:

    Could they next ban FMJ rounds like they did with 5.7 guns?

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Absolutely. The goal is to ban everything. Any action undertaken in furtherance of that goal is deemed noble.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Absolutely 2. The fact of the matter is that ANY .223 or 5.56 round will penetrate a soft ballistic vest that is designed only to stop low velocity pistol rounds. Thus, in terms of terminal effects, there is no way to distinguish one round from another, since and=y and all can be fired from an AR “pistol,” including 55 gr. FMJ and 69 gr. BTHPs (whether for target competition or for hunting). In short, they could ban an entire class of ammunition under the same (il)logic being employed here, and the same argument goes to any AR style pistol in other calibers like 300 blk and .308.

  15. avatar John says:

    So the reasoning to ban this bullet comes from the White House?

  16. avatar Ozzallos says:

    “M855 Is Missing the ATF’s Ultimate Intent…”

    Honestly, i don’t think anybody with a shread of common sense is missing the true intent here. Frankly, it’s pretty obvious that the ATF wants to fortify the slippery slope they been working on for years in terms of broadening their powers within the prose they define.

    If M855 is considered armor piercing, damn near any rifle cartrige can be considered armor piercing. Your ability to use .308 exists upon the good graces of the ATF alone since they get to change definitions and issue exemptions at will. You don’t even need to go down this ‘likely use’ rathole to realize that and logic- let alone likely use -doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to the ATF that no officer died in 2013 to a 5.56 round according to the FBI. If we want to play likely use causation game, i can safely argue that 5.56 has not demonstrated itself to be a credible enough threat to ban.

    Stop focusing on word games. The ATF needs its teeth pulled in the matter of being able to dictate ‘sporting use’ exmptions period.

  17. avatar DoomGuy says:

    Welcome the ATF as the new department of precrime. Thank you america for destroying your own country.

  18. avatar John says:

    So is the ATF acting on behalf of the Obama administration?

    1. avatar DoomGuy says:

      Yes, a previous article said they’re merely a tool. They only act when an anti gun president orders them to.

  19. avatar mirgc says:

    Start printing on the side of all rifle ammo boxes, except 100% lead bullets; “not intended for handgun use”

    1. avatar David says:

      THIS GUY

      just put stupid disclaimers on ammo.
      I can’t believe those words came out of me. but, yes, to satisfy the ATF we need to have printed words on packaging that says FOR SPORTING USE ONLY

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Excellent! Stamp *For Sporting Purposes Only” on M855. Maybe re-name it FSPOM855 or #FUATFM855.

      2. avatar Aaron says:

        and maybe add “NOT INTENDED FOR CRIMINAL ACTS” on it, too

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      It won’t work, and I’ll tell you why. In true 1984 fashion, the intent of the designer and manufacturer NO LONGER MATTERS. Just as they did with their recent opinion on arm braces, “intended design” is determined by the intent of the end user. Therefore it is perfectly legal for Sig to manufacture and sell arm braces, and it is perfectly legal for end users to use them as arm braces. but the moment that end user puts the brace to his shoulder, it is no longer a brace but a stock and the weapon an illegal SBR–the “design” is “changed” by the use to which the product is out. The exact same logic is being applied here. M855 loses its “sporting purpose” exemption when someone introduced a pistol that could fire the ammunition. Obvioulsy the intent of the designer and the manufacturer hasn’t changed–they designed and produced rifle ammunition. But the moment there are pistols, it is now “designed for” use in a pistol and it as AP round. Faulty faulty logic.

  20. avatar Paelorian says:

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard anyone mention that out of a handgun-length barrel 5.56x45mm is no more powerful than an actual pistol cartridge. There’s just a lot more blast.

    1. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      That is not the point. ALL handgun ammo made to pierce body armor is on the list, not just 5.56. Years ago, we caved and let them ban the “cop killer bullet” made by KTR for the police and military only just in case some of it slipped into our hands. We stood by and did nothing! Now, years later, we are waking up.

      1. avatar BlueBronco says:

        We shouldn’t be allowing them to call M855 armor piercing since it does not fit the definition due to its content and small amount of soft steel. It would have to have more steel and the steel be hardened for it to be armor piercing.

  21. avatar John says:

    Its things like this that gives me no faith in our Government.

  22. avatar Greg says:

    This is also opening the door for them to ban any pistols that fire rifle cartridges, then they will throw out some obscure definition for what qualifies as a rifle cartridge.

  23. avatar Mike says:

    The Ammo doesn’t meet any of the criteria to be considered armor piercing, so why exactly does it even matter what the “intent” is? On top of that it’s a huge stretch to think AR pistols are primarily used for self defense either, I would think this easily proven in court.

    1. avatar Gary McClenny says:

      M885 DOES meet all of the criteria—it was developed as a NATO round capable of piercing a Kevlar helmet at 1200 meters. That, by definition, makes it armor piercing.

      1. avatar John says:

        No its capable of going through a Kevlar helmet at 500m. Also, no it doesn’t make it by definition armor-piercing.

      2. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

        The venerable .30-06 Springfield can penetrate far better than ANY .223/5.56mm round, period. And as you probably know, its not even near the top of the list for rifle rounds, more like in the middle. The BATFE are playing a game here, a very nasty game, and its likely because they want to get back at AR pistol owners over the whole SigBrace thing. Any other trouble they are able to cause firearms owners is a bonus to them. And yes, I believe they are that petty.

      3. avatar bolero says:

        Re: Gary McClenny

        Sheer idiocy. Please go back to sucking your thumb.

      4. avatar Mike says:

        Gary, please read the law. Must be larger than .22 cal- nope. Projectile or core made entirely of restricted material- nope. Designed or intended to be fired from a pistol- not really. It must meet ALL of this, not some, it DOES NOT qualify under the law, period. It would not hold up in court, you can bet there will be a lawsuit if banned.

      5. avatar Sian says:

        Actually it was designed to punch through Russian M-60 steel helmets. I don’t think it was even designed with the titanium ‘Sphere’ helmet in mind, and that was 2 generations go.

  24. avatar Brad says:

    I think we’re approaching this from the wrong angle altogether. Rather than getting hung up on the so called “intended use” why aren’t we pointing out that we have decades of actual use we can base decisions on? M855 has been around long enough that we should be able to safely say that 99.99999999999% of M855 HAS BEEN used for everything EXCEPT piercing armor. An internal combustion engine MIGHT be used for street racing but the vast majority of the time its just used to move someone from point A to point B…..

    Just my 2 cents….

    1. avatar philthegardner says:

      Who “needs” armor piercing ammo is in the same level as who “needs” more than 5 rounds in a hunting rifle. The whole point of this article is that the atf wants to ban something because it has no “sporting” value. And as someone has already pointed out, the 2A does not say “…the right to keep and bear sporting arms shall NOT BE….”

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Indeed, the Second Amendment is all about non-sporting uses of arms. Placing a “sporting use” requirement on the right to keep and bear arms flies in the face of Second Amendment protection. It is denying the very reasons for the amendment in the first place.

  25. avatar BlueBronco says:

    I agree with what you are saying about “sporting purposes.” However, they go and slide in the “armor piercing” regarding this ammo when it has never been classified as such. B. Todd Jones just suddenly pulled that out of his sphincter. There needs to be calls for his resignation.

  26. avatar John says:

    I’m going to ask again; if the government can ban M855 ammo could they ban M193 FMJ rounds even though its got an all lead core.

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:

      Sure. They could claim they are banning “military” grade ammunition for LEO safety measures as well as public safety. Remember, the ATF is a rouge agency operating under administrative law/regulations.

    2. avatar Ozzallos says:

      Sure they could. It’s “armor piercing”. Just like evry other rifle round. Your usage of it exists purely by the good grace of your friendly gubbermint and the ATF under the header of “sporting use”.

  27. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    So, by ATF’s “logic” and its sporting purpose test, we should then expect to see a ban on M193 in the near future. After all, the material constituents of a particular bullet design hardly matter (though the law as written covers prohibited materials) if the intended purpose is to prohibit ammunition that can be fired from a repeating pistol that will defeat the protections afforded by NIJ level IIIa soft body armor. M193 will punch a hole through a IIIa just as easily as M855 will, and so will any other .223/5.56 round that’s loaded to normal velocities. Expect to see more of this shenanigans down the road. That and expect to see a harder drive to remove lead from ammunition because ENVIRONMENT! There’s really no end to it. They are relentless.

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:

      The M856 63.7 grain tracer would be on the hit list as well. It is already next to impossible to get true AP rounds, the M955 in the first place. The way B. Todd Jones and his punks are going full retard, it sounds like they are confused with the differences of M955 and the common M855.

      1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

        Full retard-yes

        confused?-not by a long shot

        this is BHO’s “common sense” on steroids………..

      2. avatar Julian says:

        Has anybody actually tested M193 and/or M855 to see if it will penetrate a IIIa vest when fired out of a 10″ or less barrel? 5.56 will lose a lot of power out of a short barrel.

        1. avatar philthegardner says:

          Even if it DOES penetrate it, so will a .308 out of a pistol. So will a .45-70 out of a pistol. What is the point of banning certain ammo? Because it can be lethal to our policemen? THAT is the mindset that the atf and white house wants you to think. If a bullet can harm our brave public defenders, it makes sense to ban it. They have already seen that trying to ban guns is political poison so they use subtrefuge and try to ban ammo, one at a time.

    2. avatar Sian says:

      Allowing this definition to stand will open the door to the prohibition of any centerfire rifle ammo not composed entirely of lead under the same grounds.

      Then the EPA will ban all lead ammo.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Under current law (not regulations, but statute), the EPA has no authority to regulate ammunition, as confirmed by a recent federal court decision in an action brought by tree huggers against the EPA to force it to ban lead ammo entirely.

  28. avatar bolero says:

    Under the radar, as it were.

  29. avatar John says:

    I guess the ATF and the Obama administration figure that the police are no good when it comes to keeping themselves safe. And they need help though regulation.

  30. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I think the Nazis came up wit the sporting purpose concept. JFPoF I think has a history article on this subject.
    . The Nazi Weapons Law (18 March 1938) forbade importation of weapons under substantially the same test. Section 25(1) of that Law proclaimed: “It is forbidden to manufacture … and to import: Firearms which fold-down, break-down, are collapsible, or are speedily dismantled — beyond the common limits of hunting and sporting activities — …” Section 21 of the Nazi Law (and its enforcing regulations) employed the “sporting use” exception also where they permitted licensed persons to carry “firearms, designed for — and usually used for — the hunting of fair game.”
    The 1968 Gun Control Act added a “sporting purpose” test which barred imports of military surplus rifles (a goal of many domestic gun makers)

  31. avatar William B. says:

    I’ve said all along that all those arguing, “But ALL rifle rounds will pierce a policeman’s body armor!” just need to think for a second before trying to play lawyer here, because the obvious liberal answer to that is, “You’re right, so we need to ban all of the ones which can be fired from a “pistol,” i.e., all AR and all AK centerfire ammo.” Howya like them apples?

    And to say that is what ATF is up to is also abject silliness. The only thing the ATF is up to under ANY administration, left or right, is what THAT administration tells it to be up to. You are a part of the executive branch, and as such, you do what the Chief Executive or his Atty General tell you to, or you lose your jobs. It’s that simple. You follow the orders of Obama and Holder. Your “opinions” aren’t your opinions, they’re the opinions Obama and Holder ordered you to announce and then defend however you wish.

    ALL agencies controlled by the executive branch are to a huge extent puppet agencies of whatever particular administration happens to be in charge. The good news is a conservative in the White House can just as easily order BATFE to, ahem, “change their minds,” thus forcing Moms Demand Action and other loon-aggregations to post arguments and objections to the proposed “we changed our mind” declaration re-approving any outlawed rounds, which will likewise be ignored.

    We don’t like it? The answer to this ankle-biting harassment is unlikely to be stopped any other way than when we elect our next chief executive in 2016. The GOP still doesn’t have enough votes in Congress to override a Presidential veto of a law overriding the executive actions. And why are we acting all shocked? He and Holder are only doing what they swore they would do.

    1. avatar John says:

      So why ban only M855 bullets and not M193 bullets as well? Is this the next step to ban FMJ bullets?

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      I read an article the other day on a FOX affiliate about the one week DHS funding bill. In that article, it was stated that there is the greatest majority Republican power in the house in seventy years and a Republican majority in the Senate but they still can’t get things rolled back. When will there be enough Republicans in power to get the proper things done? (Assuming R=conservative.)

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        There are plenty of Republicans to get things done, except, as with the HS funding bill, they thought they could attach whatever they wanted to a “must pass” bill–and it backfired. On to p of that, beware supermajorities. We ahd one here in California for a bit–Democrats–and it cost us dearly.

  32. avatar Chris says:

    I’ve written all my reps and asked them to abolish the BATF. Please take the time to do the same. Sadly, that’s the only recourse we have in this matter. It’s the only way to fight back.

    1. avatar John says:

      There never just going to ban the ATF.

    2. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      Good Luck with That………

    3. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Sadly, that’s the only recourse we have in this matter. It’s the only way to fight back.

      It’s just one way to fight back. There are other, non-violent means available as well as violent means. I’m not advocating violence. I think some civil disobedience and loud protests might be in order though.

  33. avatar Sian says:

    Easy fix, get rid of the NFA rules that force the law to call something a pistol that nobody who looks at it would identify as a pistol.

  34. avatar John Dalton says:

    I would suggest that logic is not what is driving the banning of M855 ammunition.

    It would seem that the AR15…..and all of it’s variants are the absolute despised of the present administration.

    Now, whimsical as it might be……let’s look at a possible alternate hypothesis. Let’s say that we bent the rules and destroy the logic to ban the M855. What is next? Well, let’s recognize that M193 in a handgun will also defeat a ballistics vest. If the objective of the regulation was the protection of law enforcement officers (as was the intention in the wording deal struck with Chuck Shumer when it was written), then have we not begun a good fight by banning M855.

    Should not the definition be modified to ensure that any round which can be used in Sig’s “handgun” (if you call that cannon a handgun) to defeat a law enforcement officer’s ballistics vest also be banned? Is the logic dictated by the “safety” of our Peace Officers…… this not the foundation of banning M193……and all other 5.56 ammo?

    Far fetched? Perhaps.

    But, in truth, is it any further from reality than destroying logic and ignoring the rule itself to ban a benign cartridge?

    What do you think?

  35. avatar DMB says:

    What makes this whole issue seriously stupid is that its doubtful that an M855 would go through a Level II vest when fired from a pistol. Even the much vaulted 5.7 when loaded with steel cored bullets won’t go through a Level II vest when shot from a pistol.

  36. avatar CMM says:

    Focus on the real intent? I think even the article missed that one. The real intent is civilian disarmament as suggested by the UN. It is Europe governance crossing the Atlantic. The keyword in the title of the ATF document is ‘framework’. All of the conversation around it is awesome – for us anyway – but it is truly smoke, mirrors, and part of desensitization.

  37. avatar Jason Birdsong says:

    More people die per year from drinking and driving or alcohol related incidents than firearms related incidents. Why don’t we worry more about banning alcohol or cigarettes than bullets. This country has its priorities screwed up. We ban Marijuana but legalize morphine and codine. We make suppressors impossible to buy because they look dangerous when there have been a handful of crimes ever committed with a legal suppressor. And now they want to micro stamp bullets with serial numbers so it makes it harder for manufacturers to build guns. We need to revolt. It’s time for a revolution. We need change and not the Obama kind.

    1. avatar DMB says:

      You forgot to point out that neither smoking, drinking or driving is Constitutionally protected.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Arguably, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments disagree. And, AFAIK, the Supreme Court has held that nothing in the preamble to the Constitution can be construed to enumerate or confer new powers for government.

        1. avatar DMB says:

          You are confusing a stated right with an inferred right. You can infer you have the right to do anything no matter how self destructive or dangerous to others.

        2. avatar Paul G says:

          How do you reason that they disagree? One is about people’s rights, the other about government powers. I would argue they compliment each other. People’s rights can be inferred as inherent, government power most certainly not.

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Sorry, Paul G. My way of structuring that sentence was poor. I wasn’t suggesting that those two amendments disagree. What I was getting to was that other rights, like the right to travel might still be reserved and protected even though not explicitly spelled out. (I had seconds to add the Tenth during an edit as it was an afterthought.)

          DMB, once someone’s exercise of a right becomes truly hazardous to another, then that would be interfering with the rights of that other. In cases such as self defense, I think that the defender’s right to defend trumps the aggressor’s right to live when the circumstance is dire enough.

        4. avatar DMB says:

          Self defense is a God given right. The 6th Commandment says Thou shalt not murder. Self defense is not a sin.

        5. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @DMB: I’m genuinely confused at your last comment. I re-read my comment before and don’t see where I gave an indication that I thought self defense was a “sin” or anything less than a right. To be clear, I support self defense as the right of any individual.

  38. avatar Commander Shephard says:

    Or we could focus on how “sporting purpose” is completely ridiculous, and nothing more than an additional way to impose onerous regulations on us.

    I don’t buy many guns for “sporting purposes”, especially the AR15; I buy them to kill HUMANS who attempt to do harm to me or mine. I would estimate that many of you have purchased your firearms for the exact same reason, whether you cite it as your primary reason or not.

    Enough of the PC bullshit. Guns are, in their purest sense, weapons that are designed to efficiently kill living creatures. The founders knew this, which is why they wrote the Second Amendment. It is not there to protect “sporting”; it is there to protect our right to own weapons that will effectively kill a human being. Period.

  39. avatar BDub says:

    The solution is the dissolution of the ATF – the bigger and more audacious their grab is, the sooner and more likely that will come to pass. So have at it ATF… DO IT! Pull the pin on this sucker and let see who’s left afterwards.

  40. The fight isn’t over… If you want to stop the AR-15 ammo ban the deadline to submit opposing comments is March 16th!
    You can sign the letter, spread the word, and join the fight at:

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