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Obama to Outlaw .223 Ammunition (M855) Through Executive Action

(Dave Dolbee)  It is doubtful that anyone reading this article will truly be surprised that Obama and his cronies in key government posts are trying to once again de facto suppress our Second Amendment rights. They were not able to make it happen through the legislature, but Obama has his phone and his pen. Currently, it seems the President is using both to target gun owners, specifically owners of AR-15s. If you can’t outlaw the guns, get rid of the ammunition.

The AR-15 platform, also commonly referred to as the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR), has dominated the civilian market. I am not sure of the numbers, but it certainly runs in the millions. The logic flows like this. After any major war or conflict, the service rifle of the day becomes popular among the civilian market. With well over a decade of conflict in the Middle East, it logically flows that a civilian version of the rifle service members were trained with and relied on would become popular. It happened with the M1, M14, Winchester Model 70, Remington 700, 1911 and the list goes on both in eras spanning before and after this list.

The popularity of the AR-15/MSR is the reason it is a target of the Obama administration. The latest assault on the Second Amendment came after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) unexpectedly announced on Friday the 13th that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” Instead of going through the legislative process as intended, President Obama is using his executive authority to once again impose gun control measures.

Three Major 2A Assaults in 2015 Already

Obama is a lame duck with nothing to lose. He will never run for office again and does not care about public opinion—at least not the public opinion of gun owners. We are not even two months into the year, and we have already seen three major assaults on the Second Amendment through executive action. The first came when the activities that constitute “manufacturing” firearms were changed. Next, was the flip-flopping decision of the BATFE regarding firing a shouldered pistol.

The most serious, or at least far reaching, is of course the BATFE’s “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 new proposed regulation would eliminate the M855’s exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition and make future exemptions nearly impossible.

The Backstory

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.”

We now have AR pistols, which of course are capable of shooting M855—i.e. handguns. On the face, this would seem to run afoul of the law… unless you actually dissect the bullet. The core is not made of any of the materials listed. The M855 uses a lead core with a steel tip, therefore, it is not, nor was it ever “armor piercing.” Not to be bothered by pesky facts or the letter of the law, the BATFE declared the M855 as armor piercing anyway, but granted it an exemption as a projectile “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”

How Will this Affect You?

Perhaps Obama’s phone has made the BATFE “reconsider” its position. Going forward, the BATFE will only grant the sporting exemption in two categories of projectile:

Category I: .22 Caliber Projectiles

A .22 caliber projectile that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) will be considered to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile weighs 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.

Category II: All Other Caliber Projectiles

Except as provided in Category I (.22 caliber rimfire), projectiles that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition will be presumed to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile is loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun. ATF nevertheless retains the discretion to deny any application for a “sporting purposes” exemption if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for such purposes.

In essence, you can have AP rounds for a rimfire .22 or a wildcat cartridge in which the only handgun commonly available or used is a single shot handgun—what a joke!

Two Chances to do Something About it

The NRA-ILA and others are of course on the case and looking for ways to stop this latest assault. The BATFE is accepting comments until March 16, 2015 on this absurd attempt to restrict ammunition for the most popular rifle in America in an attempt to trample our Second Amendment rights once again. Early next week, we should have a follow up article with more in depth details as well as information regarding how you can submit comments and make your voice heard. For now, share this information with your friends and let’s start marshaling our pro 2A forces.

There is a lesson to be learned and this is your wakeup call. In the mid ‘90s when the Assault Weapons Ban was enacted, the prices of ARs skyrocketed. The same was true when the Obama administration banned Russian imports last year. The prices shot through the roof overnight. Who knows whether or not the BATFE will be successful or whether we are able to muster enough public support to thwart it efforts. Until then, I think I will stock up on some M855 while supplies are plentiful and the prices are good.

Do you think the BATFE will successfully ban the sale of M855 ammunition? Share your thoughts in the comment section.