The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is announcing that they will be working with Congress to craft legislation to block the ATF’s attempt to unilaterally and unlawfully ban a very common cartridge fired by the best-selling rifle in the United States.

AR-15-style rifles, also known as modern sporting rifles, are the best-selling rifles in the United States, with well over five million in circulation. One of the most common cartridges used by AR-15 shooters is the M855, a 5.56 NATO caliber 62-grain lead-core bullet with a mild steel insert. This ball ammunition is being phased out of military service due to its poor stopping power, but is very popular as an inexpensive and accurate surplus round for citizens primarily interested in marksmanship training, shooting at paper or reactive targets.

Here is the text of the NRA-ILA’s release, in full.

As NRA has been reporting since the night the news broke, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is moving to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners with a drastic reinterpretation of a nearly 30-year-old law regulating so-called “armor piercing” ammunition. So draconian is BATFE’s new “Framework” that it would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, and sale of M855 ball ammunition, one of the most popular cartridges for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. Not coincidentally, the AR-15 is among the firearms the Obama Administration has unsuccessfully sought to outlaw. If they can’t ban the pie, so the thinking apparently goes, they might at least get the apples.

In an effort to thwart BATFE’s attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers’ opposition to the proposed Framework. To read a copy of the letter, please click this link.

According to the letter, “The idea that Congress intended [the ‘armor piercing’ ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.” It goes on to state that the law “should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.” This includes due consideration of “the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.“ The letter concludes with several pointed questions for the B. Todd Jones, BATFE’s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.

NRA will also be submitting its own detailed comments to BATFE in opposition to the ban and is continuing to work with Members of Congress on legislation that will put a stop to this abuse.

In the meantime, gun owners and other affected members of the public must act now to help ensure BATFE does not get away with this attempt to deprive Americans of ammunition for their favorite rifle and to squeeze ammunition markets between converging bans on both lead and non-lead ammunition. BATFE is accepting comments on their proposed ban and will consider all comments received on or before March 16, 2015.

Please be sure to submit your respectful comments in opposition to the ban. For more detailed information on the proposed ban and how you can submit your comments to BATFE, please click this link.

Finally, please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to sign Rep. Goodlatte’s letter and to oppose BATFE’s proposed “armor piercing” ammunition Framework.  You can contact your Representative by using the “Write Your Lawmakers” feature on our website, or by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Note in particular that,”NRA will also be submitting its own detailed comments to BATFE in opposition to the ban and is continuing to work with Members of Congress on legislation that will put a stop to this abuse.”

It will be interesting to see if the legislation crafted no only protects M855, but if it reverses prior bans on other common rifle ammunition unilaterally classified as “armor-piercing,” such as the 7N6 ammunition popular with shooters of 5.45×39 rifles.

Tags: ATFM855