A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
UPDATE March 10, 2015:
BATFE withdraws propose framework & ammunition banhttp://www.atf.gov/press/releases/2015-03-021015-advisory-notice-those-commenting-armor-piercing-ammunition-exemption-framework.html
and for when BATFE takes that page down:
batfe ammo ban
I oppose reclassifying SS109 & M855 5.56x45mm or .223 caliber ammunition as armor piercing by rescinding the sporting purposes exemption previously in use. The proposed framework should be amended as below.
SS109 & M855 ammunition has previously been exempted from the so called 'armor piercing ammunition' ban under a statutory sporting purposes exemption, and BATFE is seeking to tighten restrictions upon both commercially available ammunition and the definition of ‘sporting purposes’ as it applies to handguns.
BATFE claims a statutory authority to regulate M855 ammunition based on a legal definition of what constitutes ‘armor piercing’. The United States Army disagrees with the ATF interpretation. FM 3-22, classifies M855 ammunition as: “The M855 cartridge has a 62-grain, gilded metal-jacketed, lead alloy core bullet with a steel penetrator.” Since the core is not composed completely of steel these projectiles and ammunition fall outside of ATF’s authority to further regulate.
The BATFE proposal is based on a false premise that establishes the standard of a single shot pistol as the only one suitable for 'sporting purposes', which is inconsistent with the law and previous interpretations. For example, in BATFE's previous attempt to stop the imports of "certain" shotguns, a not quite as narrow interpretation was explained. After some explanation, ATF admitted that this definition of “sporting purposes” needed to be reevaluated and begrudgingly BATFE admitted that certain semi-automatic shotguns are eligible for importation as ’sporting’. Currently the ATF considers only trap & skeet shooting as applicable to “sporting purposes” for importation and ignores the prevalence of action competition shooting like USPSA and various multi-gun competitions & supporting leagues. USPSA is indicated to have 19,000 members but does not qualify under ATF's definition of a 'sport' yet the American Curling society has only 13,000 members and is a sanctioned Olympic Sport. There are numerous action competition shooting sports leagues, and regular unaffiliated shooting competitions and events all across the country. BATFE has not identified what “sport” a single shot, break open pistol is actually campaigned in, and the definition being asserted in this effort is so stringent as to be divorced from reality. Even if BATFE’s logic incorporates the single shot pistol as suitable for sporting purposes as a hunting firearm, that is a tortuous abuse of the definition as there are a vast majority of repeating / semi-automatic firearms suitable for hunting chambered in .223/5.56x45mm in common use.
The proposed BATFE restrictions:
“...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. ...
The likely use of revolvers and semi-automatic handguns in the community varies, and the projectiles they use are, in many cases, interchangeable among models designed to use the same or similar calibers. Consequently, it is not possible to conclude that revolvers and semi-automatic handguns as a class are “primarily intended” for use in sporting purposes. "
This narrower vision of sporting purposes stigmatize the competition shooters who may use the affected ammunition and suppresses the exercise of our 2nd Amendment rights through endless regulation and reinterpretation. The language above excluding revolvers and semi-automatic handguns as sporting is unrealistic and false.
A rifle projectile fired from a single shot pistol is no more or less lethal than one fired from a semi automatic pistol of the same caliber with the same length barrel. BATFE asserts that there is a law enforcement officer safety component because these so called new modern sporting handguns are capable of firing this ammunition. This is disingenuous and deceitful. Handguns necessarily use shorter barrels so that they may be actually used as a handgun, these shorter barrels necessarily reduce the muzzle velocity and energy needed to actually penetrate armor. Further, body armor has significantly improved in the past decade and even intermediate rifle cartridges such as the .223/5.56x45mm can be stopped by currently available protective wear. Thus, there is no actual officer safety component to this evaluation, and whatever artificial component BATFE asserts the reality is that there is less danger to law enforcement from the SS109/M855 ammunition now than in previous years. There is no additional danger to law enforcement with SS109 & M855 ammunition and projectiles available on the commercial market.
SS109 & M855 is now overwhelmingly used for sporting purposes. From the simplest form of plinking to sanctioned competition, the SS109 & M855 ammunition is employed by target shooters to take advantage of its mid to longer range accuracy and stability. It can be found in competitions such as NRA matches, USPSA, 3 gun, multi-gun and other sports campaigned at shooting facilities across the USA.
For all of the above reasons please continue to exempt the M855, SS109 .223 / 5.56x45mm from the armor piercing ammunition ban under the sporting purposes exemption as provided by statute.
The Framework ATF has designated is unrealistically stringent in its application. Restricting the definition of sporting to some obscure, minimally available firearm that represents only a fraction of the market share of handguns as opposed to the overwhelmingly more suitable for sport or hunting revolvers and semi automatic handguns is inaccurate.
The Proposed Framework should be amended to:
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)(B) if the projectile or projectile core is not composed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium
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)© if the projectile is loaded into a cartridge for which the handguns that are readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot, revolver or semi-automatic handgun that is suitable for hunting or use in a currently sanctioned and organized competition or sport.
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