BATFE Issues Statement Regarding M855 Ammunition

About an hour ago the BATFE issued the following statement on their Facebook page regarding their intent to ban the commercial sale of the M855 cartridge by removing its exemption as Armor Piercing Ammunition.  If you haven’t commented, do it.

Notice to those Commenting on the Armor Piercing Ammunition Exemption Framework

Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed 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 informal comment period will close on Monday, March 16, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as practicable. Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.


23 Responses to “BATFE Issues Statement Regarding M855 Ammunition”

  1. diggler says:

    “interpretation of the law” haha…

  2. Mike says:

    Well, it could be worse.

    I for one am proud of those involved in the firearms community for mobilizing in response to this. It seems that such measures have slipped by in the past, but we as a collective group have drawn the line in the sand and said “no more”.

    Still, not time to relax. Keep up the good work everyone- keep writing, calling, and encouraging others to do the same!

  3. Sgt A says:

    Ye olde tactical bureaucratic backtrack.

  4. G3SM says:

    “…the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. ”

    The ATF knew this would be the response, which leads me to believe that at best they were instructed to attempt some “framework” at the behest of *outside direction*. This fiasco could be seen as bizarre way of throwing us a bone… It reminds me of California’s AW Ban in 1999, I wrote the DoJ during the comment period about how preposterous it was to find a stabilizing pistol grip made a firearm more dangerous. They replied essentially “don’t blame us, we didn’t write/pass the law, we’re just charged with enforcing it and want every possible angle to be covered before it’s set in stone.”

  5. Joe F says:

    The Firearms Policy Coalition is calling this an unqualified reversal–saying, “ATF Retreats”. I hope they’re right–not that I EVER thought the ban would happen…I figured Congress would find an end-run around it. There are way too many lobbyists and no real pressure (I mean, the anti-gun people are so weak, they couldn’t get better background checks or issues with personal sales pushed through AFTER Sandy Hook).

  6. Desert Lizard says:

    shall not be infringed

  7. Joe says:


    The Gun Owners of America came out with “ATF Makes a “Tactical Retreat” in the Face of Overwhelming Opposition to its Ammo Ban”.

    The NRA is saying “NRA Forces Obama to Wave White Flag on Proposed Ammo Ban … For Now” because of course they have (a) to take all the credit when almost half the emails came from other groups, and (b) to keep the fear going since that’s what keeps that nut, LaPierre, where he is.

    I still don’t think they’d ever get it passed–there’s just no logic behind it, no support even in the police community for it, etc. I’m no fan of M855, since I think it’s not as good as 55gr for most things and 75gr for whatever else. Still, glad to hear this isn’t going much further…for now.

    • SSD says:

      There was nothing to “pass”. This wasn’t legislation. It was a proposed administrative rule change based on 30 year old legislation.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, I didn’t mean “pass” so much as I didn’t think it would happen. Too many lobbyists, gun owners, etc…even Police groups were against it–it made no sense (but then again, they did ban bayonet lugs for 10 years despite the lack of drive-by bayonettings).

  8. RobM says:

    What is this language, “primarily used for sporting purposes”? Since when are free, Americans limited only to ammunition with a “sporting purpose”?

  9. Dellis says:

    It’s fishing. Like when you cast a line not sure what bait it may take to get a hit so you try a few different ones.

    Others may call it testing the waters, just to see what will and will not be tolerated.

    “Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. ”

    Notice, “at this time” ?

    Our fear should be the “boil a frog” method where the temp is raised ever so slightly over a period of time that one does not notice they have been cooked. Freedoms can slowly be etched away and when done so in that manner we wake up one day and say….”What the hell happened?!”

    I fully believe that there is a methodical push to disarm America, gun by gun, bullet by bullet. It’s all about time…just a matter of time.

    • ParatrooperJJ says:

      Yep – it will be back and next time they won’t need a comment period.

  10. Disco says:

    I’m not a sportsman. I don’t care about sports. I outgrew sports when I got out of high school. There is nothing at all in the Second Amendment about sports, hunting, law enforcement, national guard, or muskets. It DOES say Arms, Right of the People, Free State, and Shall Not Be Infringed.

    I swear. Like I honestly believe if the 2nd Amendment was directly worded as “Everyone in the United States can have whatever weapon they want up to, and including, laser rifles. Nothing in this amendment should be construed as to except any further advancement of technology, purpose, or desire. No law shall be made to infringe, impede or inconvenience such ownership, ever, for any reason. Please Get A Life, Job, Girlfriend, Whatever. Case Closed”. They would STILL try to mess with stuff.

    Law Enforcement is inherently risky. Welcome to the party. My rights trump emotion. Besides, criminals don’t obey the law anyways. Preaching to the choir but it is so annoying.

  11. Qball says:

    My guns are not for sporting. They are for shooting people. If they need to be shot that is.

  12. Ray says:

    I’m glad they backed down and don’t really are who claims credit for them doing so. I’m just disappointed that they only received 80,000 comments. With an estimated 36 million gun owners in this country they should have gotten a few million comments. I think it shows that to many gun owners just don’t think that bans like his can happen. If the whole firearm community doesn’t start standing together ATF and the rest of the alphabet soup are eventually going reinterpret are rights out of existence.

    • Joe says:

      There are probably only about 3 million gun owners who own ARs and only 3/4ths of them know what M855 is. Still. I too was surprised only 80K wrote. I think the idea bubble was floated and popped.
      Based on all the polling, Americans aren’t supportive of restricting gun rights–the ATF is feckless and its weakness was proved by its inability to do anything after several shootings including Sandy Hook. If all that couldn’t get better background checks or personal sales put on the books, I don’t think we have as much to fear as we like to believe–but all the fear keeps the prices up and is making a lot of people very rich.

      • G3SM says:

        True, and I think a lot of folks actually wrote their representatives vs. the ATF.

  13. SShink says:

    Hey ATF, the “informal comment period” NEVER ends. DTOM